A letter from Mike Shay.
Fellow Community Advocates,
I’ve come to know many of you because we’ve worked together on community issues.
My greatest friendships have been forged with people who came together in an effort to protect the environment and to work toward sustainable communities. It might have been saving Franklin Point, the battle on school capacity, or supporting local independent businesses over development of big box stores and strip malls like the Deale Safeway complex and the Target in Wayson’s Corner.
We’ve won some great victories against some incredible odds.
Now we’ve got the opportunity for another victory, a unique chance to build upon our accomplishments and turn our community strength into an enduring political force.
In the race for Anne Arundel County Executive, many of you may be considering giving your support to Joanna Conti because she is the Democratic candidate, but I am asking you to consider supporting me in this race, and I will tell you why it makes sense that you should do so.
We’ve got a Republican incumbent weakened and tainted by scandal, and a Democratic candidate who, as an unknown entity, is not generating enthusiasm within the Party, much less with the voters.
Joanna Conti was unopposed in the Democratic primary, yet she received only 28,000 of approximately 38,000 votes cast. That means that nearly 10,000 Democrats went to the polls in a Democratic primary and “blank voted” instead of choosing the party’s nominee. The situation was nearly identical for John Leopold.*
In 1998, as a Democrat, I voted for Janet Owens. Many Democrats voted for her. We thought we knew what we were getting. We thought that because she was a Democrat, Janet Owens would represent certain values and interests. And for the next eight years we had to fight her at every turn as she encouraged policies that ran counter to our interests and values.
So it is important to know who the Democratic candidate is.
According to Colorado Politics, Joanna Conti was a “Republican masquerading as a Democrat. A political novice… Conti has no history of working to help Democrats – only in asking Democrats to help her.”
What qualifications and what values would Joanna Conti bring to office?
According to political columnist Eric Hartley, while you and I worked long and hard to foster stable and sustainable communities, Joanna Conti made money by peddling get rich quick schemes, encouraging real estate speculation and teaching people how to benefit from the financial misfortunes of others. (The Capital, 9/30 Vote Conti – BUT WAIT! There’s more!)
After all that we have been through, do we dare risk all our gains by taking a chance like this?
You all know me, you know what Mike Shay stands for and what I have accomplished. You know my word is good. My family came to Anne Arundel County a long time ago, starting with nothing, and we worked to become respected and established members of our communities. I have been an independent businessman in South County for more than 20 years. I have a degree in business management from California State University . I started and run my own small construction company. I’m a U.S. Coast Guard 100-ton licensed captain. I own and sail one of the few remaining skipjacks on the Chesapeake Bay. I have also partnered in saving, restoring and operating the Richard Lee, a classic 110 passenger vessel which provides charters, cruises and tours of the beautiful West and Rhode Rivers in south Anne Arundel County.
I am—and have been—your neighbor. I have been fighting alongside you for more than 25 years for causes in which we both believe.
I will be 60 years old in a few days and at some community meetings, I’ve been the youngest activist there. It’s inevitable that one day I’ll no longer able to stand up by myself, let alone stand up for the cause.
We have already accomplished much in this campaign, by discouraging Janet Owens from becoming a candidate and by making sure that our issues are part of the debate.
The excitement building around the Green Party candidacy in this race is already inspiring young people to become involved, and a good showing for this campaign would embolden and energize even more young people.
Our biggest accomplishment will come when this campaign succeeds in such a way that environmental and community advocates will never again become marginalized in the political process. A victory of the Green Party in this race would send a message to Democrats and Republicans everywhere that politics has changed for good–and for the better.
You have a chance to make your vote really count in this election.
You have to make a decision. You can cast your vote for an unknown quantity with a philosophy markedly different from our own and who will almost certainly maintain the status quo, or you can vote for the future, for someone who shares your vision of a thriving local community that is economically and environmentally sustainable.
I have shared my reasons for entering this race for County Executive. As I like to say, “We live in a beautiful and unique area not by accident, but by hard work.” What I am now asking you to do is visit my website and enjoy a brief and fun video that creatively highlights one of our main concerns.
Then please consider becoming part of this exciting effort to make sure that our issues are never again marginalized. We now have a rare opportunity to provide a powerful place at the political table for the next generation.
Sign up to volunteer, donate a few bucks, or just spread the word: http://electmikeshay.com/
Come Election Day you will have an investment in a candidate you have known, an investment in our county’s future, and the knowledge that, in this election at least, your vote really did make a difference.