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County Executive Candidates Brush off Criticisms at NCPCA Forum

In case you could not attend the past Thursday’s county wide candidate forum at NCPCA, you have missed this political drama. The drama began during the Q&A session with the County Executive candidates when someone from the audience (thankfully) asked the candidates about a recent Gazette report that heavily criticized most of the candidates for their lack of experiences and competencies. Mr. Sam Dean, 74 was criticized for his old age.

Candidate Gerron Levi shrugged off criticism by saying: “I’m running for the first time, but in no way, by far a new person”. She touted her experience as the District 23A Delegate at the State MD legislature. She also said “I‘ve been Senior staff at Capitol Hill , lawyer for lobbyist for 15 years. I’ve seen government for 20 years in addition to serving in elected office now. I’ve racked up a distinguished record in that period of time. I’ve received recognitions such as legislator of the year and public servant of the year. My initiatives have made front page of the Washington Post at least twice. During the period of time, I’ve helped to get a million dollar project on the ground.”

Rushern Baker tried to lighten the criticism against him by cracking this joke: “They could’ve used a better picture of me (in the article)“. Responding to the criticism of him running twice unsuccessfully, he said:  “I gave up a very good job at Annapolis to run for this position. I was on fast track to chair appropriation and go the Senate. But I think our county is not living up to its full potentials. It’s still at the bottom of our education systems. I came very close in 2002. In 2006, I could’ve won if I had one more week to campaign” – Mr. Baker joked further. Responding to the criticism that his most generous donor is the owner of the largest apartment complex in the region, Mr. Baker said “People want to give me money, because I tend to be leading..”

Henry Turner said he thought the article was a very good one and he doesn’t have any problem with this at all. Responding to the criticism that he did not have any political experience, he said: ”I’ve served in the military for 21 years, Majority of that career, I served for 1, 3 and 4 stars general as well as admiral, also highest political appointees in our nation. I think I’ve more political experience than anybody else sitting at this table. When they (the generals) were on the jet to make sure the nation is safe and command that nation , I was there with them. I may have held the bag to deliver the paper and coffee for them, but I saw how they ran this country” – said the retired Army lieutenant colonel who attended the United States Military Academy at West Point in New York. Responding to the criticism that he is the brother of District 4 county council woman (who is yet to endorse him), he said ”I looked at that and I think that’s the greatest advantage. We have an unique opportunity to make a history that a brother and a sister can work on two different branches of our government – both the legislative and the executive.”– He reminded the audience.

Samuel Dean defended his record by saying ”I’m capable of leading. I’ve been in this business and every position I’ve ever held. I’ve delivered and I’ve proven results.”Responding to criticism on his old age, he said it’s all about experience. “I know many people much younger than me (who is now) in the grave.” – boasted the eight term county council member.

The fifth County Executive candidate Michael Jackson could not attend the forum due to an engagement – his campaign representative told the audience.

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