—– By: Ann Costantino —–
Dozens of supporters came out to support Democratic candidate for Baltimore County executive, Johnny Olszewski, Jr., today for a “Get Out the Vote” rally at his Owings Mills campaign headquarters. It was one of two events happening simultaneously in the county, where supporters were excited and energized to meet their 100,000 door-knocking goal.
With 98,000 doors knocked since the beginning of the campaign, and three days until the election, Olszewski supporters plan to meet that goal today, targeting 2,000 homes where voters have not yet cast their votes.
Excitement was in the air and Olszewski was full of energy.
“Are we ready for a better Baltimore County? I’ve got some good news for you,” he said. “A better Baltimore County is already here. It’s right here. It’s today. It’s right in this crowd. It’s in our leaders who showed up…. It’s within our grasp. We’re almost there. We’re on the 5-yard line. But we’ve got to finish strong. We’ve got to get there,” Olszewski said.
Olszewski promised not to disappoint Baltimore County citizens.
Several politicians and leaders spoke of a bright future Olszweski would being the county, should he be elected on November 6. Olszewski is campaigning against a strong Republican opponent, Al Redmer, Jr., who has been endorsed by Gov. Larry Hogan.
Among Olszewski’s supporters at today’s rally, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh said Olszewski, who recently earned his PhD, is an expert on public policy. “We need people who know what they are doing. He’s a great guy. He’s got the right vision for Baltimore County,” Frosh said.
US Maryland Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger said of Olszewski, “You couldn’t ask for a better person. He cares about people. He has integrity, he’s going to listen, he’s going to hire the right people because he knows that he has a tremendous job. He is ready for this job.”
Baltimore County Councilman Julian Jones, a Democrat who represent’s the county’s District Four, said he was fired up. “I am fired up and ready to go because I’m just so happy to be here to support Johnny O… because he puts education first and I know that education is what will put our kids on the right path,” Jones said. “Education is what will lead them to a better future. Education is what will keep people out of trouble. .. dumb kids do dumb things, but smart kids don’t do dumb things,” Jones said.
State Comptroller Peter Franchot spoke frankly of the kind of change Olszewski would bring to Baltimore County. “It’s a beginning of a new day for this county. I love this county. I’ve been all over it, up and down over the last 12 years, ” he said. “But there was always something kind of peculiar about the Towson group, I guess I would describe it. There was always kind of a backroom, closed door feeling that I got. In fact, I was told explicitly: ‘Mr. Comptroller, stay out of Baltimore County.'” But, Franchot said, “That’s going to end. We’ve got now, a candidate, Johnny Olszewski, who’s going to show up all over the county, talk to everybody, he’s going do his job which is to listen to people, not tell them to shut up. He’s going to be a fiscal moderate… and he’s going to lay down the sword… lay down the partisan sword and concentrate on issues that people really care about.”
Education leaders touted Olszewski’s experience as a former Baltimore County teacher. Abby Beytin, the president of the Teachers Association of Baltimore County (TABCO), spoke of Olsewski’s connection as a teacher and student member of the Baltimore County school board. Cheryl Bost, president of the Maryland State Education Association (MSEA), spoke on behalf of the 74,000 MSEA member organization. Bost said boldly that all 74,000 members, including 10,000 in Baltimore County, “wholeheartedly support Johnny O.”
Before wrapping up the event, Olszewski said in his closing remarks, “I am so excited to be this county’s leader. I’m so excited to be a leader who listens. Who partners with you and who does big things right now. So, let’s do the next big thing that is in front of us. Let’s go knock on a few doors. Let’s go make a few phone calls. And let’s go win this election.”
The rally ended with Chuck Berry song, “Johnny B. Goode,” as volunteers exited, energized to canvas and knock on the remaining doors.
*** The writer of this article encourages respectful discourse concerning all candidates and elected officials.***