The Lower Shore Progressive Caucus was proud to take the lead on a coalition of local leaders appealing to Rep. Andy Harris to change his position on offshore wind projects. Many thanks to Mayor Jacob Day of Salisbury, Josh Hastings, and Delegate Sheree Sample-Hughes for signing on and supporting these initiatives which will benefit the Lower Shore economically and ecologically.
Read our letter to Rep. Harris below.
Dear Representative Harris:
As you are keenly aware, the Eastern Shore has long struggled to attract new industry and bring about greater economic growth. We want to see an Eastern Shore economy built from rural strengths that is not just strong, but one that is thriving and with an eye towards innovation, opportunity, and global awareness.
It’s no secret that the Eastern Shore’s economy has been affected by industries leaving, policies that restrict our H2-B/J-1 visa workers, a trade war that hurts our agricultural sector, the 2008 financial meltdown, and more. What’s left is a region dealing with higher rates of poverty, less opportunity, and residents that are struggling to get by.
For the greater part of a decade, our region has been working towards an opportunity to bring both jobs and economic growth through off-shore wind.
That is why Trump’s trade war and its heavy use of tariffs must be understood as a direct threat to Eastern Shore. It is well known that tariffs hurt the well being of farmers, workers, and the local and state economy by reducing production, income, and jobs. Unfortunately, the $30 billion bailout program that Trump created to fix a trade war that he started is not an adequate substitute for greater economic certainty, hard work and the ability to freely access markets abroad.
But it’s not just Trump erratic policies. Rep. Andy Harris, the Eastern Shore’s only Congressional Representative in the U.S. Congress, voted against the Farm Bill which is the foundation of America’s ag policy and vital to Eastern Shore farmers.
Maryland Democrats understand and value the role of our state’s agricultural industries. That’s why U.S. Senators Cardin and Van Hollen and every Democratic member of the U.S House delegation voted for the Farm Bill. It’s why our newest Anne Arundel County Executive is a farmer.
It’s also why Democrats in the Maryland General Assembly are working hard to support farmers. From boosting the amount of locally grown food procured by Maryland institutions (HB 305/SB 608) and promoting agritourism (HB 693/SB 99) to boosting the consumption of healthy foods by matching purchases made by Marylanders using federal nutrition assistance programs (HB 84/SB483), these legislators know that Eastern Shore products are essential for the well being of the state and the world.
Maya Rockeymoore Cummings
Chair, Maryland Democratic Party
Wicomico NAACP stands with Pittsville
President, Wicomico NAACP
Over the past couple weeks I’ve been enraged to hear of the water crisis in Pittsville. Not only have residents had to deal with unclean water, a lack of transparency and accountability within town government has made matters worse.
The crisis began in mid-April when Pittsville’s water started to turn yellow. From the beginning, the town was slow to respond to the issue. The town council contacted the Maryland Department of the Environment but then didn’t follow up, leading MDE to falsely believe the issue was corrected. Town officials waited almost a month to begin handing out water to residents. In addition, the delay in circulating information left residents unsettled, which created rumors leading to more confusion and panic.
Since first releasing information, the Council and Town officials have all told different accounts, and the story continues to change. Some officials have blamed old pipes and chemicals that were past their expiration date. The Council blamed the former water manager and former staff. The Council President indicated that it was the fault of the last few water managers. These conflicting stories have once again confused residents and destroyed any remaining credibility with town officials.
After a long few months, the Pittsville Water Crisis appears to be finally coming to a close. However, the Wicomico NAACP wants to assure Pittsville residents that they have our full support in the fight for clean water and transparency in government and that we will continue to push for accountability in local government.
Senator Carozza likes to talk a big game, yet it seems as though her mouth is writing checks she can’t cash. Of the 18 bills Senator Carozza introduced, only 4 bills passed--less than 23%--and we must demand better from our Senator.
The bills she did manage to pass aren’t helping to advance the Shore. SB0338 allows the sale of alcohol closer to children, churches, and public libraries. Maryland Matters points out that one of her top bills–giving the Ocean City Convention Center extra financing to fund expansion and renovation--barely passed on the last day of session. That’s the kind of bill that former state Senator James N. Mathias (D) would have passed with ease. She has failed to address the Shore’s biggest priorities; namely, the opioid crisis and young people fleeing the Shore in search of better prospects. The Senator also brags about her proposed amendment to the minimum wage bill that would ensure Shore workers were paid less than the rest of Maryland, yet exempted herself from lower pay if it had passed. What might be the worst of it all are her attempts to take credit for the successes of Paul Pinsky while pitting our farming community and local environmental advocates against each other for political gain instead of putting forth policies that help small farmers better adapt to greener practices.
Though the Senator likes to say she had a productive session, reality is often disappointing, and the reality is, Senator Carozza failed the Shore in 2019.
If there is one issue Eastern Shore Democrats and Eastern Shore Republicans should strive to come together and address, it is the threat of climate change. The effects of climate change have an impact on every aspect of our Eastern Shore way of life. Stronger storms bring worse hurricane seasons with more damages to our property; more severe weather events like droughts and flooding, which effect our two largest industries (farming and tourism); and rising sea levels and tidal flooding already damage our coastal communities.
Even if it is just this one issue for now, let’s show the people of the Eastern Shore and the entire state that our political system does work and that Democrats and Republicans can come together to find solutions to the issues we face. Let us bring leaders across the Shore, from the local and state level, and experts on this matter to sit down and discuss ways we can get all the information needed to determine what risks our communities face and begin discussing ways that we can start addressing the issue proactively. At the end of the day, we all want the same things: a better future, safety, and prosperity for the Eastern Shore. We just differ on how we get there on some issues.
My hope is that local leaders--whether you are a party member, an elected official, community activist, or whomever--will see this article and have the courage to reach out and have a conversation about starting something up. Only then can we truly begin to put politics aside and start addressing this issue.
It has come to my attention that permits are being drafted for the installation of a 3-million gallon open storage tank for chicken by-products for the company Valley Proteins, Inc. As a resident of the Hebron area, this has raised enormous concerns for us and our neighbors for a number of reasons, and we strongly urge you to reconsider the location of this storage tank.
My husband and I purchased our home almost four years ago at the ages of 25 and 26. We were first-time homebuyers, found an adorable property that we loved, in an area that we were thrilled with, and we couldn’t wait to get settled and begin enjoying our small acreage that would eventually become our home. The installation of this tank will drastically change the way of life that we have created for ourselves, as well as for the entire Hebron/Mardela Springs area.
Someone needs to do something. To borrow from a now-popular meme: Me. I am someone. I’ve always thought myself to be a “good” citizen. What does that even mean? I voted in nearly every local, state, and national election since I was 18 years old, so I’ve always felt as if I’ve done my civic duty. What else is there? As it turns out, there is more!
Letter to the Editor
April 11, 2019
The members of the undersigned organizations condemn the dispersal of white supremacist flyers on the Eastern Shore on March 31. In addition to being found in the Rio Vista neighborhood of St. Michaels, as reported in the Star Democrat, flyers with different text – though equally hateful and containing the same organizational name and contact information – were found on Tilghman Island.
Similar flyers have also been found over the last year in both Eastern Shore counties of Virginia; and in Maryland, in Ann Arundel, Charles, Queen Anne’s, Somerset and Worcester Counties; and the towns of Gaithersburg, Germantown, Eldersburg, Ellicott City, Glen Burnie, La Plata, Lothian, South Baltimore, Sykesville, Upper Marlboro and Waldorf.
Unanswered questions remain. Was this a coordinated action as it seems? Who dispersed this bigoted literature? Are they our neighbors? Have they succeeded in their recruitment campaign?
Lower Shore Progressive Caucus creates coalition of local officials and organizations across the Eastern Shore to urge delegates to vote for CEJA
Dear Lower Shore Delegates,
It has been brought to our attention that the Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Act is heading to a vote in the House of Delegates. That is why the following Eastern Shore organizations that make up large sums of your constituency are writing to you asking that you vote in favor of the bill. This bill address two major issues currently affecting the Eastern Shore: climate change and bringing good paying jobs to our region. There is no debate; science has overwhelmingly shown that climate change is real and poses a serious threat to our way of life. We are already seeing the effects of this crisis now with stronger storms, more days with extreme heat, and our communities are already facing tidal flooding in Dorchester, Somerset, Ocean City, and other places across our region. The time to address this growing issue is now, and this is the bill that will help transform our energy systems away from fossil fuels to cleaner and more affordable forms of energy.
It is also important to note that this is not just an environmental bill. This bill will save Maryland roughly $240 million dollars in Federal tax credits in just one year. It will also triple offshore wind investment and bring other forms of green energy projects to our region creating thousands of good paying jobs both on the Shore and across the state.
Voting against this bill is signaling both the Shore and the rest of the state that our delegation isn't serious about addressing climate change or bring good paying jobs back to our region. We, as voters across the Shore, strongly urge you to vote YES to the Maryland Clean Energy Jobs Act.
Chair, Lower Shore Progressive Caucus
Admin leader, Kent and Queen Anne’s Indivisible
Susan Byer and Toby Perkins
Co-Chairs, Indivisible Worcester
Chair, Indivisible Dorchester
Chair, Talbot Rising
Wicomico Councilman District 4 and Citizen
Mayor of Salisbury
Chair, Wicomico Democratic Club
On February 3, 2019, the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus turned two years old. When we first began, there were some in the community who laughed and said we would be lucky to last two months.
Since our inception, I am proud to say that today there are 6 elected progressives on the Lower Shore, both within the Democratic Party and at the county level. We have also successfully helped get several pieces of legislation passed in the General Assembly and successfully moved some of our legislators to support certain bills like paid sick leave.
In my twenty years of life, it has been my proudest achievement to serve as chair of this great organization. It has helped shaped me as a person, introduced me to many great friends, and brought me closer to the community I have lived in and loved my whole life. I know that political organizing is a long and hard road filled with ups and downs and filled with major victories and crushing defeats. But the future of the Eastern Shore of Maryland rests in our hands, and I am more confident than ever that our future is bright and that we will continue to build a movement that protects our values and way of life and works to create better opportunities for generations of Shore residents long after we are gone.
To all our members and volunteers, I thank you for all your hard work and sacrifices to advance the progressive movement on the Shore. If you are not a member, yet agree with a lot of what we do or want to help better our region, I personally invite you to join us and become involved. Together we can build a better Eastern Shore for all.