We will have at least six new County Council members on the seven-member Council after the election. Trumbauer, Fink, Walker, and Grasso are term-limited, and Peroutka and Smith lost their primaries. Andrew Pruski is the only member who will return if reelected.
This comes at a time when the county is facing unprecedented challenges regarding the understaffing of firefighting, police, and public schools, problems that are all compounded by increasing land development along with ongoing efforts to protect the truly special place we live. A “green” Council with no experience with county or state procedures and budgets could spell disaster for county residents as growth continues unchecked while schools and public safety decline.
Dawn Myers brings a bright spot into District 5. She is running for Council in the district that represents Severna Park, Arnold, and Cape St. Claire; Peroutka is the current Council member. Myers is asking tough questions and knows what she is talking about.
She is asking why Howard County spends half of what our public school system spends on administrative expenses: 1.60 percent of total budget vs. 3.06 percent in fiscal 2017. That amounts to $13 million that should be going to teachers and instruction. This obviously isn’t information the Board of Education publicizes. It’s the result of Myers’ analysis of publicly available budget documents (see this page on her web site: votefordawn.com/education).
Myers is asking why Montgomery County Schools are able to produce 153 National Merit semifinalists, Howard County 51, and Anne Arundel County only 5. Granted, there are about 50,000 more students in Montgomery County than in Anne Arundel. However, Howard County has about 30,000 fewer. Anne Arundel, with about 84,000 students, should have closer to 15 to 50 semifinalists based on our size—three to ten times as many as we have!
Dawn Myers is asking why we are not outraged by the New York Times singling out of our country in a 5 December 2017 article covering a study conducted by Stanford University: “In Maryland’s Anne Arundel County, third-graders test above the national average. But growth there lags behind Chicago, where the poverty rate is about five times higher.” Our median household income ranks 4th in the state and 22nd in the county, yet our schools have dropped from 6th of the 23 Maryland counties to 12th place during Mr. Schuh’s tenure. Overall, Maryland schools have dropped from consistently being in 1st place in 2009–13 to 6th place in current national rankings. We are losing ground.
Myers has the budget and finance background to ask tough questions to ensure our education funds are spent in a way that directly benefits the children: on teachers and instructional needs.
Effecting change within a government organization requires tremendous patience, perseverance, and, most of all, experience. In addition to raising two children in her home neighborhood of Cape St. Claire, Dawn Myers has spent her career as a fiscal policy analyst and has the temperament and focus to bring about meaningful change.
As a policy analyst for the Maryland General Assembly, she brought financial efficiency and positive results to state operations after reviewing the budgets and expenditures of the Departments of Natural Resources, Agriculture, Environment, Planning, and the Maryland Energy Administration. She succeeded in eliminating duplicative government initiatives and uncovering wasteful spending in several agencies.
Myers continued her work bringing efficiency and results to government by overseeing and implementing the budget for the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.
Her opponent, Amanda Fiedler, knows politics. Fiedler has spent 20 years working for SRCP Media, which is described on her website as a company that “develops strategic content and places advertising for GOP candidates and Political Action Groups across the country.”
We don’t need more politics in the County Council. What we need are Council members with experience in fiscal management who will ask tough questions to ensure that Anne Arundel County government again works effectively and efficiently for its citizens. Residents of District 5 have a stark choice this November. We need a Council member with a proven track record in fiscal responsibility. We need Dawn Meyers on the County Council.
Janet Holbrook is an epidemiologist and is on the faculty of Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is a member of WISE Women of Maryland PAC.