Op-Ed: Why an Activist Democrat Supports Jim Brochin for County Executive
Posted by Peta Richkus on 18th June 2018
Former Maryland State Senator Jim Brochin , Democratic Candidate for Baltimore County Executive ~ Photo by Paul Morse

Many active Democrats in Baltimore County have already voted for their choice for Baltimore County, by Early Voting or Absentee Ballot because they know they will be out of town – or working the polls for their favorite candidate. I have no doubt that they have been thoughtful in their evaluations and, even if they have not yet voted, expect they feel no need for further consideration.

But many Baltimore County residents are still weighing the candidates and sifting through the campaign flyers now arriving in their mailboxes. Maybe, before their eyes glaze over from the onslaught of dueling bullet-points, they might consider the thoughts of a progressive democrat who supports the contrarian Democrat for County Executive rather than the one promoted as The Progressive Candidate. With much of the Democratic party moribund and tone-deaf, nationally and at the state level, I support the Democrat who is not deterred by the thicket of Old Guard Maryland Democrats who have become mired in self-interest, focused on protecting the status quo (i.e. themselves and their clique). I choose a Democrat who has stood up for many of the issues important to me, and who has consistently stood alongside his constituents against the established power structure and their monied backers. I, a liberal-minded Democrat who is supporting many progressive Democrats in this election, will vote for Senator Jim Brochin for County Executive.

I concur with many of the points made by Dr. Michele Guyton, progressive Democratic for District 42B, in her May 2, 2018 letter to the Baltimore Sun, Brochin is a progressive:  (http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/readersrespond/bs-ed-rr-brochin-liberal-letter-20180502-story.html). She has been impressed “with (Jim’s) reliable support and leadership on issues that are important to me and represent progressive values. His record as an environmental leader and supporter of women’s issues, particularly access to reproductive health care and protecting victims of rape and domestic violence speaks volumes about his priorities. He voted for a fair living wage in Maryland and supported common sense gun control legislation designed to keep firearms out of the hands of domestic abusers and the Firearms Safety Act of 2013.”

Jim Brochin’s concerned for working people and their families is of long-standing. Senator Brochin backed the “Walmart bill,” which would have required Maryland for-profit employers with more than 10,000 workers to spend at least 8% of their payroll on employee health benefits or contribute to the state’s insurance program for the poor and was among those who voted to overturn Gov. Ehrlich’s veto in 2006.

It was Jim Brochin who stood with Towson residents against Caves Valley Partners, the County Executive and the Council majority (including Councilwoman Vicki Almond) in the fight against the unwanted, questionable development deals known as Towson Gateway and Towson Row.

Senator Brochin also supported Dundalk United (DU) against Vanguard Development, the County Executive and the Council majority in another of the County’s controversial development projects crafted behind closed doors, without community involvement, and in the face of strong public opposition. Neither Olszewski, Sr. nor Jr. stood with the community. The Council went on to absolve Vanguard of the requirement to build a community recreation center on the site, transferring what was to have been a developer cost to the county’s balance sheet. John Olszewski, Jr. declined to join 7,000 of his district constituents that signed the Dundalk United petition opposing the North Point Government Center project. It was Jim Brochin who wrote to both the Governor and the Comptroller in support of DU.

Brochin has been criticized for an often-cited statement that ‘Donald Trump should be given a chance.’ But the critics do not note the context, that the comment was made immediately after the election and 2 days before Trump was sworn in as president. The full quote is “’I think we’re going to have to fight if we want to get our country back. With that being said, I do think we should give this president a chance….’ Brochin maintained a wait-and-see attitude toward Trump’s actions and appointments and he was not alone. ‘I say give him a chance as far as if he can govern from the middle. And if he appoints somebody who has the decision-making on conversion therapy and can ram it down people’s throats, I think you should take to the streets….’” Judge for yourself from the source document; don’t just accept opposition talking points. http://thetowerlight.com/senator-jim-brochin-analyzes-causes-of-national-election-results/

Notably, within the year, Senator Brochin was calling for a special session of the General Assembly to deal with Donald Trump’s decision not to fund subsidies for individual health insurance plans, to “protect the people who can least afford to get hit.”

Also important to me, having participated in this weekend’s Baltimore Pride Parade, is Senator Brochin’s position on equal rights: “I have been a staunch supporter of the LGBTQ community, including the right of every Marylander to marry whomever they happen to love.”

Jim Brochin and I don’t always agree but I know he listens to and supports his constituents. I know he can process contradictory positions and use new information to consider new positions. Senator Jim Brochin has a record I support.

– Peta N. Richkus, retired (Towson)

Peta Richkus is a former MD Port Commissioner; Intergovernmental Advisory Committee member, US Trade Representative, Executive Office of the President; MD Secretary of General Services; Senior Vice President, Buchart-Horn, Inc., engineers, architects and planners.



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