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Shank's tactics favored over compromising Sen. Munson

August 23, 2010|By LLOYD "PETE" WATERS

While I was the warden of a local prison I would always invite Sen. Don Munson to come down and visit during each election. When he visited, he would spend a few hours at the prison talking with staff and listening to their problems.

I thought it was a good way to educate the senator.

On occasion, I, too, extended the same invitation to Chris Shank. He also came down to visit the prison and made his rounds.

Both Munson and Shank are Republicans, and both want to represent District 2-C as the next state senator.

My good friend (and Herald-Mail columnist) Tim Rowland has acknowledged that Sen. Munson has been more successful in getting bills passed in the Maryland legislature than Del. Shank. He credits Munson's seasoned experience and willingness to "compromise" as more results-oriented than Mr. Shank's current success.

As you might note, many people support the work of Sen. Munson.

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He is a shrewd politician.

But, there is usually a down side with a long-term politician.

As you know, to get bills passed in the current legislature you sometimes have to "compromise," but often "compromise" can be a bad thing.

Sen. Munson acknowledges a possible unwise vote with the CASA de Maryland issue. He admits to this possible error in judgment.

Another unwise vote, in my humble estimation, which the senator avoids discussing, but has cost the Maryland taxpayer a billion or more dollars to date, and continues to add to the Maryland deficit, was his vote to transfer the Baltimore City Jail over to the Maryland Department of Public Safety in 1991. That transfer from Baltimore City to the state continues to be a very costly vote, and burden for the taxpayer.

To my knowledge he has never explained this vote, or the huge associated costs. Other compromising votes might be equally embarrassing for Munson if they were all tabulated and revealed.

Each Maryland taxpayer who lives in Washington County now gets to pay "forever" for a City Jail that should still belong to Baltimore City.

Perhaps Sen. Munson did receive some favorable support for local projects because of his vote in this matter. Was it worth the vote?

I guess my question would be this, if you get me $10 in one hand and take away $50 in the other hand ... just how much really am I ahead at the end of the day?

If you have to support the majority always to get something done or "compromise" your constituents by your voting habits, don't you become a member of the majority by your actions?

Government today is served best when there are disagreements and opposing views that can be brought to the table, openly discussed, and moved forward to the benefit of the constituent and taxpayer.

A state or government where one party governs all the time is never a healthy political environment.

Sen. Munson's support and passage of a Correctional Officer's Bill of Rights only occurred when he perhaps finds himself in the midst of his toughest re-election campaign; I wonder why it took him more than 20 years to see the importance of this additional due process for correctional employees?

He supported a study on violence in Maryland's prisons after two correctional officers were murdered, many custody positions were taken, and many other assaults were occurring ... what were the results of this committee's study? Has he done anything to help resolve the problem of prison violence?

I do not believe Sen. Munson's approach to compromising with the majority, even though perhaps short-term rewarding, is always the best method in serving the constituents of our district.

Some of his votes have been very costly for this district and for the Maryland taxpayers living in Washington County.

I believe it was Aaron Tippin, the country singer, who reminded us, "you've got to stand for something or you'll fall for anything." I think it's time to draw the line in the sand ... and Shank seems to be the best candidate to do that.

Lloyd "Pete" Waters is a Sharpsburg resident who writes for The Herald-Mail.

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