So, those of us who found ourselves seeking transformational leadership that can make the MDGOP the functional institution that is needs to be to have any chance of curbing the relentless, statist Maryland Democratic machine, still need someone to accept the challenge of leading our party in a new and better direction. Believe me, when I spoke with so many people about potential chairs I did not have my own name on the list.
I am a native Marylander. My family has lived in this state not for generations but for centuries. They were some of the farmers, waterman, workers, teachers and most importantly, citizens, that made Maryland such a special place. I was born in LaPlata. I grew up in Frederick County. I graduated from Catoctin High School and the University of Maryland Baltimore County. I was the first kid in my family to go to college, let alone become an attorney. My story isn’t unique. It is the story of so many citizens of the Free State whose hard work in a free society allowed them to create a future better than that of their parents. It is a legacy I hope to pass on to my daughter but it is a legacy deeply threatened by the poor governance of state leaders more worried about keeping and expanding their political power than serving the public good.
I have been a Republican all my life. I came of age during the Reagan Revolution and was inspired by the example of Ronald Reagan. I still am. My parents and grandparents taught me to work hard, to take personal responsibility and to understand that nothing in life is worth having that isn’t worth working for. They taught me to be honest and that no material gain is worth the price of my integrity. It was the simple work ethic and common decency that made this country and this state such a wonderful place. My forebears were not all Republicans but the values they taught me are the reasons why I am and have always been a Republican.
That ethic stayed with me as I became politically involved. I was active with the UMBC College Republicans. I graduated with a degree in Applied Politics. After law school, I began my career working for a great mentor, Stephen Wehner. Steve represented Delegate Tony O’Donnell when he was first elected in a close election state democrats tried to steal. Steve also served as counsel to the MDGOP under Chairman Joyce Terhes. He did this pro bono because he was a true believer in the conservative cause. It was an honor to work with him and the MDGOP, whether it was in a contested alderman election in Annapolis, or supporting the Sauerbrey for Governor campaign. I later served as counsel to the Anne Arundel County Republican State Central Committee for three years under three separate chairman. I also served as counsel to the Maryland Young Republicans.
Later in my career, I was part of the team who fought back against the Democrat led General Assembly when they tried to fire the Ehrlich Public Service Commission. I saw first hand the lengths the Democratic machine, then trying to elect Martin O’Malley Governor, would go to seize power. It was my honor to argue to the Maryland Court of Appeals that the legislature was acting unconstitutionally and to rebut the Democratic Attorney General’s claims that the power of the General Assembly was essentially unlimited. We prevailed in convincing the Court of Appeals and that victory stands as a precedent on the limitations of legislative power in this state.
My activism has not been limited to my work as an attorney. I was a volunteer for both my local Anne Arundel GOP party and for various candidates. I served as President of the Anne Arundel County Young Republicans for two years and served on the Maryland Young Republicans Executive Committee. In 2002, the Anne Arundel County Republican Central Committee honored me with the Unsung Hero Award. Like so many activists in our party, I was dedicated to doing the hard work to get good candidates elected and saw their victories as successes of a movement bigger than any of us.
As a candidate, I met many conservative voters who had very little knowledge of local politics. To help change that, I began to blog and was one of the original founders of the the blog Red Maryland. Red Maryland was ahead of its time in bringing together local bloggers and citizen journalists to spread the word of the Republican party and to tell the truth about the Maryland Democratic machine. That innovation continued as I started the first of its kind Maryland conservative podcast, which ultimately blossomed into a daily Internet radio platform known as the Red Maryland Network.
As an activist and a blogger, I have been a part of the triumphs and travails of the Maryland Republican Party. I have worked with a number of chairman, executive directors and central committee members to improve our party.
This is why I was part of the group that wanted to find a new and different kind of leader for the MDGOP. Our party suffers from a culture where those in leadership are not willing to sacrifice their own personal interests or ambitions for the greater good of our party and our movement. This has made the leadership of the party defensive about criticism rather than seeing it as an opportunity to improve. It has created an environment of distrust where factional interests fear the party’s success. It has made the party slow to adapt to the opportunities offered by the internet, opportunities which could provide the MDGOP a cost effective way to level the playing field and help us to fight smarter at a time when we are so desperately outgunned and outnumbered.
Only a chairman willing to accept the responsibility for our party’s failures and willing to spread the credit for success can change this. Only a chairman who has shown an ability to put their own ambitions to the side to serve a greater good can change this. Only a chairman who has no intramural agenda to help this faction or that group or this candidate can change this. Only a chairman without future electoral ambitions can establish the trust to mend fences and inspire the various groups within and around our party to buy into a plan that can translate into electoral success.
There are others who share my view of the leadership we need. There are many others who fit this bill. None, however, have announced their intention to run for the job of chairman of the Maryland Republican Party.
With no illusions of the challenges, with no doubts about the stakes, I have decided to run for the chairmanship of the Maryland Republican Party.
I am honored by the support of so many that I respect in this effort. As I travel this state that I love in the coming months, I look forward to meeting others who share my concerns and are willing to join me in a fight for something bigger than ourselves, that free and prosperous future our forebears left to us.