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Shank asks for constituents to weigh in on issues

December 24, 2010|By ANDREW SCHOTZ | andrews@herald-mail.com

Weeks before the Maryland legislature reconvenes, a local soon-to-be state senator is asking constituents for their opinions.

Sen.-elect Christopher B. Shank, R-Washington, has posted a survey of key issues and how people feel about them.

Shank said he has done a few mail surveys as a delegate, when he represented a smaller area. This is his first Internet survey.

Shank, a three-term delegate in Subdistrict 2B, defeated five-term incumbent Donald F. Munson this year to win Munson’s Senate seat. Shank will be sworn in next month.

His web survey asks people to pick what the Maryland General Assembly should focus on in 2011. The eight categories of priorities include “Jobs/Economic Development,” “Budget/Spending,” “Immigration” and “Moral Issues.”

The survey asks people to weigh in on same-sex marriage, gun control, national health-care reform, regional representation for Washington County Commissioners, a possible gas-tax increase and a proposal for shifting pension costs from the state to the county.

Shank said he has firm opinions on most of those topics, such as Second Amendment rights and tax increases, and wouldn’t change his philosophy if the survey came out squarely on the other side — which he doesn’t expect.

“I feel I know my constituency very well,” he said, noting that the survey is unscientific. “My views are pretty well in sync with the vast majority of Washington County.”

One issue on which Shank has not taken a public position is the possibility of Maryland allowing table games. He has a question about that in the survey.

Shank said he will release the collective survey results, but will keep individual responses confidential.

He’s hoping to hear from people in the next few weeks, before the legislative session starts on Jan. 12, but the survey will remain posted and active for a while.

He is taking out a newspaper ad and is contacting people through an e-mail list and his Facebook page, where he got feedback on the survey and tweaked it.

“I’m trying to be as organic about this as possible,” he said.

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To take Sen.-elect Christopher B. Shank’s survey, go to http://tinyurl.com/26wpqaz.

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