Campaign Diary – Forums Galore
Monday, August 23 – First Day of School
As always, the first day of school is a mixture of sadness and happiness. I am sad because I have less time with my family (my wife is a pre-K teacher at Lincoln Elementary, so she started today also), but getting back to a routine helps with the scheduling.
My daughters were up and ready for their first day of fourth grade this morning quite early, but I would guess that tomorrow they’ll be more sluggish.
This evening the Urbana Civic Association held a “Meet and Greet” with the candidates – and not just those for county commissioner. Others included Board of Education and state Senate aspirants. It was a good turnout, with people in the audience having a checklist of the candidates and the ability to take notes. Each of us had a table, on which we put our literature (or candy, cookies, etc.). We brought signs and after all of us gave a one-minute introduction, we went to our stations and met with the audience members.
There was a group there who also had a station, which was staffed by those who oppose the PATH transmission line and the Kemptown substation. The people at the Sugarloaf Conservancy and Citizens Against Kemptown Electric Substation were there distributing literature and spreading their message.
Both groups are determined to prevent Allegheny Energy from building the highest voltage electric substation ever built in the United States. They believe that Frederick County will be burdened and harmfully impacted by Allegheny’s PATH (Potomac-Appalachian Transmission Highline) transmission line even though none of the energy transmitted will benefit Frederick County residents.
Candidates in all offices need to understand that issues in Urbana are different from those in Thurmont, and different from Brunswick. A candidate must be attuned to this concept, and the candidates who separate themselves from others do so accordingly.
Tuesday, August 24 – Gazette Interview and FNP Forum
This morning (boy were the girls sluggish in waking up for school!), I was interviewed by the editorial staff at The Gazette. I must say that – like the Chamber of Commerce interview - this was a comprehensive, wide-ranging discussion, and I appreciated that. It was a refreshing change from some of the discussions with single-interest groups. This is a big county with many issues, and the role of a county commissioner must take into account all the issues at all times.
This evening was the Democratic Candidates’ Forum at Frederick Community College, sponsored by The Frederick News-Post, the League of Women Voters, 930 WFMD and WHAG-TV. The format was as follows: Each candidate was directly asked two questions and given two minutes for a response. In addition, all candidates had five optional one-minute responses.
Right before the forum started, we were given the list of topics and which candidate was assigned to each topic, so we could decide where we wanted to use our optional responses. We had two minutes for our opening and one-minute for our closing.
Thus, we were given a chance to respond to five of the other 12 questions, but not every question.
I did hear the discussions after the forum that we, as Democratic Party candidates, did not answer the question on illegal immigration. My thought was that since we only had five opportunities to share our responses on the other 12 questions, we had to pick and choose what we were going to respond to.
I would hazard a guess that if the Senate candidates didn’t come after us, and the entire night was just for us, then it’s possible that the format would have been different. Maybe we would have each had the opportunity to respond in one minute on the questions that weren’t directly asked of us.
All in all, it was a smooth forum and the audience was able to talk to us after the forum and talk to us personally. I am looking forward to the Republican Commissioner Candidates’ Forum September 1st.
Wednesday, August 25 – EBPA
This evening was a hybrid of a “Meet and Greet” and a “Forum” at the Carriage House Inn in Emmitsburg. Hosted by the Emmitsburg Business and Professional Association, the format was as follows: each commissioner candidate was given six minutes for remarks, and then we were asked questions written by audience members. However, due to the time it took for the candidates from both parties to speak for up to six minutes, there were only a few questions asked of a few of the candidates.
This evening was also a smooth event – well-organized and flawless in its execution. We had an opportunity to distribute literature and meet with the audience.
Three nights in a row of forums, and we’re all simultaneously tired and energized.
Thursday, August 26 – Coffee Group
Instead of my usual “Coffee with the Candidate” discussion, I went to a more private coffee group discussion this morning. One outcome of the morning was what is probably my favorite line of the campaign so far. When asked how the campaign was going, I responded by saying that, yes, things are going well; fundraising was going well; but that I could always use more contributions. In fact, I told the group, that everyone at this table could support my campaign by “ponying up” some money.
One gentleman leaned forward and said: “Michael, none of us are gambling men.”