Cecil County Councilor Diana Broomell Says She Plans to Run for Re-election to Council in 2014
Cecil County Councilor Diana Broomell (R-4), often a lightening rod for controversy both on the old county Commissioners board and the new County Council, told Cecil Times that she plans to run for re-election to her council seat in 2014, contrary to rampant local speculation that she would run for a newly redrawn state legislative seat in western Cecil County.
“I plan to run again for the Council,” Broomell told Cecil Times on Tuesday. She also said she would like to run again for Cecil County Executive, when current executive Tari Moore’s term is up in the 2016 election. Broomell came in second to Moore in a crowded Republican primary in the 2012 election.
“I’ve been to Annapolis,” she said, noting her past employment as an aide to state Del. Michael Smigiel (R-36). “You can’t get anything done there,” she said of Annapolis.
“My concerns are in Cecil County; I have a lot of things that I feel need to be done here,” she added.
During this week’s Cecil County Fair, Broomell and several campaign supporters have been seen wearing tee-shirts advocating “Broomell for County Council.”
[However, Broomell will face at least one serious challenge, in the Republican primary. Michael W. Dawson, a Perryville resident who previously ran unsuccessfully for a state Delegate seat, has filed as a candidate for the Cecil County Council in Broomell's District 4.]
[SEE Cecil Times report on Michael W. Dawson's candidacy here: http://ceciltimes.com/2013/06/michael-w-dawson-files-for-cecil-county-council-in-dist-4-broomell-seat-in-14-election/ ]
During two years on the old Board of Commissioners, Broomell was the linchpin of the “Three Amigos” faction—consisting of Broomell, former Commissioner James Mullin (R-1) and Commissioner/Councilor Michael Dunn (R-3)—that ruled the local governing body with an iron fist. Moore and then Commissioner and now County Council President Robert Hodge (R-5) were usually in a two-vote minority on decisions on the commissioners board.
But with the shift to Charter government and the defeat of Mullin’s bid for re-election, Broomell has usually found herself in a two vote minority with Dunn, but at times even abandoned by Dunn on various votes that left her as a minority of one.
Local political speculation has centered for several months on what her intentions might be for the 2014 election, especially since she moved her residence from Perryville—where she has lived on the property of her husband’s woodworking business for several years—back to a Nesbitt Rd. home in Colora that she has long owned but had rented out to a tenant for a while. She recently moved back to the Colora residence, triggering much legislative district map consultations by many area politicos about what that move might mean politically.
Her Perryville residence would have enabled her to run for a newly redrawn state Senate seat in District 35, a Cecil County-Harford County district that will have a slight voting-age population advantage for Cecil County voters. But that location would not be included in a newly redrawn House of Delegates 35B district, covering both Cecil and a majority Harford county electorate. But the Colora address would give her the flexibility to run for either a House or Senate state legislative seat.
Broomell said her family moved back to Colora for strictly non-political reasons and that the district lines of various legislative domains were simply not on her radar for the move.
Broomell has been a frequent dissident on a wide array of issues, and a perpetual critic of Hodge. She virtually acknowledged that she filed an ethics complaint against him without fully confirming it—which would have been a violation of county ethics rules. But, sources have told Cecil Times, the ethics panel dismissed the complaint.
Despite her frequently over-the-top rhetoric, Broomell often raises interesting and worthy questions about county spending and policy decisions. But the way in which she speaks about the issues often turns off and alienates even people who might otherwise be inclined to agree with her on the substance of a particular point.
For example, she raised questions about the wisdom of installing costly advanced “membrane” technology at the Seneca Point sewage treatment plant when a cheaper technology covered fully by a state grant could have met current state environmental mandates. She asserted that it was improper for current sewer service users to have to pay the costs for upgraded and expanded services that would only serve future customers many years down the road.
That argument held weight even with some fellow councilors, sources said. But the way in which Broomell pursued her argument—alleging that the county’s Public Works Director was possibly lying or covering up pertinent information—turned off other Councilors and many citizens and shifted opinion against her position.
Meanwhile, in the state Delegate contests, the redistricting for western Cecil County creates some new political opportunities– but the Cecil County portion of the district will once again be a minority of the electorate and subordinate to a majority of Harford County voters in the new District 35B.
Wayne Norman, a Bel Air lawyer who currently holds an all-Harford seat in the old 35th District, has been a fixture at the Cecil County fair for the past few days, getting to know his new western Cecil constituents in the re-drawn House of Delegates district. But Norman is also considering a run for an open state Senate seat in District 35, which would cover even more of western Cecil County than his redrawn House seat as well as covering his Harford County home base.
Donna Stiffler is the other current Harford-based delegate in District 35B but there is area speculation that she might not run for re-election in the newly drawn Harford-Cecil district, thus opening up a new opportunity for another candidate.