Thanks to countless volunteers, contributors, neighborhood leaders, friends and supporters, I won election to the Maryland House of Delegates in 2014 for a four year term.
Since arriving in Annapolis in January, 2015, I have worked to improve and enhance our neighborhoods in District 42B while doing everything I can to effectuate real change in Annapolis. And after the O'Malley years, we desperately needed real change in Annapolis. During those years, State spending increased by $10 Billion (a 35% increase) and, to pay for all this spending, taxes and fees were increased repeatedly. The State lost 68,000 jobs, and over 6,500 companies closed or moved to other states. The pendulum swung too far to the left.
I was born and raised in Maryland and love this state. I was part of the new team that arrived in Annapolis in 2015 with Larry Hogan. Under Larry Hogan's leadership, Maryland is now heading in the right direction. The State hasn't raised taxes in two years and in fact has reduced some taxes while significantly cutting tolls and other nuisance fees. Businesses are prospering once again. In Baltimore County alone, Sparrows Point is being retooled for the 21st Century with the full support of the State of Maryland.
I am one of the harder working Delegates in Annapolis and have various achievements to show for my work. With the active support of my fellow District 42B Delegate, Sue Aumann, and all three District 11 Delegates (Shelly Hettleman, Dan Morhaim and Dana Stein), along with the active support of the Speaker, I managed to negotiate an acceptable resolution of the Timonium Fairgrounds off-track betting issue. I believe that all sides regard the resolution as a "win-win-win-win", which is the best way to conclude this sort of situation. Off-track betting has gone forward, but the Fairgrounds has foresworn any possibility of later ramping gambling up to include slots or a casino. I also played an integral role in the negotiation and ultimate passage of the Justice Reinvestment Act in the 2016 Session. This fundamental reform of the State's criminal justice system in the area of non-violent (primarily drug) offenses is just part of Governor Hogan's comprehensive efforts to deal with the opioid crisis. In this effort, I worked closely with Baltimore County States Attorney, Scott Shellenberger.
I hope you have noticed that Democrats have prominently figured in my work. I deeply believe that the best legislation to come out of Annapolis is bi-partisan legislation. I have found that when Republicans and Democrats work on legislation together, Republicans smooth out Democratic rough edges, and Democrats smooth out Republican rough edges, and we end up with legislation that marches straight down the middle. I think this achieves the best results for our citizens. In Annapolis, I do everything I can to promote bipartisanship. Of course, I can't claim all of the credit for it, but in the 2016 Session of the General Assembly, we passed 824 bills, nearly all of them with strong bipartisan support. Governor Hogan only vetoed seven bills, three of them on technical grounds. So, with my committed support and under Larry Hogan's leadership, the General Assembly is moving Maryland ahead in a bipartisan way that we should all be proud of. Divided government is working in Maryland, and good things are happening.
I may be only one person, but I believe that I am one person who is making a difference.
Christopher R. West