Why Progressives must focus on local elections in 2019

Whether you have been on social media or watching any form of news, you have probably seen that a majority of the conversation is about the 2020 election.  While it is important to find a good candidate to take on President Donald Trump and reverse several of his destructive policies, there are important events happening in small towns and cities across the Lower Shore in 2019 that are being overlooked. The 2019 Municipal elections are where we will be electing many of our town council representatives and mayors, depending on the area you live in. From cities like Salisbury to small towns like Brookview in Dorchester County, these elections are the simplest way to have a major impact in order to build the best possible future for our region.  


One major reason you should be involved is it’s necessary to keep you informed about what is going on right outside your door. It doesn’t matter if you live in a city like Salisbury or a small town like Pittsville, there are many things going on in your community that you might not think about on a regular basis. By becoming involved in local politics in your town, you not only get a chance to meet your neighbors, but you acquire an understanding of the issues facing your area.  Knowing the needs of your community helps you to become an active member in finding solutions to those issues, therefore improving both the community and your personal life. The old saying is true that if you want to change the world you should start locally!


Another major reason you should be involved is it gives the Progressive Movement on the Shore a unique opportunity to build a bench for future races. In 2018, we were able to get some progressives elected into office. However, we still have a long way to go in order to build a government on the Shore that works for the many.  One of the biggest problems we faced in 2018 was our candidates didn’t have name recognition and that played a role in some of the close defeats we had. By having progressives start at the local level, candidates gain the experience and the name recognition needed to run for higher offices on the county or state-level in the future.  This will not only help our movement in the future but also improves our local governments now, providing an opportunity to have a greater impact in our communities sooner rather than later.

Finally, local governments have the biggest direct effect on our lives. In our political system local governments are in charge of many services like parks and recreation services, police and fire departments, housing services, emergency medical services, municipal courts, transportation services (including public transportation), and public works (streets, sewers, snow removal, signage, and more). For years people really haven’t paid attention to their local governments across the Shore and it has had a pretty serious effect on events in our community.  A perfect example is when Pittsville Town Commission President Denver Moore hired his daughter Carla Moore as town bookkeeper.   She went on to embezzle more than $170,000 from the town and was sentenced to jail time for her actions.  This isn’t the only time local governments on the Shore have done shady things behind the backs of the public.  If you have been paying attention to local news you have probably heard about the tragic death of Anton Black. Despite knowing of Thomas Webster IV past use of excessive force and protests from the president of the Central Delaware NAACP chapter warning the town of his history of violence, the town council still decided to hire Webster and put him in a position of power in the community.  This decision is a clear failure on the part of elected officials of the Greensboro town council and a tragic reminder of the need to make sure we elect local leaders who listen to the public and don’t put people with questionable pasts in positions of power within our community.


Even though most towns haven’t had a major negative news story like Pittsville or Greensboro, there are still other major issues with our local Governments across the Lower Shore. Other than the great work being done Mayor Jake Day in Salisbury, many towns on the Lower Shore struggle to find enough people to fully run their town governments.  This forces towns to fill their seats with folks who don’t know what they are doing. This lack of experience means that even when full, a majority of the major issues facing our local communities are often not addressed. This is one of the biggest reasons why Progressives should focus on local races in 2019. Not only can we get progressive leaders elected, but we can look to address the corruption and ineffectiveness that plagues our smaller communities. Paying attention to local elections and looking at elected leaders who will actually put forth ideas backed up by hard work to improve our towns and cities will help all citizens build a brighter future for our region--brick by brick.  

Andy Harris needs to represent all of District 1: why his vote on the Farm Bill was wrong

Dear Governor Hogan,

Since your re-election, one of the major issues that you have sought to address is Gerrymandering in the State of Maryland, even going as far as to create a commission to redraw the 6th congressional district.  In order to fully and fairly commit to non-partisan redistricting, it is crucial you speak out and get serious about ending Gerrymandering in District one. A majority of the district is the Eastern Shore, yet year after year our representative in Congress doesn’t live anywhere near the Shore or understand our way of life.  That severely limits the Eastern Shore’s power and ability to represent itself in order to better meet the needs at the Federal level.  This is illustrated as our current Representative Andy Harris from Cockeysville in Baltimore County voted against the Farm Bill despite the Shore’s economy being overwhelmingly based on farming. This isn’t the only time Representative Harris has voted against the interests of the Shore in Congress.  His commitment to anti-immigration policies and inability to compromise left crab houses across the Shore without visa workers during the busy season. Despite having a record of voting against the needs of the majority of his district, Dr. Harris has felt no impact from these decisions because he lives nowhere near the significantly impacted areas and has little skin in the game when it comes to making sure the Eastern Shore gets what it needs to thrive.  That leads into the second major issue with how District One is currently drawn. The City of Cockeysville is over three and a half hours away from areas like Crisfield and has completely different ways of life and needs within the community than the Shore. Having a representative from Cockeysville doesn’t accurately portray the needs and views of the majority of the district and creates a district in which Dr. Harris cannot be held accountable for decisions that hurt our region due to how unfairly the map is drawn.     


One of the biggest campaign promises you made in 2014 and again in 2018 is “Giving an open ear and a seat at the table” to the Eastern Shore.  In order to fully do that, you must do the right thing in the situation--not the easy thing--and fairly redraw the Maryland’s Congressional District One so the Shore can have a representative that will vote for our interests and has vested interests when it comes to the success or failure of the Shore.  I am fully aware of the political blowback you may receive from your party for drawing a district that cuts out the only incumbent Republican Congressperson in the state, but it is important to remember by fairly redrawing District One, the odds are that another Republican will be elected to that seat.  However, this Republican will actually represent and have a stake in our region giving us the representation we need. All eyes are watching you, Governor Hogan; please do the right thing and give the Shore the voice it desperately needs.



Jared Schablein

Pittsville (Wicomico County)

Lower Shore Progressive Caucus 2019 Legislative Agenda

Legislative Agenda 2019


Priority Legislation Issues

  1. Medicare for All/Single Payer Health Care
  2. A Minimum Wage increase to $15 an HR  
  3. Debt Free Higher Education for 4-year institutions.
  4. Trust Act
  5. Community Healthy Air Act

Other Supported Legislation

  1. Economic Issues
  • Worker Rights
  1. Collective bargaining for community college workers
  2. Statewide collective bargaining for local government workers
  3. Overtime for low-income salaried employees
  • College Debt forgiveness
  • Oppose the construction of the new Redskins stadium at Oxon Cove Park.
  • Create a Prescription Drug Affordability Board.


  1. Racial Issues
    • Criminal Justice Reform
      1. Ending the Bail system in Maryland
      2. Elimination of mandatory minimum sentencing
      3. Revamp of State k-12 school funding formula, including new school reforms
      4. Juvenile Justice Reform  
      5. Legalization of Marijuana
    • Ban the use of Nooses and Swastika to threaten or intimidate (HB-04)  
    • “U-Visa” bill that would provide a pathway to citizenship for victims of crime who cooperate with local law enforcement.
    • Removing Winder Sign from Wicomico County House (local issue Wicomico County)


  1. Environmental
    • Support the construction of the Wind Projects off the coast of Ocean City
    • Oppose the Eastern Shore Natural Gas Pipeline plan.
    • Increase Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) of 50% by 2030
    • Green Amendment that will set forth the inalienable right to a clean environment
    • Community Solar Legislation to expand the process of having citizens invest in solar farms
    • Ban single-use plastics


  1. Democracy Initiatives
    • Support Rank Choice Voting initiatives on the Lower Shore
    • Small donor public financed election on the Lower Shore
    • Constitutional Amendment Repealing Citizens United
    • Non-Partisan district reform


  1. Other
    • Ban untraceable 3D guns

Senator Carozza is wrong on FF15

In an interview this week with 47 ABC, Senator Mary Beth Carozza said raising the minimum wage would be harmful for job creation on the Shore. After carefully listening to her interview and viewing her and her colleague's arguments on social media, here are the flaws with her argument against the Fight For 15:

Myth 1: Raising the minimum wage will just result in all minimum wage jobs becoming automated.

Automation is going to happen whether the minimum wage is 15 or there is no minimum wage. The labor market is constantly changing due to improvements in technology, which is a good thing. While it is true some jobs are going to be replaced by automation, eventually, new jobs will spring up from the advancement in technology. For example, fixing the machines or programming.

Myth 2: Raising the wage will just result in higher prices.

A $15/hour minimum is unlikely to result in higher prices because most businesses directly affected by it are in intense competition for consumers and will take the raise out of profits rather than raise their prices. When prices go up people substitute cheaper versions of the product to save money. For example, if Pepsi goes up in price and Coke doesn’t, many people will switch to drinking Coke to save money.

Myth 3: Raising the wage would result in massive job loss.

They say this every time there is a proposed wage increase or workers right bill. The truth is A $15/hour minimum won’t result in major job losses because it would put money in the pockets of millions of low-wage workers who will spend it, thereby giving working families and the overall economy a boost and creating jobs. But because the higher minimum will also attract more workers into the job market, employers will have more choice of who to hire, and thereby have more reliable employees which results in lower turnover costs and higher productivity.

In 1996 when the minimum wage was raised, business predicted millions of job losses. The result was we had more job gains over the next four years than in any comparable period in American history.

The truth of the matter is that a $15 / hour minimum wage will boost Maryland’s economy by $2.6 billion annually and help business owners have more customers and lower turnover in employees, both key ingredients in helping businesses thrive.

Top 5 reasons we should support rank choice voting

January 9th marked the beginning of another legislative session here in Maryland and while a lot of focus is on healthcare, the economy, and the environment, there are bills currently being proposed in both Montgomery County and Baltimore City which would allow county governments the opportunity to implement rank choice voting.  Rank choice voting (aka an Instant Runoff Elections) is an electoral system in which voters rank candidates by preference on their ballots. If a candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, he or she is declared the winner. If no candidate wins a majority of first-preference votes, the candidate with the fewest first preference votes is eliminated. First-preference votes cast for the failed candidate are eliminated, lifting the second-preference choices indicated on those ballots. A new tally is conducted to determine whether any candidate has won a majority of the adjusted votes. The process is repeated until a candidate wins an outright majority.

There are five reasons we should push our Delegation to put in a similar bill to allow the counties of the Lower Eastern Shore to do the same:

  1. Restores Majority Rule. Ranked choice voting ensures that candidates with the most votes and broadest support win, so voters get what they want. A candidate who is opposed by a majority of voters can never win a ranked-choice voting election.

  2. Eliminates Vote Splitting. Ranked choice voting gives you the freedom to vote for the candidate you like the best without worrying that you will help to elect the candidate you like the least. You never have to vote for the "lesser of two evils" when there is another candidate you really like.

  3. More Voice for Voters. Your voice matters more with a ranked ballot. You never feel like your vote is “wasted.” If your favorite candidate can't win, your vote counts for the candidate you ranked second.

  4. More Choice for Voters. Ranked choice voting levels the playing field for all candidates and encourages candidates to take their case directly to you with a focus on the issues.

  5. Reduces Incentives for Negative Campaigning. Candidates are encouraged to seek second choice rankings from voters whose favorite candidate is somebody else. You are less likely to rank a candidate who has issued personal attacks against your favorite candidate as your second choice.

If you liked this article and want to know how you can help bring rank choice voting to the Lower Shore, you can click the google document below and send that letter to your county council member requesting our state delegation take action.  You can also contact your delegate and ask them to take initiative on the issue as well.



Look up your state officials here:

http://www.mgaleg.maryland.gov/webmga/frmmain.aspx?pid=legisrpage&tab=subject6&poptype=find&popid=ted officials

Look up Wicomico County Council Members:


Look up Worcester County Commissioners:


Look up Somerset County Commissioners:


Look up Dorchester County Council Members:


5 Reasons we shouldn't get involved in the 2020 presidential elections right now


1. I know we all want to get rid of Donald Trump. I do as well. But the first debate isn’t till June or July of next year, and the primary in Maryland isn’t until April 28, 2020. There are several big events coming up before that we need to focus on.

2. 2020 is being used as a way to divide people and we have already seen it. 2019 is a time where we need to be united and focused on the Legislative session that starts in 14 days and the local elections that will be taking place across the Shore and state through 2019. (These are important races happening right in your town/city and are often overlooked.)

3. Our Delegation on the Lower Shore is banking on you arguing on 2020 and not focusing on what they are doing/ what is going on in Annapolis. Honestly, our delegation has been able to vote poorly for a very long time because the community isn’t keeping up with what they are doing. Also, a majority of our delegation won’t support a lot of things we want to do unless we are organizing the community to pressure them to do it.

4. Let’s be honest, we aren’t ready for 2020 here on the Lower Shore right now. 2018 was a start where we were able to gain some local seats. But, every statewide race beside Sample-Hughes’ District was a loss. We need to use 2019 to build not argue or we could very much see the same thing happen in 2020 and 2022.

5. A lot of people just want to see Donald Trump lose in 2020 right now. Ripping the other primary field apart right now will turn more people off towards your preferred candidate than get them to jump on board.

There is plenty of time during the primary to convince people to join your side, and you can't do that if you have already pushed them away in early 2019.

Jared Schablein

Chair of the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus

University of Maryland must cut ties with ICE

When I finished my time at a small community college on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, there was only one school to which I applied. That school was the University Of Maryland because it was one of the premier institutions of higher education in the country. However, that wasn’t the only reason I chose Maryland. The second reason I wanted to attend Maryland was because it embraced forward thinking and inclusive practices. I was disgusted and appalled to find out I may have been wrong when I discovered our University had contracts with US Immigration and Customs Enforcement, better know as ICE.


ICE was created in 2003 during the height of the post-9/11 panic which lead the federal government to pass reactionary laws, which undermined the constitutional rights and increased domestic surveillance of mainly minority communities. ICE itself was one of these reactionary new policies as it was created and based on the idea that immigrants were a threat to our homeland security.  This assertion was proven false by several studies and reports from agencies and research centers across the nation and globe. However, since their creation, ICE has a track record of undermining constitutional rights and violating the human rights and dignity of both undocumented immigrants and United States citizens. Extremist politicians and ICE try to label undocumented immigrants as violent criminals in order to create fear, but the majority of undocumented immigrants are products of our broken immigration system. In fact, they are valuable and important contributors to their communities and the American way of life.  An overwhelming majority of these undocumented immigrants have families, jobs, seek or have received education, pay taxes, and contribute to American society everyday.


The University of Maryland College Park should immediately end its contracts with ICE and embrace the Fearless Idea of fighting for a better immigration system that allows undocumented individuals to come out of the shadows and become full citizens of our great country.   


Jared Schablein is is a sophomore government and politics major. He can be reached at lowershoreprogressivecaucus@gmail.com 

An Open Letter to the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus

It has been one of the biggest honors of my life to be one of the founders of the Caucus and to serve currently as chair of the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus.  Over the last two years we have accomplished so many great feats, including helping to pass 7 pieces of progressive legislation in the Maryland General Assembly, organizing hundreds of people on the Lower Shore around progressives issues, and electing 7 progressives to public office in our first election alone! I want to take the time to say thank you to each and every one of our fantastic volunteers because without your help none of this would be possible. 


Secondly, I would like to thank my fellow members of the Caucus Leadership Whitney Palmer, Michele Gregory, Seamus Benn, Ryan Poe, and Jamaad Gould. Over the past two years a lot has been asked from them on top of their outside lives.  There have been long nights and ups and downs in our journey, but through it all they have been my rock and always gotten the job done.  There is no doubt in my mind that we have the best volunteers in the entire state.  I know some of us are upset that we didn’t win as many races as we thought we would on November 6, but we have made significant progress for an organization that just two years ago was laughed at and told that we could never win any seats.   With this in mind, I look forward to continuing our work building a progressive movement on the Lower Eastern Shore for years to come, and I am thankful for your continued dedication and support for me as Chair.  With our hard work and continued efforts, we can build a progressive movement on the Lower Shore.  

In Solidarity,

Jared Schablein -- Chair Of The Lower Shore Progressive Caucus

Moving Forward: Why Maryland’s Lower Eastern Shore (Desperately) Needs Ben Jealous

Moving Forward:  Why Maryland’s Lower Eastern Shore (Desperately) Needs Ben Jealous

There are more than a few misconceptions about Ben Jealous, especially since he won the Democratic Gubernatorial Nomination this past June.  Beyond the ridiculous assertion that he is akin to a (left-wing) extremist, is that he doesn’t care equally about the entire state. Rather, the clear implication by his detractors is that he, like Democrats before him, only cares about the corridor between the DC suburbs and the Baltimore region.  In the interest of full disclosure, I live within that major population corridor (Montgomery County, specifically). However, just as I (and many of my friends and neighbors) recognize the importance of addressing the many challenges in every part of Maryland, so does Ben Jealous.


Yet, don’t just take my word for it.  Consider what he is actually saying about his vision for Maryland, specifically within the context of the challenges facing the Lower Shore:


Read more

An Open Letter to Rep. Andy Harris

The letter below was read at the healthcare rally outside of the Salisbury office of Representative Andy Harris. Michele Gregory is the Communication and Media Committee Chair for Lower Shore Progressive Caucus. 
Dear Mr. Harris,

I’m a constituent of yours. My name is Michele Gregory. I’ve lived in Wicomico County for most of my adult life and I would like to tell you the story of my stepson. 

His father, Christopher, and I married just before his 3rd birthday. Nicholas, my stepson, had been born with global developmental delays, including apraxia and gross and fine motor delays. He didn’t walk until he was two and a half. He lived with his birth mother at the time and it was a bad situation for him. We filed for custody when he was 7, and after a series of traumatic events during the custody battle, child protective services intervened and placed him with us on his 9th birthday. We officially became his full time custodial residence on Halloween of 2003.  For the sake of brevity, I am leaving out a lot of horrible details. 

Nicholas has been a recipient of Medicaid and Social Security for most of his life. He is now about to turn 23 and life has never gotten easier for him. At 18 he began having symptoms of another neurological problem and after six months without finding answers, he had a tonic-clonic (or grand mal) seizure that left him hospitalized for several days and incapacitated for many months. Dozens of daily seizures became our way of life. His favorite activity, eating, became a gauntlet, triggering the worst of them. We tried multiple medications and even surgery, only to bring them down to a dozen or so a day. In the past year, he’s been hospitalized 3 times for aspiration pneumonia, landing us in ICU or just a step below that each time. The doctors have made clear that without getting his seizures under control, there is a very real and present possibility that the next time might be the one that takes him from us. 

Each of these hospital stays, not counting his outpatient surgeries, has run in the neighborhood of $50,000. His monthly medications without insurance would be approximately $3900 a month according to my pharmacy. My husband and I work very hard, my husband for a cable provider, and I am a small business owner here in Salisbury. Together we still would not be able to afford his medications. The next time he is hospitalized, and he absolutely would be within days of stopping his medications, we would have to choose between losing everything we have and letting our son die. Repealing the ACA and gutting Medicaid would be a death sentence to him. And to us.

My husband had a stroke during surgery at the age of 32. He takes multiple medications daily to keep him alive and well. I have severe arthritis from genetics and sport injuries that without medication is completely debilitating and would mean I could no longer work or run my business. My daughter has a life threatening food allergy that requires an epipen. By repealing the ACA, you would bring back the pre-existing conditions clause that would mean none of us would be covered. 

As a mother and a wife, I am begging you to not kill my family. Because what you are trying to do will in no uncertain terms do exactly that. You will kill my husband and the  children I have raised and loved more than life itself.  I am a walking testament to the ACA. Please don’t end that and kill my children.
Michele Gregory
Salisbury, MD