I want you to know why I am running.
We often hear people mostly thanking the military for their service and that is appropriate, but many other public employees serve without thanks or appreciation, or particularly good pay. I know. I was one. I spent ten years as a Baltimore City Prosecutor. Maybe you watched “The Wire”, I lived it.
Both of my parents were public employees and so is my wife, and my current job is legislative counsel for the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE). We just experienced the government shutdown, and I simply say, “Enough Already!”
Yes, that’s why I am running. We need to send a message to the Tea Party and those that give them aid and comfort that this is unacceptable at any level of government. Thankfully in most of Maryland, and in Howard County we elect fine people, but not everywhere. I will not stand idly by as tea party types and those who give them aid and comfort stand for election and re-election, and we run that risk in District 9A.
I watched like all Americans as police officers, fire fighters, and other first responders, almost all of whom were in union represented bargaining units ran into the buildings while Hedge fund managers ran out.
I have watched the assault on collective bargaining in state after state-Ohio, Michigan…
After a career of public service they want to come and balance the budget on the backs of first responders and teachers! Again, I say enough. Those who have contributed through years of service shall not be taken from at their time of need. It’s not fair; it’s not what we do as Americans.
Prior to my employment at AFGE, I was Counsel and Legislative Director for the American Federation of Teachers-Maryland (AFT-MD). Although not a teacher by trade, I am a product of Maryland public schools. In my AFT-MD capacity I also lobbied for more money for education and against the privatization of public schools for private profit. I also know the secret most politicians don’t. Having spoken to hundreds upon hundreds of teachers, the most requested issue was not more pay or vacation time, it was access to a working Xerox machine. They are not waiting for superman, they are waiting for the Xerox repairman. And after years of spending their own money and time on countless supplies and special actions to help students, they have earned their pension.
For years I waited for a candidate who would say these things, and on occasion some may come close, but all run in fear if anyone asks who will pay for this. I represent many federal employees who work at hospitals run by the Department of Veterans Affairs. My own grandfather ( a World War II and Korean War Veteran) resides at one of them and I visit often. I see on a regular basis that freedom isn’t free. The very basic and necessary services of government are not free either. These services are all part of the common good. Those who have done well, in many cases very well, can and should be asked to pay a fair share. Not an unreasonable share, but certainly a somewhat higher share than those who can least afford it. Education, fire protection, and police protection are essential services that promote the common good. These employees do their job so that those in the private sector can do theirs. This is not a handout; this is a negotiated and earned benefit. In some cases earned by first responders by placing their lives at risk.
I am proud to have served both as a Prosecutor, and as a union lawyer for public servants. The people, and not corporations, deserve the strongest possible advocate. In most state legislative districts in Maryland, Democrats compete against each other and face only token opposition in the General Election. District 9A is different, I will be facing either Tea Party members or those who will court their vote. Let’s send them a message that their style of politics has no place in Maryland. Tell me I can count on your endorsement and please make a contribution. As you may have guessed, the Koch brothers and their supporters will not be funding my campaign, so I need YOU! I know lots of people make requests, and some will use that money to make more requests. For me, I only have this year. I am not building an institution, this is a campaign and we need to send a message! With your support I will be a successful messenger.
I look forward to seeing your support. Even if you cannot afford a contribution, let me know if I can count on your endorsement. You can “Like” the campaign on Facebook and invite others to do so as well.
Thank you for taking the time to read this, and know I appreciate anything you can do to help!
James Ward Morrow
wardesq at hotmail.com