Will the real Larry Hogan please stand up?

download 3Larry Hogan is a Republican governor in a very blue state, Maryland, and is running for a second and final term with a favorability rating that has consistently hovered around 70 percent. That favorability rating is second among all governors. Only Republican Charlie Baker of another blue state, Massachusetts, has a higher favorability score.
Does any Democrat have a snowball's chance in hell to unseat this extremely popular incumbent governor? More specifically, does the Democrat who will be selected in the primary election on June 26 from a current field of nine candidates to challenge Governor Hogan in the general election in November have a fighting chance to unseat the incumbent?
The answer is a resounding yes, but only if the campaign focuses on the right issues; issues that will crack that favorability rating wide open and expose the reality of the past four years.


People are “Upset!”

  • Published in Local

County examines council representation to add diversity

MoCo LogoA County commission chairperson has tasked the Montgomery County Charter Review Commission with changing the composition of the County’s nine Council districts after residents said they believe they are under-represented by At-Large Council members.

Montgomery County Charter Review Commission chairperson Paul Bessel said reducing or eliminating the at-large Council seats is among the options the commission is considering.

The chief complaint is that too many At-Large Council members live in one area, the City of Takoma Park, which is located in the south-eastern region of the County. Takoma Park borders Washington, D.C. and Prince George's County.

Bessel said people who primarily live in Gaithersburg, Germantown and Clarksburg - the fastest growing area in Montgomery County – said they believe their region of the County is not represented by at-large members.


Instead of term limits consider changing the game with public finance

Those of you who are readers of the Montgomery County Sentinel are likely well aware on the evening of September 19 the Sentinel conducted a debate with local attorneys Robin Ficker providing the arguments for term limits on members of the County Council and the County Executive and Paul Bessel arguing against the need for such term limits.

During the debate, Mr. Ficker argued term limits encourages more individuals to run for office in that term limits result in more open seats. By not facing incumbents who have reached their term limit, Mr. Ficker argues, the likelihood of winning a seat increases and makes running for office more attractive.

Mr. Bessel countered this claim by pointing to a litany of studies and data that  demonstrate that this assumption is clearly not the case. Moreover, Mr. Bessel went on to state quite emphatically that, if increasing the numbers of individuals who run for office is a legitimate goal of term limits, then it can more effectively be accomplished, not with term limits, but with public funding of elections which makes running for office more affordable.

Regardless of which side of the term limits argument you find yourself, the issue of public funding of elections and whether it actually does impact significantly the number of individuals who may choose to run for office is an issue worthy of considering.


Ficker and Bessel debate merits of county term limits

  • Published in Local

Bessel  Ficker - Term Limits DebatePaul Bessel, left, and Robin Ficker, right, take part in a debate over term limits in Montgomery County. PHOTOS BY MARK POETKER  

ROCKVILLE -- A debate about term limits Monday night featured an argument based on studies and facts against one centered on a distrust of local elected officials.

During the debate moderated by Montgomery County Sentinel executive editor Brian Karem, term limits opponent Paul Bessel debated term limit advocate Robin Ficker at the Montgomery County Council Chambers about the merits of Question B on the fall ballot.
If passed, five of the nine council members would not be allowed to run for re-election in 2018.

"We need an infusion of new talent," said Ficker.

"I can't find any study that says term limits result in anything good," said Bessel.


Sentinel Hosts Live-Stream Debate on Term Limits

  • Published in Local

Robin Ficker and Paul Bessel agree to debate each side of the issue


ROCKVILLE - Attorney Robin Ficker and Attorney Paul Bessel will square off against each other in a live-stream web event hosted by the Montgomery County Sentinel Monday, September 19 in the Council Hearing Room (3rd floor) in the County Council Building at 100 Maryland Ave., Rockville.

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