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What About the Bay?

Before you vote, read up on ­candidates for governor and Anne Arundel County executive

The candidates we elect in this Primary have excellent chances — often 50-50 — of holding the Chesapeake’s future in their hands for the next four years.
    This Primary season, we bring you top candidates’ views on the environment, expressed in their own words.
    Under constraint of space, we’ve limited our scope to top offices: governor and Anne Arundel County executive. Other top offices — the Board of Commissioners who govern Calvert County, for instance — have so much competition that we omit them from our pages. Many other offices — Congress, State Senate, House of Delegates — divide into too many districts to be manageable.
    For all these other races, we direct you to the League of Women Voters, with whom we’re partnering this Primary. Member Leagues across the nation gathered own-words information on 6,494 candidates in 2,372 races. In our part of Chesapeake Country, the Calvert County League and Anne Arundel League invited candidates to reply directly online.
    Click on www.vote411.org to find your ballot choices, unfolding from governor on down. In Anne Arundel, candidates in each race must be compared in pairs. Calvert voters using the Calvert League of Women Voters website will see candidates unscroll in succession: www.calvert.lwvmd.org.
    We use League replies in biographical information for all candidates and for gubernatorial candidates’ environmental positions.
    Republican candidates for Anne Arundel County executive replied in writing to a Bay Weekly question. Democratic candidate George Johnson is not included as he runs unchallenged in the Primary.
    Read before you vote. Election Day is Tuesday, June 24.


Candidates for Governor

What are the most significant ­environmental challenges facing ­Maryland and what policies would you support to meet those ­challenges?

Democratic Candidate ­Anthony G. Brown
(running mate Ken Ulman)

Lawyer, soldier and politician. Colonel in the United States Army Reserves with 30 years service including a tour of duty in the Iraq War. Delegate in the General Assembly for eight years; now completing eight years as lieutenant governor. Home: Mitchellville

    Our toughest environmental challenges are restoring the Chesapeake Bay, improving air quality, ensuring sustainable growth, addressing climate change and pursuing environmental justice. In order to meet these challenges, we will support best practices for stormwater remediation; increase our renewable energy mix; support transit-oriented development; and fund grants to eliminate food deserts.


Democratic Candidate Doug Gansler
(running mate Del. Jolene Ivey)

Prosecutor, Montgomery County State’s Attorney; now completing eight years as Maryland ­Attorney General. Home: Bethesda.

    The biggest environmental challenges we face are Bay pollution, which puts natural and human health at risk, and climate change, which threatens our farms, shores and coastal communities. I will make Maryland a model for pollution-reducing renewable energy, fight special interests that block environmental progress and commit more resources to preserving open space and enforcing environmental laws.


Democratic Candidate Heather Mizeur
(running mate Delman Coates)

Political strategist and aid with health-care expertise; former ­Takoma Park city councilwoman and two-term delegate to the Maryland General Assembly. Home: Takoma Park

    My leadership on the environment is why our campaign is endorsed by the Maryland Sierra Club and its 12,000 members. Together, we will take on our toughest environmental challenges, like protecting Maryland from dangerous fracking, combating climate change through clean energy production, cleaning up the Chesapeake Bay from runoff and other pollution and rejecting the Cove Point LNG project.


Democratic Candidate Ralph Jaffe
(running mate Freda Jaffe)

“A teacher (of political science) not a politician.” Home: Baltimore.

    Elect new politicians who really care about our environment and will come up with programs to make life better for our citizens, will not lie about the environment, and will treat our habitat with more respect.


Charles U. Smith
(running mate Clarence Tucker)

Retired from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; worked with former governors Hughes and Schaefer to build the light rail and subway, Camden Yards and the Ravens stadium. Home: Baltimore

    Chesapeake Bay and water resources — something I have worked on with governors as military advisor to the state of Maryland corps of engineers.


Democratic Candidate Cindy A. Walsh
(running mate Mary Elizbeth Wingate-Pennacchia)

Self-defined as a political progressive committed to citizens’ oversight, labor and justice; blogger; three decades’ experience in corporate and academic management. Home: Baltimore

    The Trans Pacific Trade Pact poses the greatest threat to the U.S. environment today. It will allow corporations to ignore all U.S. labor/justice laws that cut into profits, and that is especially true of environmental laws. A baseline data collection on the Marcellus Aquifer can give the public leverage in holding Pennsylvania/West Virginia fracking accountable for safe drilling. Protecting the Bay from invasive species.


Republican Candidate David R. Craig
(running mate Jeannie Haddaway)

Educator turned politician, now second-term Harford County executive following terms as Havre de Grace city councilman and mayor, state delegate and senator. Teacher and vice principal for 34 years. Home: Harford County.

    The Bay and its health is always a challenge. But we must seek common ground with those who derive their living from the Bay and what is best for the environment. We must incentivize business to be environmentally friendly and not always seek to penalize first.


Republican Candidate Ron George
(running mate Shelley Aloi)

Businessman and politician. Master goldsmith: Jeweler for 40 years with stores in Severna Park and Annapolis; former owner of Maryland Inn; community and church volunteer with Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology; completing second term representing the Broadneck peninsula in the General Assembly. Home: Anne Arundel County.

    Conowingo Dam is at capacity levels of nitrates, phosphorus and sediment. A federal dredging is warranted. While this may increase pollution into the Bay during the project, the Bay will then have a chance to last many decades before it is needed again, thus restoring much of the Bay. Hurricanes and storms and releases at the dam are destroying the Bay.
    Update sewage treatment plants.


Republican Candidate Larry Hogan
(running mate Boyd Rutherford)

Businessman, 25 years in real estate as founder of Hogan Companies. Appointments secretary to Gov. Robert Ehrlich, credited with making it the most bipartisan and diverse in state history. Founder Change Maryland a non-partisan grassroots group focusing on fiscal restraint and common-sense government reform. Home: Anne Arundel County

    Restoring and protecting the Chesapeake Bay and the rivers and streams that feed it is the most pressing environmental issue in Maryland. Lockbox on environment trust funds; force Pennsylvania and New York to pay their fair share of Susquehanna pollution. Increase Brownfield Credit to restore blighted industrial land.


Republican Candidate Charles Lollar
(running mate Ken Timmerman)

U.S. Marine Corps ­officer, businessman and past candidate for ­Congress. Home: Charles County

    We all want clean water and clean air. But we also want rational government that doesn’t bankrupt businesses, drive farmers out of business and harm Maryland first. We will work with Maryland’s neighbors to reduce sludge discharges from the Conowingo Dam and will encourage public-private partnerships to transform solid waste, including chicken manure, into usable energy.


Candidates for Anne Arundel County Executive

    Anne Arundel County Executive sets policy and budget for Maryland’s fifth-largest body politic — the only one of the five under Republican leadership. Six of the county’s eight executives have been Republicans; and a Republican — John Leopold — won the seat in the last two elections. The Democratic contender, Natural Resources Police Superintendent George Johnson, lost to Leopold in 2006 and sat out 2010. Continuing Republican control is a realizable dream for Maryland’s struggling GOP.
    But which Republican? Primary voters decide.
    The salary is $130,000 and the term four years with a second term at the voters’ discretion.

What would you do to make Anne Arundel County more Bay-friendly? During the campaign, we’ve heard a lot about your opposition to the Storm­water Watershed Protection and Restoration Fee. But Bay Weekly readers want to know what you would do to help protect and restore the Chesapeake.

Republican Candidate Laura Neuman

    Laura Neuman, entrepreneur turned politician, was selected by the County Council in 2013 to complete John Leopoid’s unexpired term. That was her first political office; this is her first campaign and election.
    “My extensive history of job creation and economic development, both in the private and public sector,” she told the League of Women Voters, “as well as my past year of service as County Executive, are what prepare me for the duties of this office. I have turned failing companies around, helped start-ups in a tech incubator and served as CEO in a public-private partnership recruiting new businesses and growing companies in Maryland.”
During my time in office, I have led the implementation of tighter stormwater management regulations, smart growth development protections and worked with the development community to recognize that quality of life is a significant reason people come to Anne Arundel.

     My administration will make sure that as we grow, we do it in an environmentally responsible way, to preserve our natural areas and ensure they are there for future generations. We are aggressively protecting large swaths of environmentally sensitive areas, including over 1,000 acres in the South River, and, of course, I want to keep South County rural.
     My administration is currently upgrading major wastewater treatment plants with the latest pollution-reducing technology, as well as roughly half of the existing 40,000 septic systems. We are also working with the private sector to find innovative ways to control pollution and restore the Bay.
     I will continue to advocate for the federal government to clean up the Bay, as it has the Everglades and other national treasures. I testified before the Senate and pushed them to commit, and just last month the federal government announced that the Bay would now be included in a $400 million erosion and pollution-control program.


Republican Candidate Steve Schuh

    Schuh is both entrepreneur and politician. His current business interest is as a partner — with other current and former elected officials — in a holding company that owns and operates restaurants, several Green Turtles plus the just opened Blackwall Hitch, formerly The Rockfish. He is completing his second term as a state delegate representing northeastern Anne Arundel County in the General Assembly
    “Ever since my childhood growing up in Crofton I have spent my entire life here in Anne Arundel County,” he told the League of Women Voters. “I raised my two children here, built businesses, served as a two-term state delegate, and turned around non-profits. I have an extensive background in finance, education and business management. I received a 100 percent pro-business and 100 percent pro-environment rating in the same year as a legislator.”

    The Bay is a primary reason many of us live in Anne Arundel County, and we cannot shirk our duty of protecting and restoring it. There are two separate and distinct issues in this election that apply to the health of our Bay. First is the rain tax. I oppose the county’s rain tax because I believe it to be excessive and unnecessary. I support the planned programs to break up the concrete gullies that have made erosion and pollution worse. I support upgrading our stormwater infrastructure. I support the stream restoration projects that will replace barren streambeds with natural cleansing habitat. This does not mean that we need a tax to pay for it.
    The government has plenty of money to throw at the problem that must be managed properly. Did you know that according to The Capital newspaper, we have spent $15 billion on the Bay with little real results? This issue requires many approaches to achieve the benefits we want. One approach is the needed projects by the county and state, including upgrading our wastewater treatment plants.
    Another is encouraging homeowners to repair damaged and leaking septic systems. Boaters need to be more vigilant about dumping human waste and oil into the waterways. Pet owners need to pick up after domestic animals. We need to avoid overuse of pesticides on our lawns. The federal government needs to dredge Conowingo Dam and force our neighbors to the north to contribute to this project because we are the downstream recipients of this waste. We need individuals to take action and participate in cleanup programs.
    There is much to do, and I will stand with those who are ready to get to work.