Political newcomers face off in Dem. primary for 38C seat
WORCESTER COUNTY– Two rookie democrat politicians are vying for the newly created House of Delegates Legislative District 38C seat.
Mike Hindi, a 25-year-old former lifeguard will face 58-year-old educator Judy Davis during the seat’s democratic primary on June 24.
“I’ve lived here my entire life pretty much,” said Hindi. “This is my background; I was raised here and educated here.”
The Stephen Decatur High School grad was the first to declare his candidacy for the new seat.
“I care about the community and I want to see what’s best for the community and for the state of Maryland,” he said. “There was an open seat; if you care enough to be politically active the next step is to try and change things yourself.”
Hindi said his experience in the mining industry in South America three years ago helped prepare him for office.
“I decided to uproot and transplant myself for a year,” he said. “Working in the coastal tourism industry you meet a lot of Spanish-speaking people, and I got some familiarity with the language. I went down there and I worked with people and I worked with governments and corporations.
“When you know how to take different parties with very different interests all in the same area about the same thing – and you can show them the way that’s best to work together and come to a mutual agreement instead of tearing each other apart – that’s always satisfying and I think it’s useful in governance,” Hindi continued.
Tourism, job growth, green energy and tougher penalties for drug users are central issues to Hindi’s campaign.
“I want to see increased programs as far as recycling goes,” he said. “Ocean City discontinued their recycling program, which is a real shame. We see millions of people come through annually and that could be a lot of refuse that doesn’t go back into our bays, back into our ocean, back into landfills. It could be recycled and it could make a serious impact. It could also means jobs, and jobs are always great for the domestic economy, especially one like the Eastern Shore where you don’t have a lot of energy, manufacturing and technological jobs. We can build on the things that we know we do well – tourism and agriculture, especially – but we need to diversity that portfolio.”
Hindi sees maintaining infrastructure and protecting coastal bays as key to nurturing the area’s strong tourism industry.
“People come here to see them,” he said. “If we don’t have them anymore they won’t come.”
A personal experience led Hindi to seek reforms on drug offenders.
“My younger sister died on Good Friday, April 5, 2012,” he said. “It was a very sudden and unexpected death. The problem really is pervasive more than ever. Our recent drug busts on the Shore have shown that it’s infiltrating both our affluent and lower-income communities. Unless we do something – unless we change – it’s here to stay. I believe that our Worcester County police officers are doing a great job at making arrests, but we need to see what we can do further as legislators and as communities.
“When it comes to narcotics I’d like to see an expansion in how we view it as a crime and how we treat it as a crime, as well as having increased penalties – having the infrastructure for properly incarcerating multi-traffic offenders,” Hindi continued. “I’d like to see better programs outside of prisons for people who voluntarily seek rehabilitation and help. I want to see better counseling, and I want to see those programs inside and outside of prison to break the cycle of addict, dealer, convict.”
Hindi said he’s running as the “approachable, attainable” candidate.
“I won’t skirt the issues,” he said. “When people want to talk to me I’ll talk to them. I’m not afraid to be frank and honest with people. I’ll tell you about policies I really do support and that really can be changed on a state or county level. We should all call our congressmen and make sure these problems get better and get uniquely better as much as we can in Maryland.”
Judy Davis got her first taste of politics at the Emerge Maryland conference last year, a program that trains democratic women to, in her words, “not just be political activists but political candidates.”
“It was pretty rigorous in terms of being accepted into the program, but I was accepted,” she said. “I was one of the few women on the Eastern Shore.
“It was 70 hours of training, including how to interpret the demographics, how to form your cabinet, what a political campaign looks like, as well as social media and public relations,” Davis continued.
Davis had previously been social media coordinator for the Democratic Women’s Club of Worcester County, as well as for the Democratic Club of Ocean City and Berlin.
“Because of the opportunity of the new seat it just seemed like a good match for me since I’m just teaching part time now and I had this training and I live here,” she said. “I’m familiar with working with a wide variety of people, because in addition to being a teacher I was a special educator and I also taught at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in the graduate department. I’m used to working with a wide variety of folks on a problem; teachers wear many hats.”
Davis said she is also running on her life experience.
“I think it certainly would be beneficial to our community to continue to have a seasoned person,” she said. “We have previously had representation from Senator Mathias, and also Norm Conway represented this district. They are both people who have life experiences, so I do think that the candidate should be aware how diverse our district is from agriculture to small business to tourism to the working poor, and has a network built in terms of being able to access programs for services for our folks. I think experience is pretty crucial.”
Education, job creation, protecting natural resources and protecting infrastructure are key issues in Davis’s campaign.
“We need to try to restore some more of the highway user fees because the municipalities and the counties are really strapped in terms of trying to even fill in the potholes,” she said. “I know we did get a lot of state funds to continue the expansion of 113, but I know when I’ve talked to the towns of Willards and the towns of Pittsville – the smaller towns – they’re really struggling because they don’t have the resources to keep up with the demands.
“We also need to make sure that we are accessing revenue sources that will be beneficial to the state of Maryland as a whole – and in our district,” Davis continued. “I support the Millionaire’s Tax as a revenue generator, and they’re talking about something called ‘combined reporting’ for companies that operate in multiple states to make sure that – if they’re earned profit in the state of Maryland – that they do participate in paying some taxes.”
Davis called for increased access for job trainings in critical areas of need, as well as support of existing programs that allow people to expand and create new businesses.
“I am not a career politician and am running on my life experiences to serve our community,” she said. “I have a heart for this community, I fell in love with the people and the environment when I moved here in ’73 to attend Salisbury State, and I have lived in our area for 40 years, raising my family, teaching our kids and volunteering. I have a heart for service and I would like to extend my volunteering capacities working for the state to benefit our community.”
Businesswoman Mary Beth Carozza is running unopposed on the republican ticket. The general election will be held on Nov. 4.