Howard County Maryland Blog

Local Politics and Current Events

Democrats & Independents for Merdon (Updated)

Posted by David Keelan on Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Democrats and Independents for Chris Merdon

Click photograph to watch the full video.

Mary Catherine Cochran, daughter of former democratic County Executive Ed Cochran, and President of Howard County Preservation forwarded this very powerful press release to a couple of the Howard County Blogs.

I am not going to say much for two reasons:

1. A lot of these people have gone out on a limb, not for themselves but for their own integrity.

2. What could I possibly add that could enhance what these individuals have already said so well.

I am happy to be in their company – at least on this one.


We stand beneath the Tree of Life, more commonly known to most of us as the People Tree.  It is a fitting place for our announcement today symbolizing as it does, the power of individual citizens working together to create a true community.  We are here as individual voters, nearly all registered Democrats or Independents, to affirm that we strongly support Chris Merdon, Republican, for Howard County Executive. 

We believe that he has the experience and temperament necessary to lead us into the next General Plan and that he will build a government that- in the words of Abraham Lincoln- is of the people, by the people and for the people.    

Vaclav Havel said: “Genuine politics — the only politics I am willing to devote myself to — is simply a matter of serving those around us: serving the community and serving those who will come after us.” 

I believe each of you is a model of that philosophy.    Representatives in our group have fought to effect positive change within our community, some for decades, and some of us for only months.  Some of us were born here in this County and some of us are newcomers.  Some of us live within the New Town of Columbia and others of us reside in Ellicott City, Elkridge and Western Howard County. [I am, in essence, surrounded by the heart and soul of Howard County.   It is an honor to stand among you.]

We have educated ourselves on the issues of transportation, affordable housing, equal rights, zoning, public safety, agricultural and historic preservation, balanced budgets, education, the environment, development and the General Plan.  We have been hands-on agents of change and keen observers of the political system and of the leadership abilities of our elected officials since before the election year process began and we believe that this perspective makes us uniquely qualified to make this endorsement.   We, Democrats and Independents, strongly endorse Chris Merdon for County Executive.

  • Martha Clark, Farmer, Owner, agri-business
  • Angie Beltram, Founder of COPE, former County Council member
  • Barbara Russell- Director, Columbia Association Board
  • Cynthia Coile-  Director, Columbia Association Board
  • Rebecca Johnson-  Coalition for Columbia’s Downtown
  • Alec Adams- former chair of Democratic Central Committee
  • Ann Jones- Environmentalist and VP of the Howard County Conservancy
  • Mary Catherine Cochran, President Preservation Howard County
  • Cathy Hudson- Environmental activist, Rockburn Land Trust
  • Alice and Glen Webb- long time Democratic activists
  • Vivian Bailey- long time Democratic activist and volunteer of the year
  • Dottie Moore- Former Director of Head Start
  • Cindy Ardinger- PTA and public education advocate
  • John Lederer- Ellicott City activist
  • Betty Adams- local attorney
  • Regina Ford-  Director of Public Relations, Turf Valley Resort
  • Connie and Herb Coss- long time Democratic activists
  • Joan Farragut- Democratic activist
  • Janice and William Prince- Founders of “Voices of Children”
  • Jessica Pearsall-  Community activist

Martha Clark “I have had the opportunity to talk with Chris and watch him in action on the County Council and I am impressed by his integrity, openness and ability to work across party lines for the benefit of the people of Howard County.  He is ready to address problems in the planning and zoning processes in the County and work with County residents who care about our quality of life.”

Angie Beltram “The first time I was eligible to vote – my vote went to John F. Kennedy.  As a registered Democrat, party has always meant a lot to me and I have been active in Democratic politics since I was 21 years of age.   In this election, I will vote for Democrat, Courtney Watson for County Council; Democrat, Ben Cardin for Senate; and Democrat, Martin O’Malley for Governor. My interest in land use, growth and zoning and MOST OF ALL – OPEN GOVERNMENT leads me to endorse open government over arrogance; Therefore, I choose open government and heartily endorse Chris Merdon for County Executive and hope my friends will, too.”

Barbara Russell “As a Democrat, I support Chris Merdon for County Executive because he has gone on record with a common-sense approach to the redevelopment of downtown Columbia. The redevelopment will impact all of Howard County but most especially the closest communities like my village of Oakland Mills.”

Cynthia Coile “Chris Merdon is the only candidate who has what it takes to lead Howard County….he has the strong background in business and can create a vision for Howard County that will have an impact for many generations.  He also has the willingness to listen to the needs of the community as was evident when he stood on the council as the sole person who voted against the developers in CompLite.”

Rebecca Johnson “I vote for the best candidate, regardless of party. Thus, I have voted almost entirely Democratic for as long as I can remember. Once again this year, I am a strong supporter of the Democratic ticket, including statewide candidates O’Malley, Brown, and Cardin. But for Howard County Executive, I will be voting for Republican Chris Merdon. Chris combines experience and fiscal responsibility with a willingness to genuinely listen to citizens and to make decisions that are thoughtful and informed by all points of view. I especially appreciate Chris’s commitment to making sure that the critical Columbia Downtown development project proceeds with care, integrity, and respect for Columbia’s core values.”

E. Alexander Adams “As a former chairman of the Howard County Democratic Central Committee and native of Howard County, I strongly support Chris Merdon as the most experienced and best choice to manage Howard County’s $1.2 BILLION budget.  He understands that County government should be non-partisan and managed for the benefit of all its citizens.”

Mary Catherine Cochran It’s time for us to move beyond the partisanship which divides us and to learn how to work together to create a stronger community.  Chris Merdon has the ability to bridge our differences and lead us into the next generation.

Ann Jones “The preservation of Howard County’s historic, agricultural and environmental heritage will require a thoughtful and coordinated approach.  Chris Merdon has proven that he is willing to examine the tough issues facing the county and suggest thoughtful solutions.”

Cathy Hudson “Chris has always been willing to hear all sides to an issue before making a thoughtful decision.  He is the kind of leader that Howard County needs to restore confidence in our government, yet with the vision to help our county become even better.”

Alice Webb I have been a Democrat since I started voting in 1964 and have not missed a single election since. I think that the AARP commercial says it better than I could…”Don’t Vote until you know where the candidates stand on the issues that are important to you.” After looking at both candidates running for County Executive, I feel that I must vote for Chris Merdon because of all that he has done for the county and all that he plans to do and for all the hours that he has taken to listen to what the people think is important to Howard County.  

Vivian Bailey “Chris Merdon has supervisory and management experience which his opponent lacks.  Also, although close in age, Merdon shows much more maturity and none of the arrogance that Mr. Ulman exhibits.”

Dottie Moore “I support and stand committed to Chris Merdon because he is a man of integrity- a man with a vision and a purpose- a man of great passion and character who has demonstrated during his nearly eight years of public service to the Howard County community that he has earned the right to be our next County Executive and that he is more than worthy of this position.”

Cindy Ardinger “As a Republican who votes for the person and not the party, who gave up on an Independent designation due to limitations in the primary, I refuse to vote based solely on party affiliation.  Qualification, not party, means more to me. Therefore my vote for Chris Merdon as County Executive will be based on his record, his integrity, and his plans for Howard County’s future.”

John Lederer “Chris Merdon has supported our communities on Frederick Road by helping us fight against high density infill development and we believe he will continue to fight against high density infill development as County Executive; therefore, I will be voting for Chris Merdon on November 7th.”

Betty Adams “As a 32 year resident of Howard County and as an attorney who works here as well, I support Chris Merdon for his recognition of responsible ways to deal with and manage growth in Columbia and in the rest of the County.”

Regina Ford “Chris Merdon has my vote for County Executive. As an Independent I never vote down party lines but always look at the individuals. Chris has demonstrated to me his sensitivity to the needs of all facets of Howard County, especially his strong stand on the Senior Tax Cuts. I am confident his leadership will guide Howard County to new levels of greatness!”


Chris has momentum going into the home stretch.  I hope it keeps up.  What this means is that Chris is being rewarded for what the Washington Post calls his:

“ability to work across party lines”

and what the Baltimore Sun believes is his ability to repair the

“growing distrust in government that may take some years to overcome.”

I am not holding my breath on the Howard County Times endorsement.  Some people are telling me that they believe that the Patuxent Press is more interested in keeping their readership up than endorsing a Republican.  I think Patuxnet is a good company and I don’t belive that statement.  I think they will exercise their best judgement just as these individuals have.  Whether I agree with the Patuxent Press’ judgement remains to be seen.


25 Responses to “Democrats & Independents for Merdon (Updated)”

  1. I really like the new layout. Much easier to read and much cleaner looking.

    By the way, the Merdon campaign has posted the photo from this event on their website. I don’t know who all the people are, but I see Harry Dunbar, Angie Beltram and some woman from the Columbia Council in the picture.

  2. Numbersgirl said

    The woman at the microphone is Barbara Russell, CA representative to Oakland Mills, I believe, and former County Council employee.

  3. hocomd said

    Thank you.

  4. observer said

    is kenny boy going to have a press conference so Sherman Howell can endorse him? Maybe a few firefighters will show up, if they can do it on county time. Any republicans besides Jim Adams endorsing Ken?

  5. Jim Adams said

    Hello Observer, time to refocus with your observations. I am way to honest with myself to think my endorsment is of any value. I would offer these thoughts. I deeply appreciate Ken’s work with passing the smoking ban, I appreciate the advice Chris gave me during my campaign, and I know Steve is greatly underestimated. I believe the most important endorsement will come from the voters.

    But to take advantage of your posting I will, as all that care to know, say Don Dunn is the man you and I should put on the council. Observer I can spin your sarcasm into truth, only because of the weaknest in your thoughts. I say with respect, think through what you really want to say. You and I have the same measure of value in our vote, but damage to a reputation
    as a result of sloopy thoughts and words may be beyond repair.

    Enjoy the day.

  6. Jim Adams said

    Observer, good afternoon. Something tells me we know each other, but you have over estimated me. My endorsment of any candidate would have little or no value. I like Ken, because he worked at passing the smoking ban. I like Chris, because he gave me good advice during my campaign. I like Steve, because of the honesty he expresses when I talk to him one on one. As you know the important endorsment is the one from the voters.

    I will put a plug in for one man, even if you as a Republican will not take it serious. Democrate, Don Dunn, is the right man for the 5th District. I know you don’t live in the 5th, but I do thank you for the opportunity you have just given me to endorse Don Dunn.

    Your friend, Jim Adams, a fellow Republican.

  7. hocomd said

    Ken Ulman was quoted as saying, “[I] have a tremendous amount of support among Democrats, Republicans and independents in the community. [I am] very proud of [my] deep, bipartisan support.”

    Wonderful. Very happy for him. When are his bipartisan supporters coming out to rally for him like these 21 people did?

  8. Ann said

    WOW! I watched the video (only 13 minutes, definitely worth watching), what a heartfelt endorsement from some pretty influential folks. Many people are not going to vote the party line for a number of reasons: they feel they were not included in the public process; they need an experienced manager to lead the Howard County, a leader who is sincere, and is not looking for the higher position; and they can see that Ken Ulman is disingenuous, and arrogant and wants to use Howard County as a stepping stone.

    True leaders have a vision, are able to communicate that vision, and willing to listen. Ulman has not demonstrated any of these traits. He has no Vision (only a negative smear campaign), therefore has not communicated it to the people. He did not listen during the Comp Lite issue.

    The only communication that Ulman is putting out is a negative and campaign smears. What kind of vision is that? What kind of leader is that? I feel sorry for the citizens who supported him, I am sure he has been a disappointment.

  9. mary smith said

    Please provide the names of the independents so that any claims of further misrepresentations can be averted.

    Plural, please, just as you stated.

  10. Jim Adams said

    Observer, I am humbled that any one would think an endorsement from me would make a difference. But you have given me the opportunity, with your posting, to tell you that I do support Don Dunn, he is the right candidate for the 5th District County Council position in Howard Co.

    I did see”kenny” last night, but I forgot to ask him if he was going to have a press conference. I had other things on my mind. Sorry Observer.

  11. hocomd said

    For Mary’s question:

    Coile (Director, Columbia Association Board)
    Ford (Director of Public Relations, Turf Valley Resort)
    Lederer (Ellicott City Activist)

    Since that is more than one then the plural is appropriate.

    Others may not have been identified but I verified these three through voter registration records.

    Alec Adams and Cathy Hudson are Republicans. Alec is a former chairman of the Democratic Central Committee.

    As I understand it was supposed to be a Democrats for Merdon .. but… I suppose the organizers didn’t want to exclude anyone that expressed an interest in joining them.

    I hope that answers your challenge err question. 😉

  12. Hayduke said

    Endorsed: By Those Who Live, Work and Appreciate Our Quality of Life in Howard County!

    Hmm. Where have I seen that before?

    Oh, right.

    I guess I see what you’re getting at, but don’t you think the reference is a little too subtle for most people to get? Or are we going to use some trickery and claim this headline was first posted here and the “Me Too” Kid (remember that?) struck again.

  13. hocomd said

    I am sure it is too subtle for most. I couldn’t resist. I won’t claim that it was used here first. Ken coined the phrase shortly after Merdon got the Sun and Post endorsements.

    I see your point about the “Me Too Kid”. Just trying to make a point. That point being… well you see what I am getting at.

  14. tomkidd said

    that endorsed line was up on ken’s website way before chris had his press conference. i believe he posted that just a little bit after the sun endorsement of merdon

  15. hocomd said

    Yes, I am being tongue in cheek. Should I take it down?

  16. No.

  17. hocomd said

    I moved

    Endorsed: By Those Who Live, Work and Appreciate Our Quality of Life in Howard County!

    Quote from Ken Ulman October 2006

    from this post to the quotes page.

  18. observer said

    Jim, who is this Don Dunn guy you keep talking about, is he running for something? which county?

  19. Freemarket said

    Jim- I am seeing a lot more Dunn signs popping up in the western end.

    Separately, I also saw some signs at the Glenwood library for Larry Blickman, who is running against Kay Hartleb for Register of Wills. His slogan on his signs is “Where there is a will, there is a way”. I get the pun, but even still, I don’t understand what that means.

  20. hocomd said


    Maybe you will like this, maybe you won’t care.

    Blickman. Hmmm. I live next door to Kay Hartleb. She is in one word “wonderful”.

    Blickman gives her crap because no one knows about the office. Jeez. She has run that place extremely well – no scandals, no problems, and the office staff loves her.

    I will go out with her and people come out of the wood work to thank her for the service her office provides. She is grateful and embarassed at the same time.

    Believe me. The people who need to know about that office know about that office. She knows every deputy sheriff and cop in the county.

    Where there is a will, there is a way – oh boy.

    The guy literally blows into Howard County, waits until the last day to register to run, asks “How much does the job pay?” to the clerk at the Board of Elections. Then they call Kay to get an answer. He should be thankful that Kay is a true lady. I would have given him an answer he would not have appreciated.

  21. Nanners said

    Jim Adams, Am I seeing triple? We get it. You’re supporting don dunn.

    Nanners (an independent for Merdon)

  22. Freemarket said

    Maybe his slogan should be “So, like how much does this job pay, anyway?”

  23. […] Mary Catherine Cochran sent this open letter to me and Hayduke regarding the 22 Democrat and Independents who endorsed Chris Merdon on October 23rd. I was hoping that all of this would just blow over… silly me. You may use this, unaltered, if you like… or ignore it- as you wish. […]

  24. Robie Somsak…

    […]Democrats & Independents for Merdon (Updated) « Howard County Maryland Blog[…]…

  25. how to get in shape…

    […]Democrats & Independents for Merdon (Updated) « Howard County Maryland Blog[…]…

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