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Mr. or Ms. Candidate

What Will You Do To Protect Us?

       Summer doesn’t end the responsibilities of good citizenship. Our late spring deluges remind us that water continues to run downhill, with enough power to carry away a tree or a car plus all our human detritus, from misapplied fertilizer to carelessly sipped straws.
      With the coming heat and humidity, we’ll be dialing down our air conditioners and zooming off on holidays, adding more fossil fuel to climate change. From the world we’ve created, we can’t take a vacation.
      So the Primary Election we Marylanders have coming up just five days into astrological summer is an occasion we ignore at our peril. Making our public policy decisions is a job for people who weigh how our actions in the present affect our future.
      How do we figure out who those people are?
      First, get to know the people behind the names on the crop of political signs springing up around us. As we note in this week’s paper, the League of Women Voters has an online, easy-to-use guide to help us do just that. Find your state and local candidates at www.vote411.org. 
      Second, read the Maryland League of Conservation ­Voters’ 2018 Issue Guide: www.marylandconservation.org.
      “With a federal administration whose weakened regulatory agencies have gutted environmental protection, and persistent threats to defund critical support of the Chesapeake Bay Program, Maryland must defend itself,” the Guide reminds us.
      “Will we shrink from our responsibilities or affirm a posture of bold leadership, challenging other states to follow our example?”
       If you know the answer, it’s not a question.
       Among the priorities the Guide defines to protect our future:
• Educate ourselves as voters
• Make Maryland a leader in renewable energy 
• Improve the Bay ecosystem, including oyster sanctuaries and marine life, so that our waters are swimmable and fishable
• Embrace smarter development policies that protect forests and open space
• Reduce runoff from septics and farmlands.
      For each priority, the Guide suggests questions to ask the candidates when you meet them.
       Candidates for office at all levels are never more accessible than from now, as the Primary grows very close, to November, when we make our final decisions.
      Thus, now is the best time for you to ask them where they stand on the issues that matter to you. Among the suggestions are a couple we prep you for in this week’s paper:
• What’s your view on siting solar and wind facilities? 
• How do we balance the goal of more renewable energy with protecting farmlands?
Questions about water are especially important for us citizens of Chesapeake Country, given what Chesapeake Bay means to us economically, aesthetically and spiritually. Here are a few:
• What more do you think might be done to stem nutrient pollution from septic systems?
• What would you do to protect our waters from industrial-sized poultry operations?
• What can we do to help willing farmers make the transition to more sustainable practices?
     Here’s another:
• What should we be doing to protect the Chesapeake from potentially devastating damage when the Conowingo Dam, which traps fertilizers and sediment, reaches its capacity? 
    With Chicago-based Exelon seeking a new license to its dam, now is the time for politicians to work with the energy giant to protect Maryland’s waters.
     And, of course, remember to vote: early balloting runs June 14 to 21, and the old-fashioned Primary Election day is June 26.