I have spent the past year campaigning throughout the state of Maryland. I have talked to countless families, small business owners, farmers, teachers, factory workers, office workers and people who have no job at all.
With each person I sensed a feeling of being forgotten by their state government; not that they want government to do everything for them, but quite the opposite.
They want government to stop getting in the way. Enough with the out-of-control spending and enough with the regulations that stifle businesses large and small.
They are looking for someone to stop the endless rise in taxes that are keeping hard-working families from getting ahead. And they want a governor who will make Maryland a place people want to move to instead of leave.
So what does all this have to do with the Jewish community?
Usually when people running for office write like this for a specific audience, or in this case the Jewish community, it turns into a rundown of how many times they have been to Israel, or how many Passover Seders they attended or how they were honored by a certain Jewish organization or that they grew up in a Jewish neighborhood and therefore know everything about the Jewish community, as if each person is exactly the same.
In all honesty, it soon becomes one of those “some of my best friends are …” stories, and you, the reader, has now turned the page.
Well, I do not believe in pandering to one group over another or reinventing myself just to say something that I think people want to hear. Not only would I be kidding myself, I would be kidding you.
I have been a city councilman, a small-town mayor, a state delegate, a state senator and for the past 10 years, Harford County executive.
And, I have been a career school teacher and middle school principal.
I am a family man and a man with a deep faith in G-d. I am proud to be pro-life, and I believe that marriage is between a man and a woman.
I believe in being honest, forthright and respectful of each person’s concerns.
I did not win elections by kidding people or telling them what they want to hear. I did it by bringing different people with opposing views
And that is what I intend to do as governor.
People’s everyday lives will matter. The future of our state will matter.
What it all comes down to is this: We should all take a lesson from G-d’s directive to the Jewish people, the practice of tikkun olam, of “repairing the world.”
In my case, I am being a little more provincial. I am running for governor to “repair Maryland.”
That is why I have proposed the phasing out of the state personal income tax, which, if we cut enough waste in government spending, will give more money to people who are trying to make ends meet.
That would mean in one year after my being elected, a majority of Maryland families would enjoy a tax savings of $1,400 and single Marylanders a tax savings of $700.
I also plan to “repair” our state’s job market by cutting corporate taxes in half so more businesses will want to move here and stay here instead of heading to Virginia and Delaware.
Also, there will be major “repairs” for people with pensions. I do not believe that anyone’s pension should be taxed. There are other states that do not tax pensions. Why can’t Maryland be like them?
As a lifelong educator, I believe education is the best poverty and crime fighter. As governor, I will see that all of our schools — public, private and religious — will be fairly supported. Education will always be a priority, as will the well-being of families and personal freedom.
Maryland is a great state. But it has forgotten the very people who make it great.
We see a culture in Annapolis that is more committed to helping so-called leaders stay in public office than actually finding ways to help families stay out of debt.
We see a government mindset that solves every problem with nonsensical taxes or fees. (There have been over 40 new ones in the last eight years.) Instead, we should be solving those same problems with common-sense solutions.
So it should be no surprise that Maryland citizens and businesses are leaving in droves to safer tax havens in other states, taking their jobs and tax dollars with them. This exodus has cost Maryland over $8 billion.
Now, we have the opportunity to turn Maryland around. I have done it on the city and county level, and I am ready to do it on the state level.
And the day after I am sworn in, I guarantee you that I will put a sign up in Annapolis that says, “Maryland Government Now Under Repair.”
The writer, the Harford County executive, is a Republican candidate for governor.