Republican or Democrat, it makes no difference. If you care deeply about our County and support the widely shared vision for its future, register now for the primary election. The deadline is February 22nd, and paperwork means there’s no time to lose! Call the Board of Elections at 410-770-8099 to get rolling.
But don’t just to run. Run with a VISION—the shared values of our community’s Comprehensive Plan. Run with that vision and you can win. Run with that vision and you’ll not run alone and isolated, but with active support (knowledge, outreach, some help with money). Run with that vision and you’ll be part of the solution, helping to get Talbot back on the right track. Party affiliation is irrelevant to most local issues, and pales in importance to a commitment to sustaining the uniqueness of Talbot County.
And the large majority of people in this community actually do have a shared vision of how our County should operate and largely agree on what goals we—the County Council most importantly–should all be striving for in the operation of Talbot County.
Those shared goals are cogently expressed in what’s called the Talbot County Comprehensive Plan, the citizen-based, Council-approved document revised every ten years or so, most recently in 2016. It evolves a little each decade as intended, but since first composed about fifty years ago, its core values have changed very little. Here are the first three sentences of the Vision Statement:
“The primary goal of Talbot County…is to promote a high quality of life, to preserve the rural character of our County and to protect the health, safety and well-being of its citizens, in a resilient community. Recognizing that the overall environment is an economic asset of the County, protection of our agricultural lands and waterways, and their harvests, is a high priority. Our rivers, creeks, 600 miles of shoreline and fragile ecosystems are valued and protected with zeal and vigilance.”
This frame of reference (expanded in many chapters) is there to guide and animate every decision and action of the County Council—and staff and citizens too—in the civic arena. And it is not “just” a guide; it is an important legal document, with teeth. The Comp Plan is not, has never been, a “no-growth” scheme, as some charge whenever convenient. (On that point the Plan is pretty sophisticated: growth is not about how quickly we can put our County under asphalt, but about increasing the per-capita prosperity of the current citizenry in a manner that sustains, and does not destroy, what makes Talbot County unique.)
It seems we are at a critical point in keeping Talbot on track–and I’m not referring to the Lakeside project alone; it’s that and other matters now and soon before the Council. People who are well qualified and who are committed to sustaining the character of Talbot County need to step forward now.
Or we can just leave it at “business as usual,” — which by default leans towards supporters of the real estate development eco-system, because it’s in their interest, as always, to hold the reins of power.
Some wish to sustain Talbot’s uniqueness, others wish to monetize it.
If you are the former, run in 2022 and I don’t think you’ll be flying solo. I really believe we have already begun building an effective, non-partisan, movement to improve the caliber our governance—“The Talbot Integrity Project” by name—starting with the vast majority of the 420 or so individuals who emailed the County in support of our petition to rescind R281 that enabled Lakeside to commence.
Is there any doubt there are many people who can and will actively support qualified candidates for County Council who are going to fight for the central values already embodied in that Comp Plan? Support you with information. Support you in organizing and reaching voters. Support you in fundraising. Each candidate, of course, stands on his or her own personal qualifications and character, but if this is the organizing principal behind your candidacy and you are well qualified, I’m confident support for your campaign is forthcoming. And you’ll not be alone.
And I for one would like to hear from you, see what I can do to help. [email protected].
Dan Watson is the former chair of Bipartisan Coalition For New Council Leadership and has lived in Talbot County for the last twenty-five years.