An afternoon with Marjorie Holt

Growing up in Glen Burnie, there is one thing I remember clearly about elections: mom and dad voted for Marjorie Holt for Congress. I first met Congresswoman Holt at the age of 9 on a fourth-grade field trip to Washington, D.C. We toured the Capitol Building and I vividly remember Rep. Holt joining the class for a picture on the front steps. I met her a second time in 1984 when President Ronald Reagan came to Baltimore to dedicate a statue of Christopher Columbus in Baltimore.

To say that Congresswoman Holt inspired my interest in politics would be an understatement. As a leader in Congress, she was effective at persuading her colleagues to vote on legislation regarding the budget and supporting the men and women of the military.

This past Thursday, May 4, I spent some time with Marjorie Holt. We had a wonderful conversation about her time in Congress, where she served from 1973 to 1987, and about her time as Clerk of the Circuit Court for Anne Arundel County from 1966 to 1972.

I asked her what she enjoyed best about serving in politics, and she quickly said that she most enjoyed meeting people and hearing their stories. She said that she loved meeting people at their homes, and she credits her successful elections to going door to door. 

Congresswoman Holt told me that she really enjoyed walking in parades, as well – especially the Severna Park Fourth of July parade. 

As she recalled serving as Clerk of the Court, she said that was one of her favorite jobs because you get to help people and nobody dislikes you. We had a great time talking about her time at the Clerk’s Office and some of the wonderful people who worked there.

When I brought up President Reagan, Marjorie Holt’s face lit up with a big smile. She shared about how warm and personal he was when he met people. She greatly admired his leadership and presidency.

The warmth and joy of Congresswoman Holt tell the story of a special person. As she reflected on her public life, her delight in serving people revealed a beautiful person who cares deeply about the people she served. I count it a special blessing to have spent some time with her.

Join Us For The Walk @ Waugh Chapel

Join Us For The Walk @ Waugh Chapel

I am in awe of the people and communities of Anne Arundel County who come together to help those who have it harder in life. As a member of the board of directors for the Walk the Walk Foundation, I see communities, students, parents, grandparents and families coming together to help our community year-round.

Each school year, students in need receive backpacks filled with school supplies. Disadvantaged children receive gifts – often significant gifts like bikes – at Christmastime from people they don’t even know. Moms receive diapers for their babies - all because people come together to help others.

Last year the Walk the Walk Foundation launched the Walk @ Waugh Chapel. It’s a fundraiser that enabled us to increase our support for the community by 30 percent! The short one-mile walk is followed by a “party with a purpose” with free food, entertainment and activities for kids - it's a great time to be a part of our community helping people.

Will you join my team this year? The event will be held on Thursday, May 11, from 6-8 p.m. at the Waugh Chapel Towne Centre. There are two ways you can be a part. You can register to walk as a part of my team, or donate toward our team’s goal of raising $700.

You can register to walk ($10 donation) here. When asked “Credit this event registration to this team or individual:” please select “Team Doug Arnold’s Walk the Walk Fundraising Page.”

If you won't be walking with us, you can donate here.

When the walk is completed on May 11, stay for the party (even if you donated and don’t want to walk). It’s a great time!

 

Statement of Candidacy: Doug Arnold for Clerk of the Court

Statement of Candidacy: Doug Arnold for Clerk of the Court

Almost 26 years ago, on March 11, 1991, I walked through the courthouse doors for the first time as an employee of the Clerk of the Court. I had no idea at the time that I was embarking on a career in public service at the Anne Arundel County Circuit Courthouse. I soon discovered that within the courthouse walls, a unique culture built upon a shared commitment to the mission of justice. The true driver of that culture, I found, was a passion for public service and promoting a fair, equitable and accessible justice system for the citizens and communities of Anne Arundel County.

That passion is a driving force for me in serving the public as a member of the office of the Clerk of the Circuit Court.

I am happy to announce that I am seeking the elected position of Clerk of the Court.

I believe in the mission of the Clerk’s Office. I offer the executive experience, judicial knowledge and workplace commitment to continuing the dedication to service that has been the hallmark of our current Clerk, Bob Duckworth.

Meeting the people of our county and sharing the passion for justice and public service will be the aim of my campaign. I will focus on three themes related to Supporting Families, Growing Businesses and Safe Communities. These themes represent the values that give purpose to our judicial mission of providing fair, equitable and accessible justice.

SUPPORTING FAMILIES

Every family has a story. I think of how the Clerk’s Office has been a part of my family’s story. As a young couple, Sherri and I obtained our marriage license there, just like thousands of couples each year. Later, when we began our journey to expand our family through adoption, we found ourselves back at the courthouse obtaining important documents and certifications.

We also assist in the adoption of children. Each Thursday at the courthouse, children become a part of their forever family. As a dad because of the beautiful process of adoption, I am thankful that the Clerk’s Office has a part in bringing families together.

We help families in trouble. All too often, there is a need to determine child custody and child support for children through the court. We are an impartial assistant in those situations, helping families navigate the often difficult and emotional times. We don’t make decisions, but we are here to help.

GROWING BUSINESSES

Anne Arundel County is a vibrant community that welcomes businesses large and small, as well as entrepreneurs who have the next great ideas. A well-run Clerk’s Office contributes to a good environment for commerce and business in Anne Arundel County. I will continue to provide a professional and reliable Clerk’s Office that will work with Governor Larry Hogan and County Executive Steve Schuh to serve the businesses in our county.

This office issues 10,000 business licenses each year. We record deeds, mortgages and liens, and our efficient service contributes to a bustling real estate industry in our county. We provide efficient processing to settle legal disputes. Through service, efficiencies and timely work, we help contribute to the climate that enables job growth and thriving businesses.

SAFE COMMUNITIES

As a partner in the criminal justice system, the Clerk of the Court helps carry out justice and contributes to safer communities in our county. The Drug Court helps support success over the horrific battle many face through drug addictions. Through diligence and committed employees, we protect the rights of victims and witnesses in our community and work toward restitution. Our partnership with county and state agencies, law enforcement and our judges helps keep us safe. It’s our calling and our passion.

Sherri and I love our county and our community. We are raising our family here, we work here and we live here. Sherri has been an Anne Arundel County teacher for 27 years. We want to make our community better than we found it.

My campaign is about Supporting Families, Growing Businesses and Safe Communities. As you consider the mission of the Clerk of the Circuit Court, my experience and knowledge of the office, and my passion for equal and fair justice, I ask for your vote: Doug Arnold for Clerk of the Circuit Court in 2018.

 

The Justice for Victims of Crime Initiative

One of the most sacred responsibilities at the Clerk of the Circuit Court is the protection of rights for witnesses and victims. Through diligence and our commitment to justice, we ensure that victims and witnesses are made aware of their rights. That commitment also includes assisting with the restitution system to ensure that convicted offenders repay victims for losses resulting from crime.

Last month, Gov. Larry Hogan proposed the Justice for Victims Initiative. In introducing the package of bills, he stated, “Making Maryland safer begins with making sure that we have a criminal justice system that holds offenders accountable for their actions and the harm they cause, while also supporting victims and the community in the process of healing.”

The initiative comprises three proposed bills and a housing initiative for victims of crime.

·      Protecting Victims of Sex Trafficking Act of 2017

·      Repeat Sexual Predator Prevention Act of 2017

·      Repeat Drunk Driving Offenders Act of 2017

·      Transitional Housing Assistance Program

Let’s look at these bills, starting with the Protecting Victims of Sex Trafficking Act of 2017.

With Senate Bill 308, the governor proposes adding sex trafficking to the statute defining sexual abuse. This emergency legislation defines “sexual molestation or exploitation” and clearly identifies sex trafficking as sexual abuse. The bill has been assigned to the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. You can review the text of the bill here and review the status of the bill here.

The Repeat Sexual Predator Prevention Act of 2017 enables prosecutors to include convictions of previous sexual abuse in court. Often, sexual predators have more than one victim, and any pattern of abuse could be admitted in court, giving prosecutors an additional tool in the prosecution of sexual abuse. This bill has been assigned to the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. You can read Senate Bill 316 here; the status of the bill and hearing schedule are available here.

The Governor’s proposal on drunk driving, known as the Repeat Drunk Driving Offenders Act of 2017, increases penalties for repeat offenders and makes certain drunk and drugged driving charges a felony. Senate Bill 312 has been assigned to the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. You can read the bill here and review its status here.

The final proposal by the governor is an initiative known as the Transitional Housing Assistance Program. The governor is committing $5 million in state funding to provide victims of crime housing assistance for up to one year. Victims often become homeless and in need of help. This initiative will be coordinated by the Governor’s Office of Crime Control & Prevention.

If you feel passionately about these issues, contact your Delegates and Senator and let them know your position on the Justice for Victims of Crime Initiative. You can obtain contact information on the General Assembly’s website.

Sources: governor.maryland.gov, mgaleg.maryland.gov

Don’t Scrap the Electoral College, Democratize It!

Guest post by Robert P. Duckworth

The mantra of many, crying foul in the presidential victory of Donald J. Trump, is to let every vote count so “the will of the people can be heard.” It resonates with a clarion call to "abolish the Electoral College” since Trump "only" won the total Electoral College count of the states, not a plurality of the popular vote nationwide.

Thus, for them the Trump win is deemed a democratic inequity, or worse, the election of an illegitimate president. This flawed belief is grounded in a constitutional misconception: That is, our American form of government is a direct democracy, not a Constitutional Republic as approved in 1798 by the states ratifying the U.S. Constitution.

The Framers at the Constitutional Convention designed a unique federal system of government for "we the people," one whereby governmental powers are shared and balanced between the states and a national government. The Framers purposely avoided a direct democracy that would stack the larger states against the smaller. Rather, representing each state, they hammered out a new form of government that separated and balanced state and federal powers to protect the political rights and liberty of citizens in each state. In a word, they created a uniquely American federal system to which Ben Franklin quipped: “A Republic if you can keep it.”

The Framers also reflected their federal plan in crafting a mechanism for electing the president of the United States in Article II, Section 1. They saw a danger in allowing a presidential winner-take-all popular vote. This would strip the representation of small states against states with larger demographics such as Virginia in choosing a president. And they were correct. An example of a popular vote scheme in this past election would have allowed four of the most populated states, California, Illinois, New York and Massachusetts, to determine the presidency outcome before the election even began.  

So, with the Electoral College, the presidential election is really separate state elections. As such, states like Wyoming and Iowa have a say in the election of a president. Article II, Section 1 sets up the Electoral College along the lines of Congress the Framers established in Article I. To wit: “Each State shall appoint, in such manner as the (state) legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in Congress.”

To change the way we select the president by scrapping the Electoral College means amending the Constitution. Article V presents a very steep amendment process to do this, thereby making it moot. A better path to correct any "democratic inequity" in our Electoral College is to focus change at the state level. Convince state lawmakers to base their presidential electoral votes proportionally by congressional districts. Whoever wins the popular district vote gets that portion of the electoral vote and whoever wins the statewide count receives two votes based on their senators.

If such a method had been enacted in Maryland in this last election, not all 10 electoral votes would have been cast for Trump’s opponent. I had proposed this, as others have, right after the Bush and Gore election in 2000. That’s how it is done in Maine. And it is certainly superior to amending the Constitution and ignoring our Founding Fathers' hard-earned Republic. Yes, let every vote count. But don’t scrap the Electoral College, democratize it!

Let's help Gov. Hogan change Maryland for the better...

My son’s high school is 13 miles from our house. At rush hour, it takes 45 minutes each way to get to the school. It’s crazy. Over the past decades, our state government hasn't put a priority on road transportation. As a result, each of us has experienced the inconvenience of longer commutes to and from work and school. This negatively impacts our quality of life in Anne Arundel County.

When Governor Hogan was elected, he put an emphasis on road maintenance and projects that improve our quality of life. Most Maryland residents are happy that we’re finally seeing road improvements. Yet, in a display of partisan politics, the leadership of the State Legislature pushed through a bill to diminish the governor’s ability to improve our roads. Governor Hogan called the legislation the “Road Kill Bill.” He vetoed the bill, but the legislature overrode the veto, making it law.

The Capital newspaper said of the new law, “At best, the law means spending a few extra millions to generate red tape on state transportation projects via a series of subjective, easily manipulated rankings. … At worst, this is revenge for Gov. Larry Hogan's cancellation of the hugely expensive Red Line light rail project for Baltimore, and a way to hand legislators state-generated ammunition to fire at future transportation spending decisions that rankle them.”

That’s money we don’t have, and the new regulations negatively impact our quality of life. We can do better.

Governor Hogan recently announced his priority to repeal this legislation, but he needs our help to do so. Change Maryland set up a website to make it easier to contact our legislators. It’s a fast and easy way to let your legislators know that our quality of life and better roads are higher priorities than partisan politics. Please take a moment now and go to repealroadkillbill.org. It’s time all of our leaders put the common good over partisan politics. 

 

An Arnold Family Christmas In Anne Arundel County

An Arnold Family Christmas In Anne Arundel County

We celebrate the holidays well in Anne Arundel County! You know the Christmas season is here when the Jaycees have hung the greens in Downtown Annapolis, and the city's Christmas tree has been lit at the Grand Illumination.

For the December Anne Arundel Journal, I’d like to share a few of our family’s favorite holiday happenings around Anne Arundel County.

I grew up with the family tradition of loading up the car and seeing neighborhood Christmas lights. For the past 22 years, Anne Arundel Medical Center has offered a twist on this tradition at Lights on the Bay, an annual lighting display Sandy Point State Park. For over two decades, these holiday-inspired light displays have showcased 70 scenes viewed as you drive along the Chesapeake Bay. This year's themes are North Pole Village and Enchanted Fairy Tales. Proceeds benefit Anne Arundel Medical Center and programs.

Another Annapolis Christmas light tradition, which has delighted locals for 34 years, is the Eastport Yacht Club’s Light Parade. Boats decked out with thousands of lights parade along the waterfront areas of Annapolis. We often plan to arrive early for dining and holiday treats. The event is free and a great Naptown tradition, this year slated for Saturday, December 10, from 6-8 p.m.

One of my family's favorite ways to give back at Christmas is to participate in the Walk of Christmas presented by the Walk the Walk Foundation. WTWF prepares wishlists for less fortunate families in Anne Arundel County and parts of Virginia and West Virginia. Each year, our family supports a family through our church or school. Bikes, toys, clothes and gift certificates are wrapped and given to families - who might otherwise not have gifts - to make their Christmas special. Volunteer opportunities are available at their distribution center when gifts are given to families. This year we plan to help give out gifts to families through our son Matthew's high school. It's a great opportunity for families to make a difference in our community.

Midnight Madness at Downtown Annapolis* is a great Christmas shopping tradition and opportunity to support local businesses. We prioritize buying some of our gifts from local business owners throughout the year. This Christmas, Midnight Madness offers fun for family and friends with music, food and a festive atmosphere. The next events are December 8 and 15, 4 p.m. to midnight, on West Street, Main Street and Maryland Avenue.

Sherri and I are looking forward to enjoying Christmas music by Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith and the Annapolis Symphony Orchestra at the Royal Farms Arena in Baltimore on December 18. We look forward to attending a Christmas concert together nearly every year.

A longstanding family tradition, we always attend a Christmas Eve service at Bay Area Community Church. Themed A Family Christmas this year, there will be seven Christmas Eve services beginning December 22, with five on December 24. This is a wonderful family time to reflect on why we celebrate Christmas. The services reach capacity fast, so free seat reservations are recommended and can be made here. We hope you'll consider joining us!

After Christmas, the Military Bowl Parade is a fun event downtown. It's a great opportunity for our family to get out of the house over Christmas break. The parade features the Budweiser Clydesdales, local organizations and bands.

I hope some of our family's holiday traditions inspire you to create some of your own. From everyone in the Arnold household, have a very Merry Christmas!

*This year Downtown Annapolis is showing wonderful hospitality with some creative parking options that include free valet parking during select times, prepaid online reserved parking in the city’s garages, and three hours of free meter parking throughout the Christmas season. Mayor Michael Pantelides has outlined the details on his Facebook page.

 

Q&A with Plaster for Congress Campaign

Q&A with Plaster for Congress Campaign

Dr. Mark Plaster is running for Congress in Maryland's 3RD District. He's a man with great experience, character and vision - and, he's a personal friend of mine. Recently, I had the opportunity to ask Campaign Manager Cory Dennis a few questions about Mark to help folks get to know him better. Here's what Cory had to say:

TELL US ABOUT MARK'S BACKGROUND.

Mark was born in Texas and raised in Missouri. He attended junior college on a basketball scholarship, eventually made it to med school and began practicing emergency medicine. Mark wanted to better understand healthcare law, so he attended law school at night while running an ER during the day. Being a doctor and lawyer eventually led Mark to starting his own publishing company that now produces three magazines: One circulates to over 35,000 doctors, the second in 15 countries, and the third highlights the cutting edge of new health technologies.

WHY IS MARK RUNNING FOR CONGRESS?

As seen in our newest video Mark wants to do three things: Take care of our Veterans, help the middle class, and make our country safer.

HOW HAS THE CURRENT REPRESENTATIVE FROM THE THIRD CONGRESSIONAL DISTRICT RESPONDED TO THE VA HOSPITAL CRISIS?

John Sarbanes votes in the bottom 1 percent on Veteran Issues. This is unacceptable in any case, but especially in considering that there are over 50,000 veterans in the 3rd District. He also scored a ZERO with the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB). Mark scored a 100 percent and received their official endorsement. In essence, EVERYTHING small business is for, John Sarbanes is against. 

MARK IS AN IMPRESSIVE CANDIDATE FOR CONGRESS. HOW CAN WE HELP HIM GET ELECTED?

We need people to donate their time and their money. We hold phone banks five nights a week and sign wave every weekday morning. If people want to invest in this campaign, they can go to plasterforcongress.com or contact our Field Director Mike Russell at michael@plasterforcongress.com or 410-733-5617.

Our county is truly special...

Our county is truly special...

Anne Arundel County has always been my home. My wife, two boys and I are blessed to live in such a great part of Maryland.

Our county is truly special – but what makes it an incredible place to live?

Home to over 500 miles of coastline, the U.S. Naval Academy, farming communities, diverse cultures, wonderful restaurants and dynamic businesses, Anne Arundel County comprises Annapolis, Crofton, Glen Burnie, Odenton, Pasadena, Deale and many other communities that are more than just zip codes.

Each community is unique; together, their people and organizations – including education centers, vibrant arts communities, businesses and places of worship – make Anne Arundel a dynamic county and wonderful place to live. In short, we enjoy a great quality of life because we come together as communities to create it.

I’m inviting you to join me as we build upon this great quality of life by continuing forward momentum in our county to include responsive and responsible government and a deep respect for our people, families and communities.

Thank you for visiting my blog. I would love to hear from you! If you have questions, send me an email.

God Bless,

Doug