By Brian Gilliland, Associate Editor
(July 6, 2018) Less than four years into his first term as an Ocean City councilman, Wayne Hartman was chosen by local Republicans to represent the northeastern parts Worcester and Wicomico Counties that comprise District 38 when the Maryland General assembly convenes on Jan. 9, 2019.
“Right now, it’s back to business with the town. My first and biggest priority is my commitment to Ocean City,” he said. “I’m going to be working to get Mary Beth Carozza to State Senate and to get Gov. Hogan reelected too.”
Carozza faces incumbent Sen. Jim Mathias in the November election.
“I’ll be listening to the concerns of Worcester and Wicomico residents, and quite a few people have already started reaching out, so it’s a bit premature to list my top priorities,” Hartman said. “I will, however, be trying to keep seniors here.”
Senior citizens are a large and growing facet of the county population, but Hartman said tax incentives offered by other areas to older people are beginning to affect those numbers.
“Lots of states have very favorable tax statuses — I’m not sure of the exact number but they get the first [portion] of their pensions tax free,” he said.
The change in jobs isn’t necessarily a change in perspective.
“I’m still the same guy. I’m still fiscally conservative, and I like smaller government with less regulations,” he said. “The key to success in Maryland is small business — the day of the big smokestack has left the state.”
Hartman said another strategy will be to look at the taxes small business owners are forced to pay, and to provide relief to the owners.
Heading into the Maryland legislature, Hartman, as a Republican, would be part of the minority, but he said Democrat v. Republican wasn’t the main issue.
“It’s not a matter of sides. When someone is right, you agree with him or her, and when they aren’t you fight for the cause,” he said.
One cause he’s chosen is to fight against is the federally approved offshore wind farms off Ocean City’s coast.
“It’s a huge concern that they will cause a negative impact on the resort, which will cause a negative impact on Ocean City and the rest of Worcester County,” he said.
In the meantime, it’s largely going to be about city and campaign work for Hartman.
“For us to be a success, we need Gov. Larry Hogan reelected,” Hartman said. “If we pick up five senate seats, the other side needs to work harder. It’s too early to say, but it’s a pivotal year where a lot can change. Overall — I’m optimistic.”