Baltimore County District 6 is currently represented by a rather conservative Democrat, Joe Bartenfelder. Bartenfelder decided to instead of run for reelection - run for County Executive. What happened was that fellow County Councilman Kevin Kamenetz decided to plaster the TV with nasty, negative advertising against Bartenfelder...and it worked. Since then, Bartenfelder has been seen with Republicans in the County and has endorsed without actually endorsing Ken Holt for County Executive. On the Democratic side is Cathy Bevins, Baltimore County Executive Jim Smith’s Constituent Services Coordinator from 2003 to 2010. She only recently moved to the district from which she's running and tells you nothing about her thoughts on the issues on her website. On the Republican side, we have Ryan Nawrocki, a former Ehrlich spokesman and current LifeBridge Health spokesperson who previously worked for Delegates Joe Boteler and John Cluster in Annapolis. To contrast, Nawrocki has a slick website which provides a number of great details on the issues. Nawrocki is the right candidate and Nawrocki can win.
I interviewed Nawrocki in early October and he gave some great answers to my questions. Specifically, Nawrocki has pledged to propose the following within his first couple months on the County Council:
. Enactment of term limits on County Councilmen;. Enactment of an immediate moratorium on the constant yield, which is the dirty little secret in property tax assessments. The State sets the assessment of property values, and current Council members use this fact as a convenient excuse as to why it cannot change the property tax problems in the County. However, the value of my home, which was purchased 3 years ago, has dropped by approximately $40,000, yet my property tax rate goes up each year
. Along with the moratorium on the constant yield, offer a charter amendment to cap the future use of the constant yield at 2%. The purpose of the charter amendment is to safeguard taxpayers from any future effort to increase the constant yield because any amendment to the charter will need a referendum vote from the voters; and
. Offer a bill to eliminate the golden parachute pension and other perks provided to Council members.
Nawrocki provides clear ideas and options to help the County. Pension reform has been a big issue that Kevin Kamenetz lied about during the primary - the pension reform he pushed did not apply to sitting incumbents. What does Nawrocki say about that?
Is eliminating the Council pensions significant enough? I have never understood how an individual, who works 45 days per year under the County Charter, could walk away with 100% of his or her salary after serving 20 years. That amounts to a handful of years of work for the average worker in Baltimore County pulling a 40 to 60 hour per week job. I believe that Councilmen are no better than those who go to work in an investment firm, a retail shop, a manufacturing facility, or any other countless private industry occupations. Councilmen can participate in a defined contribution plan like the rest of us. I believe that a 401(k) plan, if good enough for the hard working families in the County, should be good enough for its public servants...When Councilman Kamenetz introduced his version of pension reform, it was not the only one on the table. Councilman Bartenfelder also had a proposal, but unfortunately, it died for lack of a second. Councilman Kamenetz's bill only affected incoming Council members but did nothing to those individuals serving presently on the Council. Moreover and unlike Councilman Bartenfelder's bill, the Kamenetz bill still allowed Council members to collect their pension, as well as collecting other County pensions for which he may have qualified along the way. For example, County Executive Jim Smith will walk away from County government with over $150,000 as a result of 3 separate pensions: County Council, County Executive, and Circuit Court Judge. The Circuit Court pension is a State pension, but the other two should have offset each other.
Nawrocki is all over the district stumping, campaigning, meeting voters - in a sense, doing all the right things a candidate should be doing.
As mentioned previously, the incumbent is a conservative Democrat who commonly sees abour 30% opposition to his candidacy. Nawrocki will automatically receive those votes - then combine the additional energized Republicans and those who voted for Bartenfelder because they liked the conservative incumbent, and this becomes a winnable race. As with the previous races I've profiled - this is an open seat and therefore, anything can happen. Nawrocki's got the right platform, in the right year, in the right district. He can win. He will win and he will be a great voice for the future of the Republican Party in Maryland.
This is the fourth in a series of articles spotlighting races in Baltimore County. All politics are local - let us not forget the important local races. Check out my previous articles on Ken Holt for County Executive, David Marks for County Council District 5, and Richard Reinhardt for Clerk of the Circuit Court.
Cross-posted to Old Line Elephant