TESTIMONY FOR SB 73
General Assembly - Special Election to Fill a Vacancy in Office
Bill Sponsor: Senator Lam
Committee: Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs
Organization Submitting: Lower Shore Progressive Caucus
Person Submitting: Jared Schablein
I am submitting this testimony in favor of HB 73 on behalf of the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus. The Caucus is a political and activist organization on the Eastern Shore, unaffiliated with any political party, committed to empowering working people by building a Progressive Movement.
The State of Maryland, like the United States of America as a whole, loves to talk about how we are a stalwart of Democracy. However, our current system that allows the Governor to appoint based on the central committee, which currently holds the seat with no voter input, is extraordinarily undemocratic and goes against our values as a society. Not only is this system undemocratic it is also a major headache that has caused some horrible press for our state in the past. Who could forget in late 2012, when controversy engulfed then-Gov. Martin O'Malley when he refused to appoint the Prince George's County Democratic Central Committee's nominee for a vacant seat due to the nominee's criminal past. This issue would result in a court case, and in early 2013 O'Malley appointed someone else. This situation should have never occurred because the voters should have decided who was the replacement in the first place.
The situation has gotten so bad that over one-fifth of the legislature is currently appointed. This is not an attack on the qualification of those appointed but the pure absurdity of how much power we have taken away from the people. For these reasons, the Lower Shore Progressive Caucus supports this bill and recommends a FAVORABLE report in committee.