Steuart Pittman (D) |
Anne Arundel County Executive
Unopposed in Primary
Why are you qualified to represent the people in your jurisdiction?
I have run successful businesses and nonprofit organizations for 33 years. I operate both a south county farm that has been in our family for generations and Retired Racehorse Project, a large national non-profit that is responsible for retraining and rehoming thousands of horses each year.
I spent nine years as a community organizer, helping local groups to influence decisions made by their elected officials, and today represent farmers on the board of the soil conservation district where best management practices are put in place to protect our rivers and bay.
I have never run for office and thought I never would, but with twin eight-year-old boys in public schools and a daughter trying to make her way as a young adult, I cannot stand by idly while our local and national politics are drained of compassion and morality.
What are three goals you want to accomplish in the next four years to advance the rights of women and minorities in Maryland?
I come from a community organizing tradition in which progress comes from the bottom up, rather than from the top down. Our campaign slogan, “Putting Communities First,” means having a seat at the table for not only geographic communities, but also those defined by race, ethnicity, and gender. As county executive I will:
Change the composition of the Anne Arundel County Commission for Women so that it better reflects the diverse racial, economic, and political spectrum of our county. I will ask the commission to lead a county-wide outreach effort to propose a course of action to combat sexual harassment in the workplaces of both county government and the private sector.
Restore the relationship between local organizations that represent the African American community and the office of county executive. I will seek guidance from the Caucus of African American Leaders, the local NAACP and others on a plan to combat the bigotry that has surfaced in our schools and communities.
End the 287(g) contract that requires county detention officers to interrogate and detain county residents who are suspected of being undocumented. Embracing immigrant communities will be a high priority for my administration.
What are the three most important issues on which you want to effect change? What will be your strategy for achieving these changes?
We must engage our neighborhoods in planning our county’s future. That means approving a community-driven General Development Plan in 2019 and establishing budget priorities that shift spending from development incentives to local needs.
We must stop losing our teachers, firefighters, and police to neighboring counties where pay is higher. We will create competitive compensation packages that allow us to recruit and retain at the levels needed for our growing population.
After losing 3000 acres of forest to development in the last decade, we must move toward a no-net-loss forest conservation plan in our county, not only because it limits development, but also because forests are our most efficient watershed protection system.
What have you learned about yourself or the political process since you became a candidate or have been an elected official?
In my short time working to raise the funds needed to compete against an incumbent county executive, it has become clear to me that we are a pay-to-play county. Most companies that regularly apply for permits from Planning and Zoning or Inspections and Permits are significant political donors to the incumbent county executive, and very few are willing to have their names appear on the campaign finance report of a challenger. The county executive is notorious for requesting donations from the most vulnerable companies.
I have also learned in this process that many people today want to connect across the party divide. When we take the time to talk to each other we are reminded that it’s the politicians who keep us apart, not our basic values.
Specifically, how will you keep your constituents informed about the issues facing the county and the state?
I will use the press, social media, county web sites, and Anne Arundel Community Television, but I thrive on direct interaction with constituents, even when they disagree with me. My schedule will be heavy on public meetings, and I will appear regularly before the county, boards, and commissions. My budget process will include public presentation of financial data, options for debate, and direct interaction with taxpayers.