Republicans Need to Take Back the Economy
By Linda Willard Candidate for Maryland House of Delegates, District 18
I am running for delegate from LD-18 (Chevy Chase, Kensington, Garrett Park, Rockville, Silver Spring, Wheaton). I am the first Republican to run for delegate in my district in twelve years, so I decided to run in order to break this cycle. Voters in LD-18 are not only victims of one party rule, they are the victims of a one-party choice.
Economic Underperformance. Soft job growth. No business formation. These phrases were just a few of the descriptions of the economic outlook in Montgomery County in a recent report prepared by Baltimore-based Sage Policy Group. The report, entitled “The Coming Storm,” was presented on April 27 at a forum on the economic future of Montgomery County sponsored by the Montgomery County Business Roundtable and Empower Montgomery.
These regrettable findings are the product of a local government that has systematically placed economic growth at the bottom of its priority list. And what is the one factor that unites all of the local government officials who have ignored the economy? Not one of them is a Republican.
Montgomery County has not elected a Republican official in more than a decade, and during that time, economic growth has not been a priority, a situation that has resulted in fewer jobs and a declining tax base. According to the Sage Policy Report, between 2006 and 2016, private sector jobs in the county fell by 12,511, while public sector jobs rose by 11,603, a net loss. Meanwhile the county, which is the largest borrower of all the Maryland counties, has amassed a huge debt of $5.9 billion as of fiscal year 2016.
Sadly, the economic forum’s leaders thought the only way to build on the success of term limits and bring meaningful change to the county was to urge the audience to register as Democrats. The message was clear: unless you are a registered Democrat who can vote in the primary, your vote doesn’t really matter. Republicans have become the sideshow, and that is simply not acceptable.
To add insult to injury, voter registration tables were planted prominently in the foyer outside the auditorium where the Sage Report was presented. After encouraging audience members to change their party registration for the primary, Leslie Weber, chair-elect of the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce president, assured audience members that they could change their registrations back to Independent or Republican before the general election. Again, the message marginalizes Republicans and Independents.
If I am elected, I plan to focus on advancing Republican principles of fiscal responsibility and economic growth. Democrats in our county have borrowed and spent without paying any heed to expanding our tax base. Larry Hogan won with a platform that focused on jobs and the economy, and he is delivering. County Republicans who are seeking State and local office in the upcoming election must do the same.
I urge all Republicans who are running for office to make economic growth a top priority. We should work together to engage with Chambers of Commerce, Business Roundtables and similar groups to better understand which policies would help create more jobs and which policies would hinder growth.
We must be proactive. Our mission is to create employment opportunities so that all families can have a better quality of life. The Democrats’ tax and spend approach has driven us into debt and caused economic stagnation and decline. We can do far better.
Linda Willard is an environmental attorney who lives in Chevy Chase, MD.