Yesterday, I was terminated as Executive Director of Visit St. Mary’s MD due to my personal political opinion. My Board of Directors communicated this to me through phone calls and text messages and declined my request for a meeting. I was explicitly terminated due to private and personal criticism I expressed of President Trump in the wake of our country’s tragic events. I did so privately, on my own social media platform, away from the job and on my own time in a manner that in no way pertained to my work.
I wrote these comments in good faith, believing that in Maryland, the birthplace of religious toleration, an employer carrying out public functions would certainly respect the personal expression of my personal opinions in a manner that in no way, shape, or form related to my work. However, sadly, I was mistaken to believe this. The substance of my views did not pertain to my work in any way.
In short, this was nothing more than a political hit on my personal political beliefs, plain and simple. Not once during my tenure have my political beliefs played a part of my work. Not once, during my years of service to the County, have I made decisions based on the political beliefs of others. Not once have these ideas crossed my mind.
I have retained a lawyer to protect me from additional attacks and violation of my labor rights.
These are trying times, there is no denying. This issue is bigger than myself. It is an attack on our collective freedom of expression, freedom of ideals, and freedom of speech. As I have posted on my personal Facebook in the past, in regards to my opinion of President Trump:
“I will continue to live my life as best as I can, love who I love, be friendly with whom I am friendly, and work diligently with all my colleagues and business partners. You can have the complete opposite policy position of mine on all issues, and it [will] not be a bother.”
This is the ideal that I have tried to impart, and an ideal that we should all strive for – political opinions are secondary to how you treat your friends, family, and colleagues.
It is my wish that we soon come together to see beyond our political differences and work together as a nation.
Yours, in tourism, friendship, and in health,