Jackie Gregory, Patriots Leader, to Run for Cecil County Council in District 5– Hodge Seat
Jackie Gregory, a former teacher and a leader of the Cecil County Patriotsâ€™ tea party group, announced Tuesday that she will run in the Republican primary for the County Council in District 5, a seat currently held by County Council President Robert Hodge, also a Republican.
â€śWe need local representatives with strong conservative values, common sense, and a commitment to building a community that is a welcoming environment for both families and businesses. It is vital that local leaders cultivate an economic climate where local businesses can grow and individuals have opportunities to thrive economically. Local representatives must also protect Constitutional rights,â€ť Gregory said in announcing her candidacy.
Gregory, a mother of three children and a former teacher, was often a fixture at county government meetings and active on social media with observations about Cecil County government and federal Constitutional issues in the past few years, although her public profile has been less visible for the past year or so. But her public comments usually reflected substantive research and thoughtful analysis, while avoiding the name-calling and partisan attacks that often characterize online political discussions.
But she is also an untested quantity, with no elected office experience, no business leadership background, and no demonstrable expertise in economic development mattersâ€” issues she addresses in her candidacy announcement and which are key questions for the countyâ€™s future.
Hodge, who has held the District 5 seat for two terms, has not yet decided if he will run for re-election, he told Cecil Times. â€śItâ€™s still premature for me to make my decision,â€ť Hodge said. He has held a seat on the old Board of Commissioners and the successor County Council under the shift to Charter government for nearly eight years. His Council seat is at stake in the 2016 election.
â€śIâ€™m going to take a little more time to make a decision,â€ť Hodge said. â€śI enjoy the job,â€ť he said, and â€śI think Iâ€™ve made a difference.â€ť But, as a businessman with other duties on top of the part-time County Council responsibilities, Hodge said he still needed to evaluate his options.
He said he hasnâ€™t been able to find time to take a vacation in well over a year, but he was pleased that the current County Council membership was working together smoothly and in a positive fashionâ€”unlike the old divisive â€śThree Amigosâ€ť rule of the Commissionersâ€™ board on which Hodge sat and the vestiges of the drama-laden â€śTwo Amigosâ€ť on the County Council until those members were ousted in the 2014 elections.
Hodge has been a strong advocate of the business community and, as Council president, took the lead this year in substantial cuts to the budget proposed by County Executive Tari Mooreâ€”who proposed a significant increase in property tax rates. Hodge led the council to review the nooks and crannies of the county budget and came up with enough spending reductions to continue a freeze on the property tax rate.
Moore recently announced she would not be a candidate for re-election in 2016.
Meanwhile, Jackie Gregory told Cecil Times that if elected to the County Council she would be a strong advocate for listening to local residents and the business community. â€śIâ€™m not going in there with the attitude that I know it all,â€ť she said. And on the budget, she said she would â€śnot support tax increasesâ€ť and would like to see a repeal of Mooreâ€™s recent increase in the property transfer tax.
Gregory also said in her candidacy announcement that she would use her County Council position to advance â€śLibertyâ€ť positions. She and other members of the local Patriots group have in the past been at odds with the â€śCecil County Campaign for Libertyâ€ť group that has attacked most county government officials on a wide variety of grounds, often distorting officialsâ€™ records in online forums and robocalls.
However, Gregory took a softened stance regarding the local â€śCampaign for Libertyâ€ť group in an interview with Cecil Times. While not affiliated with the local C4L group, she said she had some â€śshared principlesâ€ť with the group even if there were disagreements on â€śtacticalâ€ť matters.