Friday, July 2–Berlin Mayor Eyes Delegate’s Seat

BERLIN – Speculation
became reality this week when current Berlin Mayor Gee Williams filed to run
for the Maryland House of Delegates.

Williams hopes to take
up the seat of Del. Jim Mathias, who is seeking the District 38B state senate

Less than a week before
the filing deadline, Williams faces four opponents for District 38B’s two
seats: incumbent Norm Conway, a Democrat; current Pocomoke Mayor Mike
McDermott, a Republican; and Marty Pusey, a Republican and director of
Prevention Services for the Worcester County Health Department; and Kaye
Kenney, a Wicomico Republican.

Over the last several
months, Williams said he was approached by many individuals, from politicians
to private citizens to business people, who asked him to consider running for

“It’s a decision that
actually took quite a bit of time to consider … it’s certainly the thing I
should do if I care about public service as much as I believe I do,” said

Williams said he is
humbled by the number of people who asked him to run.

Williams has a
background in business, as a newspaper editor and publisher for almost three
decades. He then spent four years as a public information officer for the
Maryland State Highway Administration and seven years at his current post,
director of development and marketing for the Community Foundation of the
Eastern Shore.

His public service
resume includes an extensive background in Worcester County politics. He helped
found the Democratic Club of Worcester County and spent two terms on the
county’s Democratic Central Committee.

William’s public office
experience began when he was elected to the Berlin Town Council, winning
election to two terms.

During his second term,
he stepped in as acting mayor after Mayor Tom Cardinale’s sudden death. He was
elected mayor outright in 2008.

Williams, a driving
force behind many of Berlin’s recent initiatives such as the expansion and
improvement of the wastewater treatment plant, says that Berlin’s progress will
go on without him.

“I think what we started
will continue,” said Williams.

The next three election
cycles will probably determine the kind of country the United States will be
for the rest of the century, he said.

“I think we need to have
the very best people that really reflect the values of the people in this area
more than ever,” said Williams.

His values reflect the
district’s values, said Williams.

Although he has 25 years
of political experience, Williams said he is not the typical politician,
calling himself a “principled pragmatist.”

He went on to say, “I’m
not one of those politicians who believe that partisanship is the most
important thing.”

When someone needs help
from their government, Williams said he does not ask which party they are
affiliated with.

“My core value is to do

things in the right way that actually gets results,” said Williams.               

He identified several
priorities he would pursue if elected to state office.

State government needs
to be more efficient and responsive, said Williams.

People expect
governments to prioritize what is important and live within their means,
Williams said.

In the 21st
Century, governments need a sustainable strategy to protect the environment,
particularly in an area that depends on tourism and agriculture, which is also
economically sustainable.

“We have to make
economic opportunities and environmental responsibility two sides of the same
coin,” said Williams.

A sustainable economic
environment depends on a healthy natural environment, he said.

“That’s thinking that’s
desperately needed at the state level,” said Williams.

The state should offer
economic incentives to go green, he said.     

“I do think that
Maryland has developed a reputation for not being business friendly because we
rely maybe on too much on our regulations rather than common sense incentives
to help people change their behavior,” Williams said.

Public education also
has to remain a priority, said Williams.

“We must make sure
educational excellence in our public schools continues, even during these
economically challenging times,” Williams said.

Williams wants to offer
his experience to help folks, Williams said.

“I very much enjoy
public service,” said Williams. “It’s really rewarding. It’s very demanding but
anything that’s worthwhile usually is.”