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June 26, 2013

Carroll Commissioner Seeking Delegate Seat

Kevin E. Dayhoff

A Carroll County commissioner and former Hampstead mayor has thrown his hat into the ring for the House of Delegates in the newly redrawn 5th District, which lumps four incumbents into a three-delegate district.


Last Monday Commissioner Haven Shoemaker formally announced that he is running in the upcoming 2014 Republican primary to represent the citizens of Carroll County in the new District 5 of the Maryland General Assembly. With four incumbents – Justin Ready, Susan Krebs, Donald “Doc” Elliott and Nancy Stocksdale – the field is expected to be a crowded one.


Commissioner Shoemaker was introduced in historic downtown Westminster for the announcement by the president of the Carroll County Board of Commissioners, Doug Howard.


“The primary is June 24, 2014,” according to my colleague with the Baltimore Sun, Blair Ames, who wrote about the event on Monday. “Shoemaker, a Republican serving his first term on the Board of County Commissioners, stressed his experience as a commissioner, Hampstead town councilman and as Hampstead mayor in a 10-minute address announcing his candidacy…”


Mr. Ames reported that “…the biggest obstacle facing this board of commissioners is the state legislature, according to Shoemaker.”


Also be sure to see my fellow writer, Westminster Patch Editor Kym Bynes’ video of the announcement.


In an exchange of emails after the announcement, Mr. Shoemaker wrote that he “is extremely concerned about the increased taxes, burdensome regulations and erosion of constitutional rights in the State of Maryland and feels that he can best remedy these issues by serving in Annapolis.”


In his Sun article Mr. Ames explained that “Shoemaker's candidacy adds to what is expected to be a crowded field for delegate in District 5. Redistricting has caused Carroll County's four Republican incumbent delegates to be lumped into one three-member district. District 5 now covers all of Carroll except Mount Airy and areas south of Liberty Road.”


Mr. Shoemaker’s announcement came as no surprise. On June 3, he issued a press release in which he requested, “that all residents of Carroll County stand with him on … in front of the Carroll County Public Library on Main Street in Westminster where he will make an announcement of great consequence to those interested in the challenges faced by the citizens of Carroll County and the State of Maryland as the 2014 election looms.”


It has been an open secret for some time that Commissioner Shoemaker has had Annapolis aspirations. And this is not the first time he has thrown his hat in the ring to represent Carroll County as a delegate.


In November 2005, then-Hampstead Mayor Shoemaker announced that he was running for a delegate in the 2006 elections.


The 2006 election cycle in Carroll County was particularly unpleasant, bitter and negative. The primary was held September 12 and, at that time the voters chose Nancy Stockdale and Tanya Shewell to be the Republican nominees in the general election that fall.


I have worked with Mr. Shoemaker for many years. I got to know him shortly after he was first elected to the Hampstead Town Council in1997. Our paths crossed on a number of issues and in the capacity of each of us serving on a number of boards and commissions.


At the time I was still raising nursery stock on a farm just outside of Hampstead and for a short time I served on the Hampstead Tree Commission.


Throughout much of the 1990s, I served as the chair of the Carroll County Environmental Affairs Advisory Board and Mr. Shoemaker and I frequently discussed a wide variety of issues and challenges – in agreement and in disagreement.


I continued working closely with Mr. Shoemaker on municipal, county and state issues after I was elected to the Westminster Common Council in 1999 and began working with then-Hampstead Councilman Shoemaker with the Maryland Municipal League, especially the Carroll County chapter.


For many years, Mr. Shoemaker was president of the Carroll County chapter of the Maryland Municipal League while I was secretary.


In May 2003, he was elected mayor of Hampstead with 70% of the vote. He served as mayor of Hampstead until he was elected a county commissioner in 2010 when, as I wrote for the Baltimore Sun, “… the GOP swept all five seats of the new board (of Carroll County Commissioners…) In the 2nd District, composed of Hampstead and Finksburg, Hampstead mayor and Republican Haven Shoemaker turned back Democrat Charles Bevard by 37 percentage points.”


Mr. Shoemaker is an honorably discharged veteran of the Maryland Army National Guard. He has been an attorney in Hampstead since 1994. He received his bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland Baltimore County and his law degree (Magna Cum Laude) from the Widener University School of Law.


In his announcement Monday, Commissioner Shoemaker said: “For too long our Carroll County delegation to Annapolis has done little but vote NO on legislation and has not forwarded an agenda that would benefit the residents of Carroll.


“I hope to invigorate our delegation and use my considerable municipal and county-wide governmental experience to deliver meaningful legislation affecting out local interests while drawing on my experience as a small businessman and property owner to vigorously resist the over taxation, over regulation and overreach into our lives that seems to result from each legislative session.”


On Monday, the Sun reported that Commissioner Howard said that Mr. Shoemaker “is someone the county can count on to stay on top of the issues and understand what Carroll County needs.”


"He has played such a critical role in making sure this county stays on track and understands what is important," Howard said.


And I could not agree more.


… I’m just saying


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