In recent years, I have produced many “good news” stories for the Southern Maryland news media, including newspapers and local news websites, concerning individuals and organizations that have made real differences in improving the quality of life of our citizens. These outstanding people, both past and present, come from many backgrounds and run the gamut from Thomas Johnson for whom the Solomons bridge is named, to Sergeant Arick Lore, one of the last Maryland soldiers to die in World War I. I spoke of public figures such as the iconic Louis Goldstein and Bobby Swann, past State Comptrollers from Calvert County, and great politicians Senator Bernie Fowler and the late Linda Kelly. Additionally, I have highlighted the efforts of many fine local charitable organizations such the good folks at United Way, S.M.I.L.E., our local Humane Societies, and the work of many food pantries such as the Saint John Vianney program and “Farming4Hunger”.
I wrote fondly of leaders such as Sheriff Mike Evans and Captain Glen Ives, USN, former skipper of NAS Patuxent River, both who have been extremely active in the community with helping others. I brought to light the many wonderful ministries of Reverend Bill Hahn’s Chesapeake Church and Father Maurice Alexander’s ability to build the Our Lady Star of the Sea Parish with no money. I interviewed Reverend Meredith, Pastor of the Solomons Methodist Church and spoke of her great impact on the community. I learned of the Freedom Hills Horse Rescue group in Owings. Their great work had not received a lot of publicity, yet my story last year was directly responsible for their award of a $10,000 grant from a reader!
Now I have come to know another distinguished citizen who does great things for our citizens on a very large scale. I enthusiastically prepared this letter to describe this superb leader who is doing an incredible job in looking after our needs while serving as an astute steward of our financial resources. I know him as “Steve” but your readers may know him as “Senator” or even “Colonel”. Of course, I am speaking of my good friend Steve Waugh! I have known this gentleman for two decades and I know him to be a particularly bright, intelligent individual who can be very friendly and most easy to get along with, yet experienced and astute enough to recognize genuine “BS” when it is put out there. Steve always “tells it like it is” and has always been one of the most honest, down to earth people I have met!
Steve wasn’t raised here, but has been a member of the Southern Maryland community for nearly 20 years. A distinguished Marine aviator with a dedicated career of 20 years of military service to our country, he has always placed people first. A tenacious “go getter”, he always gets the mission accomplished, whether it dealt with bringing the battle to the enemy overseas or leading the fight for our citizens, especially our Veterans needs, in our Maryland Senate in Annapolis. His records of accomplishments in both careers is truly honorable!
So briefly let me tell your readers a little bit about this great American. First off, Steve is nobody’s “lap dog”!!! If you want a “Yes man” you need to look somewhere else. There is nothing artificial about him and he never deals in “fake news!” Like every Marine I have ever met, he is a “straight shooter” and always on target. In his first term in office, he has had an immediate impact within the Senate chambers. He has taken the lead in efforts to improve our educational programs including school safety. He recently led a group of Senators to develop a comprehensive action plan and achieved a bi-partisan consensus on this legislation package within 5 days! He led the charge to produce bills that have become the “Safe To Learn Act” and is now a national model for other states to pattern similar legislation. Remarkably, Steve was most responsible for this legislation passing with an unanimous vote in only 4 weeks!
To Steve’s great credit, he has spearheaded many important bills during his first term benefitting our Veterans. His dedication to our active duty as well as our former servicemen and military retirees has been second to none! A quick review of just a few of these that passed due of his strong leadership include bills for:
* Survivor Benefits
* Veteran Resource Centers
* Military Retirement Income Tax Cut
* Service Animal Program Enhancement
* Property Tax Credit
* Statistics on Military Suicides
* Veteran Procurement Improvement
* Vehicle Registration Fee Exemption
* Veteran Hiring Preferences
* Veteran Employment and Transition Program
His volume of work on behalf of our military citizens is tremendous and those of us who have served our country know well that we have a great friend and avid supporter in Annapolis!
Finally, one of Steve’s finest political traits that is often overlooked or misreported is his ability to “reach across the aisle” to get meaningful discussions and negotiations conducted with those folks. He recognizes when compromise is necessary and is a genuine part of the political process, a trait that is sorely missing at the national level with the people we have sent to DC. Importantly, Steve has voted with the administration 93% of the time [13 out of 14]. He is loyal, but he is his own man and unwilling to provide snap positions in areas that he feels can be improved to benefit the majority of his constituents.
Senator Waugh has done a magnificent job during his first 4 years! He has compiled a superb record of accomplishment that is more than deserving for his return to the Maryland Senate to represent District 29 for a second successful term. It is my hope the voters will truly look at his record and realize what a great job he has done for each of us! He has earned my vote.