We are two months away from the Maryland Gubernatorial General Election on November 8th! This issue of The Skipjack Current contains additional information about some of the local candidates running. 

Mark your calendars for the 2022 General Election Candidate Forums, hosted at the Lexington Park Library.  This is a wonderful opportunity to ask our candidates and their opponents questions in a live format. 

On October 3rd, starting at 5:30 pm the first forum will feature candidates for Delegate 29 B, Commissioner District 1, Commissioner District 2, and Commissioner District 4. On October 12th, starting at 5:30 pm the second forum will feature candidates for Delegate 29 C, Commissioner President, and Board of Education District 1.

A meet and greet is scheduled from 5:00 pm - 5:30 pm before each event.

Virtual option available.

Thank you to the sponsors of this event: League of Women Voters of St. Mary's County, St. Mary's NAACP 7025, St. Mary's County Library, and the Center for the Study of Democracy.

For a listing of candidates who will appear on the ballot for the General Election, please visit: 

https://www.stmarysdemocrats.org/candidates

Please consider joining a candidate committee to help with a particular campaign! This is your chance to make a difference, so reach out to us at [email protected] for more information!

If you'd like to deliver candidate literature to neighborhoods whenever is convenient for you, send us an email at [email protected] and we will get you set up with the materials and a list of addresses!

If you would like to help out with phone banking, several happy hours will be added to the schedule, but they can be done any afternoon on your own, as well.  Email us at [email protected] and we will set you up with the numbers and script!  The phone banking is really important as these will be our second touches for many voters.


Upcoming Events:

Please mark your calendars and join us at these events to support our candidates and the Democrats.  Any amount of time and energy you can put in is greatly appreciated.  Please consider inviting others to attend as well!

September 7 (Wednesday) 6:45pm Phone Banking Happy Hour – on zoom, link will be provided, RSVP to [email protected]

September 9 (Friday) 6 pm, Wine and Local Trivia Fundraiser for Brandon Russell at Port of Leonardtown Winery (visit https://secure.actblue.com/donate/winetrivia to purchase tickets)

September 10 (Saturday) 12-4 pm - St. Mary's County Rocks the Vote Fundraiser for Bill Bates and Natalie Weech at VFW Post 2632 (purchase tickets at https://secure.actblue.com/donate/rocksthevote)
September 11 (Sunday) 10 am – Democratic Candidate Lit Drop - meet at Hollywood Fire Department
September 15 (Thursday) 6-7:30pm - Backyard Bash for Bill Bates at Julia Nichols' home. RSVP to [email protected]. You will receive address after you RSVP. 

September 17 (Saturday) 9:30-11am - Breakfast Fundraiser for Marsha Williams for Board of Education. Clarks Rest Clubhouse, 41310 Chestnut Hill St, Leonardtown. 

September 22-25 (Thursday through Sunday) - Mary's County Fair - please sign up to help staff the Democrats' table at https://www.signupgenius.com/go/30E054BAEA729A3F85-stmarys

September 25 (Sunday) 10 am - Democratic Candidate Lit Drop – meet at 40950 Merchants Ln, Leonardtown

September 25 (Sunday) 4-6:30pm - Commission Candidates Reception for Natalie Weech and Sheila Milburn. At the Inn at Leonardtown, 41655 Park Ave., Leonardtown. RSVP by September 20 to Julie Randall: text to 301-904-9426.

October 6, 2022  (Thursday) 6:00 PM - Support Brian Crosby's Campaign: An Evening By The River - Woodlawn Farm, 16040 Woodland Dr, Ridge, MD 20680. Purchase tickets at https://secure.ngpvan.com/xUcE3UbrZ0WgenrBOUMjkw2
 


Candidate Spotlight

 

Brandon Russell - Candidate for County Commissioner, District 2 

Brandon Russell is a proud lifelong resident of St. Mary’s County, MD. He graduated from the University of Maryland, University College with a Bachelor’s in English. Brandon worked full-time and paid his way through college. He has over a decade of business management experience, and is a leader who produces results. During his career, Brandon has overseen the development and promotion of numerous individuals.

Brandon has been active in the local community for years as an organizer and voice for equality. Brandon suggested a change to the by-laws of the local Human Rights Commission which resulted in legislation going to the statehouse. In 2019, he worked with other local leaders to find a practical, common sense solution to an invented controversy surrounding Drag Queen Story Hour at public libraries.

In 2020, Brandon helped organize the local March for Equality which drew over 1500 people to stand in solidarity and support equality for all. He helped create, and host, a series of panels called “Shut Up and Listen, It’s My Turn to Speak'' which focused on experiences of people of color, LGBTQ+, and other marginalized communities. Later that year, he assisted in coordinating a local Women’s March where several hundred people gathered in support of women’s rights.

Brandon joined the board of Pride SOMD in 2020, a group that plans a tri-county pride celebration each year. The same year, he joined hundreds of educators, police officers, and first responders to support pay parity and urge the County Commissioners to do the right thing with the county budget.

In 2021, Brandon led efforts to push for a fair and balanced local redistricting process after an all-Republican board of County Commissioners appointed an all-Republican Redistricting Board. These efforts, across several months and multiple meetings, resulted in community voices being heard. Brandon also attended the St. Mary’s County Citizens Academy to learn more about local government in 2021.

Passionate about land use and development, Brandon has organized opposition to chain retail stores invading his local area with too many locations. He has also raised community awareness about various development proposals throughout the county, enabling residents to have a greater say in what is built in their backyard.

Currently, Brandon serves as the 2nd Vice Chair of the St. Mary’s County Democratic Central Committee. He also serves on the Rural County Committee and LGBTQ+ Diversity Leadership Council for the Maryland Democratic Party.

 

Natalie Weech - Candidate for County Commissioner President


Natalie earned her B.S. degree in Legal Studies while juggling being a single mom of two young boys and working full time. She continued to Law School to fulfill her desire to help other survivors of domestic violence. Natalie was recognized by the Florida Bar Foundation for her pro bono work with domestic violence survivors. Upon moving to St. Mary's County, Natalie has continued to work virtually with a law firm in Orlando.

Understanding firsthand the need for affordable housing, Natalie is on the Board of Commissioners for the St. Mary's County Housing Authority. The Board is committed to expanding access to affordable housing as well as maintaining the stock of existing affordable housing.

Natalie believes her legal training has prepared her for Commissioner President. She has training in complex negotiations, collaboration, and legal writing. She understands and is trained to help depolarize competing sides and bring about collaboration.  She is looking forward to applying her expertise in negotiations and law as the Commissioner President to support St. Mary’s County. Natalie believes that the County Board of Commissioners should be as diverse as the people they represent.

Mrs. Weech comes from a military family and grew up on military bases, and in communities just like St. Mary's County. Both her Grandfathers served in the Navy, her Dad served 30 years in the Air Force, her oldest son is a West Point Graduate and a current Captain in the Army and her middle son served in the Air Force before being medically retired. She is an avid softball coach for her 9 year old daughter, who attends a local public school. Natalie is married to G.N. Ehan Weech who is a Supervisory Engineer at PAX.

 

Sheila Milburn - Candidate for County Commissioner, District 1

Born and raised in the Leonardtown area of St. Mary’s County, MD. Sheila is the fifth and youngest child of Joseph E. Milburn, Sr. (Dec) and Sarah A. Mason Milburn. She is a stage 1 Colon Cancer survivor. The daughter of a WWII veteran, the sister of a Vietnam Veteran and relative of servicemen/women worldwide, Sheila has a warm spot in her heart for the needs of veterans.

Sheila holds a B.S. in Business Administration from Univ. of MD University College (currently UMGC); a MS in Management and an MBA in Human Resources, both from Florida Tech. Shelia has over 35 years of Civilian Service for the DoD Navy at Patuxent River, MD. Sheila worked in acquisition related positions to include Budget Formulation & amp; Execution, Contract Administration, Management Analysis, Operations Research Analysis, Program Management and oral/written communication. She believes our citizens should not need a degree in finance to understand their county’s operations and capital projects budgets. As a Commissioner, Sheila will use her budget and finance experience to ensure St. Mary’s County has user-friendly and transparent budgets.

In addition, Shelia has over 25 years of experience as a licensed Maryland Realtor and remains active to date. Her extensive experience as a realtor in St. Mary’s County has given Sheila firsthand knowledge of our significant lack of affordable housing. She knows that this is a serious problem for businesses and NAS PAX to recruit young professionals, the school system attracting educators, service workers, and those citizens who fall into the Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed (ALICE) category, also known as the working poor.

Sheila’s community service includes as a Certified Lay Servant of Zion UM Church and the Associate Matron of Fidelity Chapter #60 of the Order of Eastern Star. She is a Food Distribution Volunteer and an Elder Caregiver for senior family members. She serves on both the United Methodist Church, Washington East District Board of Church and Location and the Wellness and Missions Board.

Sheila is passionate about the health and well-being of the people and natural resources of St. Mary’s County, MD. She believes in pro-active leadership. She has great respect for St. Mary’s County’s first responders and wants to work collaboratively with the Sheriff’s Department to eradicate crime in our County. As a Commissioner, Sheila will give more thought to the County’s future and use that to plan the current, giving the County a better chance at excelling as a community.

Sheila is a country girl at heart with a great love for her community and its residents. A vote for Sheila is a vote for a better St. Mary’s.

 

Steve Tuttle -  Candidate for County Commissioner, District 4 

Steve was born in California, but was raised in Texas. Steve's father served in the United States Marine Corps while his mother was a factory worker and stay-at-home mom. He has two sisters, Jennifer and Jessica. When Steve was 16, his family moved to Crofton, MD. Steve graduated from Arundel Senior High in 1996.

Moved to action after the terror attacks on 9/11/01, Steve joined the United States Navy. While stationed at Patuxent River Naval Air Station from 2005 to 2008, Steve fell in love with St. Mary's County. After 11 years of service with the Navy, Steve accepted a job with a contractor at NAS PAX. In 2013, Steve married his husband Phillip in Leonardtown. Phillip is a veteran of the United States Air Force, having served as a member of the military police.

Steve was living in Baltimore, MD, on September 11th, 2001, when he saw the terrorist attacks. Spurred to action, the next day, he enlisted in the Navy. His first deployment was on the USS Vinson (CVN-70), patrolling the operating area of the USS Kitty Hawk while it was in the Persian Gulf. Steve earned the National Defense, Sea Service, and Global War on Terrorism ribbons during this deployment. 

In August of 2003, he was transferred to Pensacola, FL, for training to become a "PR" Aviation Life Support Technician. Upon completion, he reported to Brunswick, ME, to Patrol Squadron 26 "VP-26" and was deployed to Sigonella, Sicily. He was awarded the Navy Achievement Medal, Good Conduct, Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, and the Kosovo Campaign Medal. 

Steve reported to PAX River with VXS-1, the squadron attached to the Naval Research Laboratory. He earned his "EAWS" Enlisted Aviation Warfare Specialist wings and his second Navy Achievement Medal. In 2008 he transferred back to Pensacola for C School training and in 2009 he reported to FRC Norfolk as "I" Level Maintenance. After four years in Norfolk, Steve decided to return to PAX River as a civilian and currently works as an Aviation Life Support Technician. 

Steve is a moderate Democrat who believes in building community connections. He has dedicated his life to serving the country and the local community.

Steve has served on the board of various local organizations including the St. Mary's County Animal Control Advisory Board, several HOA's, PFLAG, the Democratic Central Committee, and Wrapping Arms 'Round Many (WARM). Steve's passion lies in working with the WARM program to help homeless members of the community secure emergency shelter during the winter months in St. Mary's County. His efforts have been instrumental in creating partnerships with many local churches and volunteer groups to help the community.

 

Bill Bates - Candidate for Delegate 29 C

Bill lives in St. Mary’s County Maryland. He resides in Medley’s Neck, Leonardtown. He values the community, the bay, and environment. Bill is a member of Brooks United Methodist Church, Calvert County. He has attended the University of Maryland, University College, Adelphi MD; the Defense Equal Opportunity Management Institute, Patrick AFB, FL; and Prince George’s Community College, Largo, MD.

Bill currently works for the St. Mary’s County Sheriff’s Office as a Civilian Logistics Coordinator. He served 35 years with the Maryland Natural Resources Police (DNR), working in Southern Maryland most of his career. He retired at the rank of Captain after 35 years. He retired from the MD Army National Guard as a Master Sergeant after 31 years. His last assignment was Equal Opportunity Advisor for all National Guard units in the State of MD. He was deployed to the Pentagon after 9-11 for Security Operations. During the first Gulf War he was deployed to Saudi Arabia for Operation Desert Storm.

Bill has an extensive background and knowledge of the Legislative Process and is a very active participant in the process. He is on the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 8 Legislative Committee where he serves as Committee Chair. Bill served as President of the MD State Lodge of the Fraternal Order of Police and has served numerous terms as the President for local Natural Resources Police Lodge 8.

He is an effective leader with managerial expertise overseeing Budgets, Law Enforcement personnel and operations, Military Personnel, Emergency Operations, and Communications. Bill identifies problems and develops efficient plans to resolve them.

Bill is a member of Fraternal Order of Police, American Legion and VFW member.  He has been a member of the St. Mary’s Democratic Central Committee since 2018. In addition, Bill served on the Calvert County Democratic Central Committee as an alternate in 1996, and a candidate in 1994.  He is also a Trustee of Brooks Church. 

Bill moved to St. Leonard, Calvert County in 1985. He moved to St. Mary’s County in 1999 and became the resident of the Keepers Quarters at the Piney Point Light House. His job as a Natural Resources Police Officer involved patrolling both Calvert and St. Mary’s counties. Along with his own observations he had the opportunity to meet many residents of both counties. Through these interactions he developed a personal understanding of how the increased population and construction affected their way of life. He had the unique opportunity to see firsthand the deterioration of the Thomas Johnson Bridge, from the underside. 

The communities within District 29 C are not separated by the Patuxent River, rather they are united. The improvements to our infrastructure, such as the T.J. Bridge has the same importance to both counties. The support of our small businesses by stimulating tourism is critical to both counties. The need to have the best possible schools is shared. The desire to have safe communities with adequate law enforcement is the same. The desire to have adequate fire and emergency medical services is the same. The concern that pollution and unmanaged growth will destroy the fish, crabs, oysters, and wildlife is shared. 

Bill’s objective is to represent the residents of Maryland District 29 C as their State Delegate and bring tax dollars back to our community, for the benefit of our community. His experience with the legislative process provides him the ability to be an effective representative for District 29 C. Bill’s personal connection with the communities in both Calvert and St. Mary’s makes him the only candidate that can fairly represent the residents of District 29 C. Bill will keep the Land of Pleasant Living – PLEASANT!

 

The Skipjack Circle

We are two months away from the General Election on November 8th! We’re going to need all the help we can get to build a strong and successful democratic presence in St. Mary’s County. One of the easiest ways you can help is to join our recurring donor program, Skipjack Circle. 

Members have already enjoyed exclusive benefits over the past year (read more here: https://www.stmarysdemocrats.org/skipjack_circle)–so don’t miss out! One of the perks for donors at the Potomac and Chesapeake Levels are tickets to the annual Skipjack Gala.

 

Democratic Club

September 19 (Monday) 7-8 pm - Mary's County Democratic Club monthly meeting with mock candidate forum - this meeting will take place IN PERSON at St. Inie’s Coffee (46915 S Shangri La Dr, Lexington Park); we request all in attendance wear masks; please note that the coffee shop will not be open, so you will need to bring your own beverage.

Let's continue to support our Democratic candidates as we quickly approach the General Election! 

Thank you for your support!

You may now pay your dues online. Annual dues are $25 for an individual and $35 for a family. To join, renew, or make a donation to the club online, please visit the St. Mary’s Democratic Club Paypal [https://www.paypal.com/paypalme/stmarysdemclub] .

When paying, please include your email address and indicate whether you are a new or renewing member.

You can also mail a check to:

St. Mary’s County Democratic Club

PO BOX 631 Leonardtown, MD 20650


I Am St. Mary's

#IAMSTMARYS DEMOCRATIC WOMEN OF ST. MARY’S

SKIPJACK September 2022

 

❗️ALERT: The emails and Facebook postings from #IAMSTMARYS will be more frequent as campaign and GOTV activity increases. We’ll do our best to get the information out to you (and please forward to your family and friends). We want you to know what’s going on and where you can lend your time, energy, and support. 


Contact us via [email protected] if you are interested in getting our emails, for more information, or interested in joining the Democratic Women of St. Mary’s.  

Please be sure to have [email protected] in your contacts so you’ll see our emails. 

 

St. Mary's County Democrats

About

Change that matters. By authority St. Mary’s County Democratic Central Committee; Kaitlin Fraer, Treasurer