Congressman Andy Harris has some serious competition this November. As more people in Maryland’s Congressional District One are meeting Democratic candidate Jesse Colvin, they are getting excited.
Folks on the Eastern Shore – on both sides of the aisle – have been dissatisfied with Representative Harris’ voting record and his lack of support for local communities for a long time; however, until now there has not been an effective alternative. Jesse Colvin gives us that choice. He appeals not only to Democrats but also to Republicans, Independents, and those too discouraged to vote in the past. Jesse Colvin is running with the promise of a new generation of leadership and the possibility that comes with a representative that puts country above party.
Colvin is “a different kind of Democrat.” He has a resume that appeals to all voters, regardless of political affiliation. From an immigrant family, he is a fourth-generation Marylander. Motivated by the events of 9-11, he studied Arabic (he is fluent) and Middle Eastern history at Duke University. After graduation, he taught English to Iraqi refugees in Syria. While there, he saw the U.S. war effort was not going well and joined the Army. He earned a coveted spot with the Army Rangers and served four combat tours in Afghanistan.
As a military veteran and one of many young veterans running for public office across the country this year, Jesse is uniquely situated to work across the aisle and help break the gridlock in Congress that is keeping our country from moving forward. That is why he is proud to be endorsed by the nonpartisan veterans group called With Honor.
With Honor emphasizes, “electing next-generation veterans to create a more effective and less polarized government.” They endorse candidates Noah’s Ark style – one Democrat and one Republican at a time. Their pledge is to put principles before politics. One requirement for those that accept the group’s endorsement is that once they are elected, these veterans must get together for a cup of coffee once a month with a member of the opposing party.
After four tours in Afghanistan and one in South Korea near the De-Militarized Zone (DMZ), Colvin left the Army and went to graduate school at Columbia University, earning a Master’s degree in International Affairs. After graduation, he was recruited to investigate fraud at a Wall Street investment bank.
So what does Jesse Colvin stand for? For openers, he is focused on protecting the 54,000 people in the First District who rely on the Affordable Care Act for healthcare coverage and the 70,000 who could be excluded from Medicaid if their rights are not protected in Congress. While Andy Harris has publicly stated, “some people are just uninsurable,” Colvin will fight to ensure all Americans have access to quality and affordable healthcare. Colvin wants to open up Medicare to any individual or business that wants to buy into it. He also wants to convert the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) into Medikids, a program that would provide Medicare insurance to all children from their first breath until adulthood.
Colvin knows that the Eastern Shore depends on the health of the Chesapeake Bay. He will fight to preserve the Chesapeake Bay Program, which is demonstrably restoring the Bay. In addition, he supports the goal of adding 10 billion oysters to the Chesapeake Bay by 2025. This program will help clean our Bay and provide a source of job growth and stimulus to the local economy. As he says, “a thriving environment is good for business.”
Colvin is prioritizing the opioids crisis as a focus of his campaign. Our district’s rate of opioid deaths is 50% higher than the national average. Unlike Andy Harris, who takes thousands of dollars in donations from the pharmaceutical industry, Jesse is refusing to take corporate PAC money. He wants to get more federal funding to address this epidemic and supports prevention, treatment, and recovery programs that demonstrate results.
Whether you are a Republican, an Independent, or a Democrat, by supporting Jesse Colvin you have an opportunity to vote for someone who will fight for the people of District One, someone who will truly support you.
Susan Olsen is a member of the Talbot County Democratic Forum. She and contributor Steve Heyneman write from Cambridge. (demforum.com)