If you are one of the thousands of people who have chosen to live in the largely rural and naturally beautiful southern part of Anne Arundel County, you know our communities encounter constant development pressure, placing stress on our schools, roads, open areas, and public services.
In addition, the growing epidemic of drug addiction has jeopardized the well-being of many of our citizens.
To preserve and enhance our quality of life, we need elected officials at all levels who have the experience and influence to make a difference on these important and pressing issues.
My name is Mike Shay. I am a 35-year south county resident running for General Assembly delegate from District 30B (parts of Edgewater and Riva, the Mayo peninsula and areas south). I have successfully established several businesses and nonprofit organizations in south county and continually advocated for our communities.
I have a proven record and a vision that stands in sharp contrast to that of the incumbent, Seth Howard, whose votes have been out-of-step with the reasonable views and needs of south county residents and who has failed to adequately address the issues confronting us.
Development — In recent years, developers have proposed and created projects that have degraded wetlands, increased traffic and led to overcrowded schools.
The livelihood of local independent business owners has been threatened by proposals for large shopping malls and “big box” stores, which would place additional pressure on public services in our rural area. I have led multiple successful struggles against inappropriate development, protecting over 750 acres of environmentally-sensitive land in South County, including Franklin Point and Turtle Run. I also worked to defeat a proposal that would have increased school class size to 120 percent of capacity, which would have allowed serious overdevelopment.
Del. Howard has been absent on these issues and counterproductive on others. For example, highway projects such as the intersection improvement at Central Avenue and Loch Haven Road normally receive both county and state funding.
However, Delegate Howard’s efforts to secure state funds were feeble. The result: No state matching funds for intersections in Mayo. Delegate Howard also inexplicably joined a small group of legislators in voting against increased state funding for smart growth planning and fast-growing local school systems.
Environment — My longstanding leadership to protect south county’s waterways and wetlands has earned me the endorsement of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters and the Sierra Club.
In contrast, Delegate Howard has one of the assembly’s lowest MLCV environmental scores, due to his votes against policies to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy, protect oyster sanctuaries and bee colonies, and ban fracking.
Public health / Addiction to opioids — prescription pain killers, heroin and fentanyl — is a public health crisis that confronts many in our community. We all pay the cost in higher health care expenses for treatment programs, lower worker productivity, and increased crime.
If elected, I will advocate for additional state funding and resources to expand substance abuse treatment. On the contrary, Delegate Howard has acted against the interests of his constituents by opposing legislation that would accomplish this.
South county residents are now facing demanding challenges to the quality of life that attracted us here in the first place. We need as our representative a proven advocate with a successful record of supporting community planning, stopping inappropriate development, supporting local businesses, saving important lands for the public and a commitment to dealing with the public health problems facing us.
I ask for your vote on Nov. 6 for a sensible, reasonable, and responsible vision for south county. Thank you.
Mike Shay is the Democratic candidate for delegate in District 30B.