The report includes:
- Top Contributors: Who donated the most money to whom?
- Contribution Breakdown: Who had the most funding?
- Geo-location: Where did contributions come from, both in and outside of the county?
The report includes:
Citizens Above Partisanship’s participation in a panel discussion at The Flying Camel on Sunday, February 3 was a clear indication that CAP is making progress for cooperative government in Washington County. The event was moderated by Ryan Miner of A Miner Detail and broadcast through A Miner Detail Podcast. Panelists were CAP board members Kira Hamman, Ken Buckler, and Scott Bryan. There were more than 20 people in attendance and more than 200 viewers of the online podcast, plus many online comments. CAP members had an opportunity to discuss CAP goals and core principles – ethics, education and the economy – and talk about the recent election and the state of local politics. Click here to listen to the conversation.
Kira Hamman, CAP Chair, pointed out that Republicans have a plurality in Washington County, but not a majority; there are a lot of third party and unaffiliated voters. Therefore, the community is poised for change, and the response to CAP has been visceral. CAP is working for a more cooperative democracy in which politicians work across political differences for the common good. Hamman added that CAP is not against partisanship, but above partisanship, meaning that the organization stays out of partisan politics and puts the community above party affiliation. She also criticized hyper-partisanship and the demonization of parties other than one’s own, which she said has no role to play in local government.
Communications Director Ken Buckler mentioned that the last two election cycles saw a lot of fear-mongering. He said that on social media, there was a sentiment that supporting the Governor and the President necessarily meant supporting local Republican candidates and actively opposing Democratic and third-party candidates. CAP is working to counter that idea. Buckler also made the important point that CAP has many new people coming to meetings, and that our focus is on providing information and content that is not only educational but also highly engaging. CAP is on Facebook and Twitter, has a website with articles about local issues and a calendar of relevant local events, and will soon launch an Instagram feed. When citizens engage with the organization via any of those channels, or by coming to meetings, they become more invested in the community and in cooperative government.
Scott Bryan, Chair of the CAP Candidates and Issues Committee, emphasized that CAP is not telling people what to believe but is raising issues to talk at the local level and educating people about things that matter locally. He added that what draws him to CAP is his belief that if you want to make a difference in politics at the local level, you can do it with a group like CAP. “There is more that unites us than divides us,” he said, to an enthusiastic response from the audience.
The event illustrated that CAP’s message resonates with the community and is spreading among its citizens. We are grateful to Miner for inviting us onto his show, and to The Flying Camel for hosting us. Democracy takes work, and everyone at Sunday’s event was putting in that work.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Citizens Above Partisanship to participate in live podcast on Feb. 3
HAGERSTOWN, MD – Citizens Above Partisanship, a non-partisan group of Washington County Maryland residents advocating for candidates and issues that serve the common good, will participate in a live podcast panel discussion on February 3 at The Flying Camel in downtown Hagerstown, moderated by A Miner Detail Podcast host Ryan Miner.
Panelists will discuss how extreme partisanship is eroding local politics and will provide solutions to transcend the partisan divide affecting Washington County. Panelists include CAP Executive Committee members Kira Hamman, Scott Bryan, and Ken Buckler.
Launched in January 2015 by Washington County native Ryan Miner, A Miner Detail Podcast is the fusion between Maryland news and politics. It’s all about Maryland! Miner and his guests engage in a weekly no-holds-barred conversation about issues driving the conversation, featuring Maryland newsmakers and news breakers, journalists, politicos, policy wonks, prognosticators, political activists, organizers, community leaders, and more!
By Scott Bryan
Leadership that represents all the citizens of Washington County. When I ran for County Commissioner this year, that leadership was something I believed was needed; something that was missing among our current elected officials. It seemed to me, as a novice on the political scene, that we had a Commission that was made up not only of a single demographic, but, just as importantly, of a single mindset.
As I sat down next to Donna Brightman and Bernie Semler on December 2 to talk with Ryan Miner about the election, I wondered how representative leadership for the county would be a part of the discussion. I had become good friends with both Donna and Bernie during our campaigns. Donna had run in the Commissioner race and Bernie for State’s Attorney. I know both of them to be honest, decent, dedicated individuals who care more about the future of Washington County than about their own personal interests and agendas. Indeed, both had made tremendous sacrifices to offer their services to the citizens of the county.
I knew that I could trust both Donna and Bernie, but I was concerned that their recent defeats – after both running outstanding and inspired campaigns – would still be fresh wounds. These were wounds that I had also felt, but mine have had considerably more time to heal since I lost in the primary four months ago. I knew the purpose of the panel was to discuss what had happened in the election, our issues and concerns, and the path forward for the county in the near future – essentially, how to get that representative leadership that I believed was missing. But would the pain and disappointment of losing that we all felt, and that I thought I had moved past, return during the panel?
I was also thinking about the fact that Ryan, as moderator, had told us that he was going to ask “edgy” questions. I know Ryan to be an honest journalist who seeks the truth and does a great job of bringing issues into the light of day. But as the only Republican on the panel, and likely with a liberal-leaning audience, would I be able to get my points across effectively and professionally? And, by the way, would anyone care what I had to say?
As it turned out, my concerns were unfounded. Donna and Bernie and I talked openly and candidly about what we perceive to be the challenges facing our community. We discussed the effect of national politics on local politics, particularly how polarization at the national level has impacted local elections. And we agreed that although it’s difficult to have an impact nationally, we can absolutely make a difference locally. The three of us showed people that night what non-partisanship looks like and that regardless of party affiliation, personal beliefs, or positions on issues people can have meaningful discussions about important issues facing us as a community. That we can disagree, yet listen to each other and consider other points of view. Maybe we can even learn something from each other.
If there was a significant takeaway from the discussion, it was that more unites us than divides us. Anyone can indeed have an honest discussion with people who have differing points of view. Community members can ask questions of former candidates at opposite ends of the political spectrum, and the resulting dialogue may result in a widening of knowledge for everyone involved. Local politics need not be devoid of respect, dignity, and class. Perhaps most importantly, there are people who want leadership representative of all the citizens of Washington County, and there are people willing to provide that leadership. Engagement, not disengagement, is what will move us forward.
By Donna Brightman
The following originally appeared as a letter to the editor in the Herald-Mail on November 21.
To the editor:
The last several months have been an incredible journey.
While the results of the election did not lend victory to our team, our message resonated all over Washington County — from Hancock to Cascade, from Boonsboro to Smithsburg, from Williamsport to Sharpsburg, from Hagerstown to Sharpsburg and Keedysville in between. The people heard us loud and clear.
We still have a voice and we will use it:
To my family and friends: Thank you from the bottom of my heart. I feel the love! To every supporter, volunteer, contributor, and well-wisher: Thank you, sincerely, for inspiring me, for believing in me and for entrusting me to be your voice.
Stay involved. Do not be discouraged. Show up, attend meetings, demand answers from your elected officials and hold them accountable; they answer to you.
Congratulations to the victors in this commissioner race: We trust you will serve with integrity, honor and humility.
Donna L. Brightman
Former candidate for Washington County commissioner
Garretts Mill Road in South County
By John Krowka
The following originally appeared as a letter to the editor in the Herald-Mail on November 16.
To the editor:
I wish to thank everyone who supported my campaign for Washington County Public Schools’ Board of Education and also thank the nearly 15,000 residents* who voted for me. Many thanks to Simala Wright, my treasurer, adviser and friend. Having an ex-Army sergeant guiding our efforts greatly helped keep us on track. Although we did not win, together we made a difference. We stimulated discussion and awareness. My campaign platform resonated well with residents: smart school spending, preparing students for jobs, community engagement and embracing diversity. I hope that the board members will take heed of my recommendations and I wish them success.
It appears that many voters chose a straight party ticket. Given the history of elections here and the hyper-partisan politics nationally, that’s not surprising. Perhaps in the future, voters can base their decisions more on merit and policies rather than party. About 47 percent of registered voters in Washington County did not vote. We must do better.
I heard frequently that voters felt that the Board of Education lacks vision. Long-term planning is much more effective than just crisis management. Instead of only asking “What do we need to do today?” we need to also ask, “Where do we want to be in five-10-plus years and how can we get there?” Graduation rates and test scores don’t tell us how well WCPS prepares students for achievement and ability to contribute to our community. Schools, community groups, teachers, parents and others are being asked to provide more resources and services for school children. Schools are the engine of workforce development to increase our tax base by attracting new industry and increasing workers’ earning potential. County commissioners and state representatives need to be better advocates for education. We must start working together more effectively for the children. They are the future of Washington County.
*As of the final vote tally, Krowka had received 16,058 votes.
By Greg Murray, Treasurer to the Donna Brightman campaign
What can we say about the election? Well, we knew from the beginning that it would be difficult to get a female Democrat elected to the Board of County Commissioners in Washington County. Even so, the goal was to get the message of change out to the public and help shed light on all the issues that any candidate would need to address. That happened. Washington County is the better for it.
Looking at the vote tallies it’s obvious that the party line carried the day, but what did that say? First, the five Republicans were followed by two female Democrats – Donna Brightman and Elizabeth Paul. Their voices were heard. Second, two new Board members were seated – Cort Meinelschmidt and Randy Wagner. And third, the voters overwhelmingly chose a new president for the Board, with the potential that the vice president will be one of the new members rather than an incumbent (pending final tallies, and of course the new Board must actually elect the new officers). Change carried the day. The voters wanted a different direction on the Board and they got it. Again, this is good for Washington County.
After 40 years as a Republican (I hear many of you groan), I saw in Donna Brightman someone who really understood the need to get the county back on track, and she helped make that happen. The outcome may not have been everything we wanted, but it also was not unexpected. We wanted to make change, and change was made.
Now it is up to the new leadership to carry that change forward for the betterment of Washington County. We support them in that. Hopefully we can put the nonsense aside and truly get back to business.
In keeping with our mission to promote cooperative politics for the benefit of all Washington County residents, Citizens Above Partisanship endorses the following candidates for local offices in the 2018 General Election:
John believes in smart school spending and the need for community engagement in public education. He is a strong advocate for career and technical education, particularly in agriculture. John has a PhD himself but recognizes that career readiness doesn’t always involve a college degree. “In education, one size does not fit all,” John says, and we agree.
Donna has been involved in local government for over a decade, and she knows what it takes to get things done in Washington County. As a member of the Board of Education, Donna advocated for education to benefit all children in Washington County. She has served as President of both the WCBOE and the Maryland Association of Boards of Education, and can work across differences to move the county forward. Donna’s bipartisan campaign is an outstanding example of what Citizens Above Partisanship stands for.
A small business owner in the county himself, Cort believes in smart economic development that brings career opportunities, and not just jobs, to Washington County. He is committed to combating the opioid crisis in our county on multiple fronts, beginning with quality education for our children and including cooperation with law enforcement, community organizations, and healthcare professionals. Cort’s nuanced approach to complex issues is one of the reasons we support him.
Elizabeth has a long history of bipartisan cooperation, having worked for both Republican and Democratic elected officials at the state and national levels. With roots in rural southern Washington County, she is an steady advocate for the agricultural community as well as our emergency services personnel. Above all, she believes in transparency and ethical leadership, both of which are sorely needed in Washington County government.
Leadership, vision, direction, trust, and cooperation – all things these candidates value and will bring to the table. Let’s bring government for the common good back to Washington County!
Featuring the candidates CAP is endorsing for
County Commissioner and Board of Education: