Thoughts from the Publisher’s Desk

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Some reflections on Tuesday’s election:

– Although I was never wowed by his charm, eloquence or reform agenda like a majority of the country over the last two years, I felt a tremendous sense of pride in our country for electing Barack Obama as our next president. No matter what happened on Tuesday, it was going to be historic. There was going to be a first either way. There would either be the country’s first female vice president or its first black president. For a variety of reasons, this outcome was more significant and a reason to celebrate in my mind, no matter where your political allegiance falls. Sure, there are those who are disappointed and disgusted by the election’s outcome, as the left-wing extremists would have been if McCain had won, but a little perspective confirms this election is one to remember forever. It’s a moment for the entire country to cherish, especially an African-American community that has been seeking political respect and equality in this country for decades. In Obama’s touching acceptance speech, one line stood out: “This victory alone is not the change we seek – it is only the chance for us to make that change.” It was a simple statement with a deep meaning. The election does not mean a change has automatically occurred. The opportunity is his now to ensure that change happens and now we get to watch and critique what he makes of it in the face of unprecedented high expectations.

– It was no shocker slots were approved by Maryland voters this week, but it did surprise me that not one jurisdiction in the state voted against the constitutional amendment adding them to the state’s gambling offerings. In Worcester County, 55 percent of voters wanted to see slots. Statewide, 59 percent said bring them on. In Montgomery County, where more people voted than any other jurisdiction in the state, the vote was close with 52 percent voting for slots. In Baltimore County, which had the second highest number of voters turn out on Tuesday, 59 percent said yes.

– Overshadowed by the slots referendum was the early voting question on the ballot. Its overwhelming passage (60 percent in Worcester and 69 percent statewide) means the legislature will now draft a law allowing qualified citizens the ability to vote two weeks prior to any election in any part of the state.

– In the grand scheme of things, little Worcester County does not matter much as far as the presidential election. For that matter, Maryland has even become irrelevant because it’s a foregone conclusion the state will vote Democratic as far as the presidency goes. Regardless, it’s worth pointing out the election proved the county continues to lean right of center as far as presidential politics with the McCain/Palin ticket taking 57 percent, or 13,787 votes compared to 10,037 for the Obama/Biden campaign.

– Surprisingly, without the absentee count included, Worcester went to the left in the Congressional District 1 race, choosing Democrat Frank Kratovil over Republican Andy Harris with the Queen Anne’s state’s attorney receiving 53 percent of the vote.

– Readers will remember it was once a big deal to change the manner in which Board of Education members assumed their position. For years, the school board was comprised of folks selected by the state’s governor based heavily on suggestions from the sitting governor’s party’s local central committee. All that changed in 2000 when voters decided through a referendum to take that power away from the governor and elect the members themselves every four years. Since that first election, the result has been a lack of interest. These days the biggest competition to the sitting school board members is from “write-in” candidates because history shows nobody challenges the incumbents. In this week’s election, school board members Jonathan Cook, Gary Mumford and Sara Thompson were re-elected without competition. We still think school board members should be elected, considering the massive funds involved in the school system’s budget, but it’s safe to say we overestimated the local interest in these seats.

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