Art Callaham: Here's how I'm going to fill out my ballot

October 28, 2012|By ART CALLAHAM

Less than two weeks before the general election and I bet you can already guess who I’m going to vote for. Wrong!

First, let me save The Herald-Mail a little ink by stating the following: “The views and statements expressed in this column are purely the views and statements of Art Callaham and not necessarily the views or statements of The Herald-Mail.” This is not an endorsement; this is how I’m going to vote.

Second, let me also take my wife off the hook (Ruth Anne Callaham is a County Commissioner). How I vote is not indicative of her views, who she may or may not endorse, or how she will vote.

Now, let me explain the “wrong.”

My ultra-right-wing, conservative friends (I think I have one or two left in the tea party) will feign shock over my votes for Democrats. They will tout and beat their chests saying that my professed votes prove that I’m everything they said I am — a “liberal elitist.” Wrong!

On the other side, my Democrat friends will jump for joy and say that I have seen the light and come “out of the darkness” into the light. Wrong again.

All “sides,” and that includes you, the readers, should know that for nearly 45 years I have followed the guidance of one of the smartest women I have ever known, my mother, when it comes to voting. Blanche Carden Callaham, a Roosevelt Democrat (married for nearly 50 years to a Goldwater Republican), said “Vote for the best person for the job, regardless of political party affiliation.”

Not the best Democrat, not the best Republican, not the best minority, not the best majority; simply vote for the best person (male or female) for the job. Performance and ability — not gender, race, politics or ideology — are always the best considerations.

Now that you know where I come from, let me get started. 

• Romney for President. There should be no questions asked if you simply look at past performance. 

• Cardin for U.S. Senate. Dan Bongino is a good person, but I’ve yet to see him deliver for this community. Sure, you’ll say he has never had the chance, but where’s he been for the past years before this election? Never heard of him until he decided to run.

• Bartlett for Congress in the 6th District. Bartlett speaks for our values. In the primary-election season, Mr. Delaney came to Washington County and could hardly say 10 words without mentioning President Obama’s name or policies. However, during the most recent forum, he never mentioned Obama’s name. Delaney is a good listener, but Bartlett has a consistent message concerning America, Americans and our constitutional rights and conservative values.

• Bruchey for mayor of Hagerstown. Bob and I have had our differences over the years and I personally do not know David Gysberts. Gysberts has served on the Hagerstown Planning Commission; however, for me, he has shown little vision for redevelopment of our downtown. Conversely, Bruchey is now all about making something happen.

• For City Council I’m voting for the incumbents (at least the four who are left in the race). For the past year, the current City Council has shown an enthusiasm and some vision about doing something to improve, redevelop, revitalize and re-engineer our city. Past councils (and some who are running again this time) have generally just said “no” to efforts to move forward.

My fifth vote will go to former Sen. Don Munson. Although Don has been less than enthusiastic about the “stadium project,” I believe he will come on board concerning downtown revitalization once he sees the full picture. Granted, Burrs and Bayer are not bad votes and should receive some consideration, but I’ll still be going with my friend, Don Munson, at the polls.

• For School Board, only Hartings and Ridenour get my vote. I hope I’m transparent enough with this.

• On the ballot questions, I’m not afraid of redistricting. The “Dream Act” seems to me to be the right thing to do; and as far as gambling is concerned, a dollar spent in Maryland should look to me, you and Marylanders alike as a dollar spent wisely. As a Hagerstown voter, I’m all in for nonpartisan City elections.

I have always felt that my vote counts, and I am more than pleased to tell others how I vote. But more than anything else, get out and vote on Nov. 6! 

Art Callaham is a community activist and president of the Washington County Free Library Board of Trustees.

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