A few people have contacted me with concerns about the political ramifications of the proposed new district. Let me be very clear: this is not a Republican vs Democrat thing. This is not Matt Morgan or Jack Bailey being worried about the next election. Currently, I only represent a small area that is proposed to be shifted to Calvert/Anne Arundel. In fact, I grew up in Charles County, I know the County well, and I still have a lot of friends and family in the area. I am not worried about the politics of the proposed district. I am concerned about what is fair and good for our County. If St. Mary's County is gerrymandered now, district lines stay in place for a minimum of 10 years, and I believe this may never be corrected. These changes will impact our businesses and citizens significantly.
Our constituents would have to work with various legislators across this proposed "Southern Maryland Region" to obtain assistance for local government and county issues. It could potentially negatively impact our community for decades to come and long after Senator Bailey and I are out of elected office.
Many of you have asked about testifying and submitting written testimony to the redistricting Commission. Below is a sample letter with a few essential points of why I think this is a significant problem for us in St. Mary's.
As you can see, the new proposed St. Mary's District would run North-South from the Prince George's County border to Point Lookout and East-West from Indian Head to the Patuxent River. It would also separate Mechanicsville, Oakville, Hollywood, and California and relocate those areas to a predominantly Anne Arundel & Calvert County district.
St. Mary's County residents having their voice and representation diluted is a top concern.
If you feel this is not how you want to be represented, we need your help to get the message to the Redistricting Commission now! Would you please submit testimony opposing this map with one simple, straightforward message?
Let St. Mary's County remain whole. Keep St. Mary's intact. Do not divide and gerrymander us!
To submit written testimony to the Commission, please use the links below:
You can also submit your comments electronically or send a redistricting email to [email protected]
Below is a sample testimony for you to use, in part or whole. I have also added a list of additional points which I feel are important that you may wish to include in your testimony.
Please do not feel that you must use what I provide, and certainly, feel free to use your own voice. I am providing this as a template.
September 20, 2021
Maryland Citizens Redistricting Commission
Testimony opposing the Commission's map 9-14-21
Dear Members of the Maryland Citizen's Redistricting Commission:
Thank you for the opportunity to provide testimony to the Commission on this very important issue. I reside/work/have a business in St. Mary's County. My testimony is simple:
Keep St. Mary's whole and our community intact.
For the last 40 years, St. Mary's County has always been made whole regarding State Legislative Redistricting. However, the Commission's proposed map on the 14th of September separated areas in St. Mary's County of Mechanicsville, Oakville, Hollywood, and California and relocates those areas to a predominantly Anne Arundel & Calvert County district. The proposed map then creates one of the largest districts and least compact in the entire state by including a vast geographical area of Charles County to the St. Mary's County District.
I believe this to be wrong, and I would like St. Mary's to remain whole. St. Mary's County is unique in several ways, and as such, our interests and needs are not going to line up with those in Southern Anne Arundel County as well as the massive area in Charles County in your proposed map. Our economic development needs are different. Over 60% of our economy revolves around the large base at NAVAIR and subsequent military contractors. We have heavily invested in these industries, such as the new UMD UAS research and test center which is in the portion of the county proposed to be moved into a Calvert district. These projects are vitally important to our economic growth and our community, and separating them from the rest of our County makes little sense.
Historically, St. Mary's County has been represented as a whole. Geographically, we are located on a peninsula, and our communities are tight nit. Our needs coincide with one another, and this makes us stronger. Dividing the County, carving out sections of Mechanicsville, Oakville, Hollywood, and California, and adding a large section of Charles County will rob us of representation. It is unfair, and I believe that any redistricting map needs to keep St. Mary's County completely intact.
Other key points to include:
- This map grabs a section of Mechanicsville, Oakville, Hollywood, and California and relocates those areas to a predominantly Anne Arundel & Calvert County district.
- It further attaches a massive section of Charles County to St. Mary's County. The proposed district runs up the Charles County eastern border to the Rt. 381 Gallant Green area, then goes south down Rt. 488 towards La Plata, follows Rt. 6 west, captures the Nanjemoy area, and runs nearly to Indian Head.
- The new proposed St. Mary's District would run North-South from the Prince George's County border to Point Lookout and East-West from Indian Head to the Patuxent River. State law calls for districts to be "compact and contiguous." While the district would be contiguous, it is far from compact.
- Health care needs and access to care have always been and continue to be an issue to those of us in a rural community, and we worry that lumping us in with counties of heavier concentration of population will obscure these areas of need for our citizens.
- I do not believe citizens living in Sandgates or Hollywood have the same transportation, economic development, and infrastructure needs as the people of Shady Side or the people of Edgewater in Anne Arundel County. The same can be said of the like-minded interest of the neighborhoods of Charles County in Welcome or Nanjemoy differ in comparison to St. Mary communities of Ridge and California.
- St. Mary's County transportation and infrastructure needs will have to be centered on the development of our tech corridor located in California at the Airport.
- These changes will impact our businesses and citizens since we will no longer have a "cohesive" form of representation. Our constituents and County Commissioners will now have to work with a variety of legislators across this proposed "Southern Maryland Region" to obtain assistance for local government and county issues. Everyone complains that government is slow to act, and this will only add to the length of time it takes to resolve issues for our citizens.