The following letter was submitted by Peter Smith, a Severn resident who is seeking to fill the open seat for District 1 on the Anne Arundel County Council. The council has scheduled a vote regarding the seat on March 5.
It is often said that anything worth having is worth fighting for. This has been the story of my life. Since I was a child, my efforts to do well and help others were often fraught with steep hills and long roads. I’ve learned along the way that despite the difficulties and strong head winds it is important to always focus.
My candidacy for the vacant seat on the County Council has thrust me into those same winds once again. This hasn’t been a typical campaign where candidates would have visited with prospective constituents and given the residents of the 1st District an opportunity to make an informed decision. Therefore, you haven’t been afforded the opportunity to get to know me. I felt it appropriate to reach out to you to let you know who I am.
Currently, I’m a finance and manpower manager for the United States Government. I plan, program, and budget financial assets and human manpower. It is a career that has taught me the value and the importance of being a good steward of tax payer funds and to think creatively about ways to maximize limited resources. Both good skills to have in managing tight county budgets.
I have also served in the United States Marine Corps for the last fourteen years. I initially chose to join because of the educational opportunities, but soon fell in love with something much deeper and meaningful. The Marine Corps instilled in me a belief in confidence and sacrifice. Furthermore, the opportunity to be part of an organization that represents the best of who we are as citizens is something I have cherished. The Marines have developed my leadership capabilities and given me a sense of purpose I could not have obtained elsewhere. That’s why I gladly deployed to Afghanistan when our country’s mission there required me.
During my career, I sought to always improve myself. I attended night school, completed my degree in Information Technology. I attended the Marine Corps Officer Candidate School and earned my commission into the officer ranks. That drive also pushed me to be a responsible husband and parent to two wonderful children.
So, why do I choose to serve you? Because it is the right thing to do. I believe you deserve someone who will put your interests at heart. You deserve someone who is open, accountable, and willing to serve this community in the same honorable fashion in which I’ve served this nation. I don’t pretend to be the perfect person, and I won’t be when I hold this seat. Mahatma Gandhi once said, “In the midst of untruth, truth will persist.” The truth is my allegiance is only to the citizens of District 1 and the resounding call to ensure Anne Arundel County remains vibrant and a safe haven for families and businesses. The truth is I care about this community and will do my best to represent it in a respectable manner.
I chose to make this district my home and to raise my children here. I have been blessed with an area that has given my family great neighbors and friends. I am proud to say I’m a resident of Anne Arundel County. I’m proud to say my daughter is a student at Jessup Elementary School. And, I would be proud to represent you.
I have not endured this contentious process alone. My opponent in this appointment process is Michael Wagner. He too deserves credit for enduring the acrimony for this long. Michael has done a lot for our community. His legacy of service is well noted. I find it unfortunate that our paths have collided in such manner. No matter what the outcome, I hope to keep his respect, earn his friendship, and continue to work with him serving this community.
As March 5 draws near, the council is faced with a daunting task. Each of them has been chosen to be a voice for their districts. Though they may differ on policies and decisions, I’m hopeful that they will not allow “politics” to define who they are because there is a community that doesn’t have a voice and whose silence is testament to the political process that has enveloped this situation. Though I hope to be the person selected at the end of this process, I’m mindful of the fact that what is even more significant is the obligation to provide District 1 with a seat at the table. Why? Because it is the right thing to do.