A Republican’s View of Jesse Colvin and His Candidate For Congress by Philip Webster


I am a lifelong Republican, as was my father before me, but I am now working hard to elect Jesse Colvin, the Democratic candidate for Congress in the First Congressional District of Maryland.

I have decided it is time to place Country before Party in the First District race. For nearly eight years, I have been baffled and disillusioned by the policy positions, votes, behavior and affiliations of Rep. Harris. The list is endless: His membership in the Freedom Caucus that has been obstructionist rather than helpful; his support for foreign leaders who are not America’s friends; his positions and statements on the Bay, the environment, healthcare reform, the truthfulness of the media, trade, immigration, aid for natural catastrophes and gun violence; his lack of leadership in the Congress, where he is held in such lack of regard that no one has made him a Committee leader; and his lack of any major legislative initiative during his entire tenure.

I am bothered by Rep. Harris’ invisibility to his constituents, either in person or in communications. He seems scared of us. I have met, seen or spoken to eight American presidents – Democrats and Republicans – in my public affairs career. But I never see Rep. Harris, who seems almost never to leave his office, particularly to visit the Eastern Shore. And his communications to his constituents is either non-existent or baffling.

So I have now decided it is time to put Country before Party as far as my Congressman is concerned. I have also decided it is time to begin to vote for individuals who are committed to public service, rather than their own self-interest, regardless of what race, gender, background and political party they belong to.

Which brings me to Jesse Colvin, with whom I have spent several hours, in person, in give and take sessions with his future constituents, and on the telephone chatting about policy and issues. I like what I see.

First, I like Jesse’s background. He graduated from a top and tough school – Duke University – which is a very competitive place in which to succeed. He decided not to chase the big corporate dollars and did what few Duke graduates do, entering the U.S. Army and a life of service to his country, doing four tours in

Afghanistan as an Army Ranger officer fighting al Qaeda and the Taliban. He returned to Columbia University to learn how policies are made, and then investigated fraud and other illegal activity on Wall Street.

Second, I like Jesse’s innate and engrained leadership traits and his sense of service. As an Army veteran, I understand what serving with others from all backgrounds in sometimes dangerous situations is like. It is a transforming experience that builds leaders. We need more young veterans in Congress. They have “the right stuff”.

Third, I like Jesse’s attributes. He is modest with self-deprecating humor. He is smart as a whip, incisive in his thinking. He listens to you before he talks. He cares about your problems and issues. He is a moderate person, as are most of my Republican, Democratic and Independent friends in the First District. He believes in compromise and getting things done. While he is running as a Democrat, he is really running as a non-partisan American.

Fourth, I like Jesse’s values. He has learned to run at the problem, not away from it. He is action- and results-oriented. He is not focused on criticism or ideology, but on finding solutions that help his constituents and help his country. He will lead with strength and compassion, something you learn when you are at war. He is honest and truthful. He is a family man, smart enough to marry a Republican woman who is a leader in her own right, and now a young father, with a big stake in assuring the next generation enjoys America’s freedoms and opportunities.

I am finding many disenchanted Republicans and Independents, who are joining me in supporting Jesse Colvin, a candidate many have called a Servant Leader, one who will serve his constituents and his country through enlightened non-partisan leadership, not self-interest. I encourage my First District neighbors to join us.

Philip J. Webster of St. Michaels has been the Eastern Shore Chairman, Trustee or Committee Chair of the Avalon Foundation, Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum, Mid-Shore Community Foundation, Sultana Education Foundation, Aspen Wye Fellows, Christ Church – St. Michaels, Aspen Institute Wye River Campus, Eastern Shore Land Conservancy, Miles River Yacht Club Foundation, Chesapeake Music and ShoreRivers. He was an officer of three New York Stock Exchange-listed companies and two international consulting firms.

Letters to Editor

  1. David Jeffery says

    Perfectly put, Mr. Webster.
    Jesse Colvin is the listener and leader we need to represent us in Maryland’s First Congressional District.

  2. Extraordinary!! Let’s get him to Congress! Sounds like a true American!!

  3. Thank you Philip Webster, for your insightful and heartfelt article about Jesse Colvin. He truly does care about ALL the people of the First District. We need more people like you who will put Country before Party. Sincerely, Maureen Scott-Taylor

  4. Agree 100%. I have tried to communicate with Dr. Harris. His responses are off the point and cookie cutter. He does not serve his district. He also seems to have a predilection to favor authoritarian leaders. Not what we need today!

  5. Larry and Kelly Pezor says

    He is the new kind of candidate.
    He has our vote!!

  6. Jesse Colvin is a breath of youthful fresh air in this time of old men in the Republican Party clinging to their jobs no matter the cost. As a lifelong Republican, I say enough! Since we have failed to institute term limits, the least we can do is send some educated young people to Congress. I admire Jesse and Jordan’s devotion to public service. They are the sorts of people who can and should help us get past this difficult period in our political and cultural journey. We must put Andy Harris and the radical Freedom Caucus agenda behind us.

  7. Sheila Vaughan says

    Thank you, Phil Webster, for drawing the strong contrast between Andy Harris and Jesse Colvin. I, too, have found Andy Harris’ “invisibility” extremely disturbing. I have called his office often only to receive generic email responses spouting party line/freedom caucus viewpoints. I especially dislike the manipulative phone “town halls” in which questions from the public are first screened to elicit positive responses toward Dr. Harris. Jesse Colvin offers real hope that the voices of the 1st district will be heard in Congress. The term “Servant Leader” suits him well. I encourage everyone to contribute to his campaign and, above all, vote!

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