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April 27, 2023

Western Maryland Democrats hold their 19th Annual Summit

Credit: Garrett County Republican

FLINTSTONE — Western Maryland Democrats gathered for their 19th Annual Summit to discuss politics in their communities and hear from Democratic leaders from across the state on Friday and Saturday.

Members of the Garrett County Democratic Central Committee attended, and two Garrett County Democrats were on the program.

The meeting kicked off Friday night with a dinner provided by Congressman David Trone. Then on Saturday morning, Trone began with opening remarks, where he spoke about gun violence being the number one cause of children’s accidental deaths in the U.S. and voiced his frustrations about the inactions by Congress.

He then talked about mental health and addiction and that he’s always looking to reach across the aisle and find common ground to move forward on important issues.

“One in five Marylanders are suffering from a mental health condition, and only a fraction receive the help they need,” said Congressman Trone. “With mental illness and overdoses on the rise, we must provide folks with the resources needed to access high-quality mental health and addiction treatment.”

The congressman also talked about the five major road projects that he delivered that brought in over $370 million to the area, including the U.S. 219 project in Grantsville.

The congressman was followed by Maryland Comptroller Brooke Lierman, Sen. Karen Young and the Lt. Gov. Aruna Miller, who talked about the historic 2023 session of the Legislature in Annapolis. The Legislature passed 810 bills, including all 10 of Governor Wes Moore’s priorities.

The lieutenant governor mentioned the 2022 straw poll at the last Summit, where the Moore-Miller ticket revived a 2 to 1 vote over the closest challengers. She also said that “…whatever happens in Western Maryland will happen in the rest of Maryland.”

All the bills that passed in the session had both Democratic and Republican votes. Since taking office 100 days ago, the Lt. Governor has visited every county in the state.Judy Carbone, chair of the Garrett County Democratic Central Committee and Chair of the Maryland Democratic Party’s Rural Communities Committee, led a panel of campaign strategists to discuss rural messaging for Democrats.

On the panel were Justin Butler, organizing director for the Maryland Democratic Party; Sean Ford, former field director for the 2022 general election campaign for Congressman David Trone; and Dianne Bates, former data director for the 2022 campaign for now Governor Josh Shapiro of Pennsylvania.

Senator Ben Cardin recognized the many accomplishments the federal delegation had achieved on behalf of the people of Western Maryland and thanked the voters of Western Maryland for making their voices heard.

Gov. Wes Moore was then introduced, and he spoke about his optimism for the future of Maryland and his commitment to making sure that “…no one is left behind.” He stressed that he wants to hear from all Marylanders about what their ideas on how to work towards the future and recounted a story about meeting with the mayor of Lonaconing on his recent trip to the western-most communities in Maryland.

Colmon Eldrige, Director of the Kentucky Democrats and Member of the Democratic National Committee’s Rural Council, addressed the audience and stressed DNC Chair Jamie Harrison’s commitment to rural communities. Information can be found at panel on Youth and Diversity in the Democratic Party was held.

One of the panel members was Lillia Rose, a college student from Oakland who is attending American University and interning with the Town of Oakland and this summer will be interning in Congressman Trone’s congressional office on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC.

“Lillia did an outstanding job representing Garrett County and reminding the audience that young voters today care more about the issues and policy that will actually solve problems in their communities than on party affiliation,” said Carbone.

She also requested that everyone does better in not judging young people based on how they voted but on congratulating them for participating and making informed decisions.

Other Garrett County Democratic leaders in attendance were Garrett County Democratic Central Committee members Betty Pritt and Darryl Glotfelty, Co-Vice Chairs; Jeff Hovis, Secretary; Jim Hunter, Tracey Edwards, and Erin-Ruth Natividad (also Garrett County Democratic Club President), elected members; Cadence Natividad; student member; and Charlene Pullias, Stephanie Pack, and Lindsey Pack, associate members. Garrett Democratic Club members, Adele Hunter, Peggy Hunter, and Haeli Gustafson also attended.