Last night the Democratic candidates for District 16 Delegate met at Bethesda Library for a forum sponsored by the District 16 Democratic Club and Woman’s Suburban Democratic Club.
I spent the whole day preparing for serious policy questions. I assumed we would be talking about the tough issues waiting for our legislators in January: the structural deficit, funding for transportation projects, Montgomery County’s share of the tax burden, energy policy, pensions…there was a lot to cover. I was extremely well prepared, but still nervous. I had lots of numbers jammed into my head, and I didn’t want to mix them up under pressure.
My husband, Barak, unexpectedly made it home from work in time to join me at the forum. Between his job and the kids, he’s not often able to join me on the campaign trail. But last night, he worked it out so we could hop into the Prius and head to the library together.
When we arrived, I saw a dozen volunteers in Ariana Kelly T-Shirts waving signs and handing out information about my campaign. Their enthusiasm and support really pumped me up. It proved our campaign has been growing every step of the way. I saw folks who have been with me from the beginning, like my cousin (and B-CC grad) Margaret Dayhoff-Brannigan. I saw volunteers from each and every meet and greet we have held. I saw racial, generational, and gender diversity among my supporters.
Once inside, the candidates sat down in alphabetical order. As a Kelly, I was right in the middle. Our moderator, Delegate Karen Britto, kept us timed precisely. It turns out that with so many candidates, none of us really had time to say much.
What are your priorities? (Education. Safe and Healthy Environments. Strong Local Economy). What makes you stand out? (I have extensive experience working successfully in Annapolis on issues that matter to Maryland families) And, how will you help beat Republicans in the fall (I am clearly building a strong grassroots campaign, did you see the dozen volunteers outside?).
It is this last question that has kept me thinking for the last twenty-four hours. Let me take off my candidate hat and put on my Democratic hat for a second. As a Democrat, re-electing Martin O’Malley is my top priority.
I remember the first Ehrlich Administration. I have no desire to go back to those days. I know a strong turnout in Montgomery County, and District 16, will make the difference for reelecting Governor O’Malley this time around. I hope to win the primary in September, so my diverse coalition of supporters can carry on our mission to elect me, and re-elect the Governor in November.