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Cecil County Business Leaders Create PAC for 2012 Candidates

November 29, 2011
By Nancy Schwerzler

A bipartisan coalition of business leaders has formed a political action committee to support political candidates in Cecil County for the 2012 elections that will “promote the economic viability” of the county.

The group, dubbed “Cecil Business Leaders for Better Government,” has scheduled a kick-off event on Dec. 7 at Mick’s Crab House on Route 40 in Elkton to recruit supporters and explain its goals.

As testament to its serious intent, the group filed as a political action committee (PAC) with the state Board of Elections on 11/7/11, listing David K. Williams, of the Williams car dealership in Elkton, as chairman. The treasurer is Alan J. McCarthy of Chesapeake City, a distinguished equine veterinarian and member of the Cecil College Foundation board of directors. (Both attended Tuesday’s worksession of the county commissioners to observe the panel in action—or inaction.)

The organization has created a website that is still under development but outlines its goals and agenda: http://www.cecilbusinessleaders.com/default.html

Many of the organizers of the group have been dismayed at the current direction and leadership of the Cecil County Commissioners, especially the “Three Amigos” voting bloc majority of the current five-member Board. The Amigos bloc—consisting of Commissioners Diana Broomell (R-4), Michael Dunn (R-3) and James Mullin (R-1)– has been viewed as anti-business and regressive, repeatedly re-visiting many decisions made over the past four years by a previous Board of Commissioners.

“We need leaders,” said Harlan Williams, a Realtor who has been involved in organizing the group. “It’s ridiculous what is going on,” he said, and “we need to encourage people who are committed to community service to get involved” in local politics.

Unique among the new group’s goals is to “vett” potential candidates, or review their credentials and evaluate their qualifications and inform voters. Especially in the 2010 election, some largely unknown candidates with minimal credentials filed for election and voters were largely left in the dark about their personal backgrounds, education and qualifications for office.

The new PAC states its “mission” is “To recruit and support highly qualified candidates for elected offices, thereby promoting the economic viability of Cecil County.” Other goals include fundraising, voter education, public information and to “challenge anti-groups,” described as “any groups propagating false or misleading information on subjects of our interest” and such groups “will be met with factual and sound opposition.”

Although not named by the new PAC, the two most prominent groups of that description are the Appleton Regional Community Alliance (ARCA) and the Cecil Land Use Alliance (CLUA), which opposed the privatization of county water and sewer services. Those groups lost a lengthy and costly legal challenge to the sale but their allies among the Three Amigos threw up procedural roadblocks that eventually led the private Artesian Resources to abandon its contract to buy four county sewage treatment plants several months ago.

Under state election laws, a PAC may transfer $6,000 to an individual candidate— a larger amount than the $4,000 donation limit on an individual’s contributions to a candidate in an election cycle (which is generally a four year period under state law.)

There are already several PACs supporting Cecil County political candidates, including longstanding groups such as the Cecil County Republican Club’s PAC and a new “Republicans of Cecil PAC” aligned with the Smipkin political organization, led by Del. Michael Smigel and Sen. E.J. Pipkin, both R-36, in 2010. However, the new business group is bipartisan and its mission statement does not limit donations to candidates of any particular political party.

The political stakes are higher in 2012, with Cecil County slated to elect its first County Executive and two members of a new County Council under the new Charter Government system approved by voters in 2010. Seats held by current County Commissioners James Mullin (R-1) and Robert Hodge (R-5) are at stake in 2012.

Hodge has filed for re-election. [UPDATE: Mullin filed his candidacy papers for his 1st District seat on 11/28/11.] Previously, Mullin emphatically stated, in an appearance before an Earleville church group a few months ago, that he would not be a candidate for county executive.

For County Executive, only Democrat Robert McKnight, the mayor of North East, has filed his candidacy. Commissioner Tari Moore (R-2) has said she plans to run for county executive.

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7 Responses to Cecil County Business Leaders Create PAC for 2012 Candidates

  1. Alexis on November 29, 2011 at 10:27 pm

    Wonderful news! I’m glad that the business community is ready to defend us against the Smigiel-Pipkin-Broomell conspiracy to punish Cecil County.

  2. Ken Jenkins on December 1, 2011 at 2:39 am

    Laughable news! Looks like Mr. Wlliams is teaming up with Commissioner Hodge to turn rural Rt.40 into an eyesore like Kirkwood Highway by promoting water & sewer.
    If money could buy certain county commissioner seats, Carl Roberts would have won his race in 2010, and the whole county would be paved by now.
    Sorry. Cecil residents are smarter than that

    • Alexis on December 1, 2011 at 8:52 am

      Rural Rt.40??? The “growth corridor” is between Rt.40 and I-95. Therefore Rt.40 should receive infrastructure. Was it unethical for your pal Broomell and her tag-along fellow Amigoes Mullin and Dunn to fire Vernon Thompson as Economic Development Director while killing the utilities that would attract business? Now she is packing the Ethics Commission with Broomell-Smigiel-Pipkin cronies. They need to be stopped.

  3. Elk Voter on December 1, 2011 at 6:24 pm

    I thought growth between R40 and I 95 was the goal of CLUA and ARCA? Now their heroine Commissioner Broomell wants to stop all responsible business growth. Due to the 3 Amigo’s killing the Artesian wastewater deal all non-users in the county will subsidize those who benefit from this service. I hope that Cecil residents are smart enough to correct their mistakes. Starting with Mullin in the next election.

  4. SchoolMarm on December 2, 2011 at 10:01 am

    Let me review my Cecil County Political Primer: Republicans are for businesses large and small and for growth, as that implies that Democrats hug trees and are against all businesses and growth. The Cecil County residents, too smart to elect Democrats, elect five Republican commissioners, three of whom vote together on issues and effectively stop growth/infrastructure. And some of you choose to blame Carl Roberts? What in the world is going on? The blame, or praise (though I do not hear much of that) for the leadership of the current commissioners is the doing of Republicans. Period.

    • Alexis on December 3, 2011 at 10:20 am

      Your Cecil County Political Primer is not up to date. There is a third party in the county: The Smipkin Party. The ” 3 Amigos” (Broomell, Dunn, and Mullin) are merely fronts for Smigiel and Pipkin. There are lots of pro-business Democrats and tree-hugging Republicans.

      Dr. Roberts’ removal [from Bainbridge board] was the result of a delegation vote and strictly political. The “3 Amigos” would not have been elected without Democratic votes. If you want to change things, start by voting Mullin out.

      • SchoolMarm on December 5, 2011 at 9:55 am

        Certainly what you write it true and thank goodness folks can vote for whomever they choose (and one always needs to be wary of stereotypes).The last election they chose Republicans, period. A glance at the results in County elections shows this. People simply voted “out the rascals” and voted for Republicans, without carefully studying the candidates themselves. And now we pay the price. However, I believe to say Dr. Roberts would have paved the county seems extreme and to claim Cecil County residents are too smart to have voted for him is, at best, ironic.

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