I have been out meeting and talking with voters since I announced my candidacy for House of Delegates last July. It is very rewarding to not only talk about my positive vision for Maryland, but to also listen to the concerns, thoughts, stories and feed back of everyone I am meeting. While I am a Republican, these conversations are not limited to political party.
In fact, I recently had an interesting interview with representatives from the Frederick County Teachers Association (FCTA). Before the meeting I completed a lengthy questionnaire responding to important issues as identified by the Maryland State Education Association. While I joked with them about entering "hostile" territory, I appreciated the opportunity to discuss
important issues regarding the education of our children.
As a Republican, I was advised by some not to "waste my time" with the FCTA, but I felt otherwise. Education is an important issue for all of us, regardless of political affiliation and it is a large component of our state and county budgets. Through my years of experience volunteering as a room parent, a PTA board member, and a youth mentor I have gained a great deal of
respect and appreciation for the important role teachers play in the lives of our children.
Further, if elected as Delegate, I will serve all of the people and interests of District 4, not just those who agree with me. As I reminded the FCTA representatives with whom I interviewed, we may not agree on all issues, but I am willing to listen to opposing views and opinions and will work to solve problems.
While we had a good conversation, the FCTA interview highlighted how divided we are as a country, state and county. It also served as an example of how often we are unable to get beyond labels and have real discussions about solving problems. No one person, group, or party has all of the answers. Indeed, we have witnessed the negative effects of one-party control in our State.
And, it is important to note that when discussions begin with loaded terms like "anti-this" or "anti-that," "entitled to their fair share," and "hiding profits" these expressions often stymie any real discussion of solutions.
While labels are convenient ways to predetermine a certain ideological leaning, they inhibit the necessary and worthwhile time spent reaching workable solutions. This distinction is important. It does not mean "go along to get along" as some would dismiss it, rather it means holding firm to core values while making the tough economic and social decisions.
As an elected Councilwoman for the Town of Mount Airy, I served for eight years. We had some difficult times and faced some very controversial issues in those eight years. It was in the instances when we had the valuable combination of open government and committed elected officials, (all willing to engage in vigorous debate) that we were able to reach consensus and move
Leadership is more than eloquent words and partisan rhetoric for those who already agree with you. Leadership requires persuading those who disagree while holding firm to your core values. True leaders bring people together and solve problems and I believe voters have the right to expect nothing less.