Why experience matters in elections, even in down-ballot races by Sheila Dixon
(BALTIMORE – June 19, 2018) – As candidates crisscross the district(s) they are seeking to represent, one thing is becoming more increasingly clear to voters, many of them don’t have a clue as to the politics or the governance of the office in which they seek. And while many voters – and most elected politicians – don’t have a clue as to what some of the down-ballot positions like Register of Wills and Clerk of the Circuit Court actually do, they are finding out rather quickly that neither do most of the candidates asking for their vote.
While down-ballot races are often overlooked for the glitz and glamour of the more well known state positions like governor, state senate or delegate; they are nonetheless equally, if not more, important when talking about issues that directly affect your everyday life. The Clerk of the Court is the person that controls the departments that deal with issues such as family court, land records and issues surrounding the criminal justice system; as well as the antiquated juror summons process, which is why having the right candidate elected for this post is so important to all city residents.
This is an election that is so vitally important for the voters to do their research on the candidates asking for their vote because with the number of candidates running for seats all across the city, it’s easy for a voter to believe the shallow and empty promises spelled out by a candidate in a well-designed mailer or fancy looking piece of literature. But as we have witnessed on a national level, it’s a lot harder to get out of the mess we find ourselves when we put unqualified candidates like that into elected office – as they can destroy the very fabric of that community within that four-year term.
This is why we need a proven leader who understands these issues and the various other problems we face at the courthouse, and why voters need to consider electing Hassan Giordano as the city’s next Clerk. We need to support quality candidates who understand the position they are running for, who are not just offering up sound bites and uneducated promises. I challenge you to ask the candidates vying for your vote to first show you three tangible items they have gotten accomplished in the past five years that directly affect and benefit the communities that they are now promising to serve.
As for Mr. Giordano, I can name a half a dozen that I know of personally because most of them I was personally involved with on the city or state level as the city’s Council President or Mayor. From his desire to have me introduce legislation to create the Baltimore City Youth Commission in 2004, to his lowering the age from 21 to 18 years of age to run for City Council; or his leadership in authoring and successfully lobbying the bill that restored voting rights to former felons upon the completion of their court-ordered sentence in 2007. Hassan has been a leader on criminal justice issues for years, including serving as the Chairman of the NAACP Criminal Justice Committee for the past five years.
That is why I was honored to support the candidate that the courthouse employees support, because we realize that Hassan is the only candidate in the race for Clerk that has ever stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the courthouse employees, fighting for better working conditions and equal pay for all; and the only one who has articulated a vision for how we improve the conditions of the court and the lives of those who work within the court system.
So this June make sure to educate, contemplate and then motivate yourself, and others, to head to the polls and vote for the candidate who has shown without a shadow of a doubt that they have the proven experience and basic understanding of the job that they seek. And then hold them accountable to their promises over the next four years, as elections are only the beginning of a long-term relationship that needs plenty of nurturing, communication and understanding.
The writer is Baltimore City’s first female Mayor, elected in 2007. She is also a former educator, city councilwoman and City Council President