NEW HARFORD DEMOCRATIC CLUB
MINUTES from June 5, 2019 meeting at the Holiday Inn Express, Aberdeen
Meeting call to order by President Bridgette Johnson at 7:04pm
President Johnson led the Pledge of Allegiance to the Flag
Treasurer George Harrison presented the treasurer's report. Asked for approval, unanimously given.
President Johnson asked for approval of the minutes from the May meeting. Unanimous approval.
President Johnson noted the need for more involvement in the community and asked members to talk to friends and neighbors about becoming more active in our efforts make Harford Democrats more visible to the community.
Johnson noted the importance of an effective Public Relations and Marketing campaign. She pointed out that Democrats who used social media found that many Republicans followed them during the campaign and asked about them. "We are making a small impact," and we need to step it up, she said.
She also pointed out the importance of volunteerism in the community as a way to improve our recognition in the community. She mentioned the upcoming Habitat for Humanity event in which the NHDC will be involved.
Johnson introduced Carolyn Zinner, Havre de Grace councilperson, who discussed the Habitat program. There also were mentions of the Pride Parade in Havre de Grace and the Edgewood anti-gun even, as well as First Friday in Havre de Grace. Requests were made for volunteers to these events.
Board member Jack Barham reported on county Finance and Budget issues. He noted that Harford County fails to fund its fair share of the education budget, despite comments from the County Executive to the contrary. This puts the county at a disadvantage when seeking additional funds from the state. His committee will be working to gather enough information in order to advocate on behalf of additional school system funding.
Johnson discussed fund raising, noting that the prime difference between Republican and Democratic candidates is raising campaign money with advantage to Republicans. With less money to work with, Democrats have to resort to "sweat equity," boots on the ground and knocking on doors. Johnson noted that is what former club President Steve Johnson did to win his election to the legislature's 34A district.
President Johnson then introduced Delegate Steve Johnson:
Del. Johnson said the campaign was successful because everybody pulled their weight, with a lot of help. It was a diverse group that supported everybody, with one exception. He decried the effort from a candidate who lost in the Primary, running as a write-in candidate in the General which only put more pressure on party nominees.
On his first legislative session, De. Johnson said it started "fast and furious," and never let up. "We have such a great process in Maryland and it's amazing how everybody worked to get things done," he said.
Johnson said he was assigned to the Health and government operations committee. He noted that health is a big issue as well as costs of pharmaceuticals.
Other issues he discussed included the scandal involving the University of Maryland Medical System Board. The death of Speaker Michael Busch at the end of the session caused a great deal of confusion that resulted in a hard fought campaign by two candidates who failed to get enough Democratic votes to win the Speakership. A last minute agreement resulted in the election of Adrian Jones, the acting Speaker. "That's another example of Democracy in action," said Johnson.
He said he was sponsor or co-sponsor of 92 bills, 35 of which were signed into law.
He said he has met with the Lt. Governor to discuss plans for economic activities in lower income areas of Harford County. One of his proposals includes working with local industry to create an apprenticeship program for non-college oriented high school graduates.
President Bridgette Johnson noted there will be no meeting in July. The next county election will be in Bel Air and Aberdeen in the fall and, there is the "big one" in 2020, which the club needs to prepare for.
Johnson acknowledged the presence of Council C candidate Karen Kukukrin and her husband Ron Olson, and newly elected Council A member Andre Johnson.
Andre Johnson will be holding a fundraiser Aug 10 and Steve Johnson will hold a fundraiser on Aug 30.
Meeting adjourned 8:35pm
Submitted by George Harrison, acting Secretary.