Leopold Has First Challenger
While there has been speculation that Kendel Ehrlich may toss her hat into the ring for the County Executive race next year, there appears to be no speculation for local businesswoman Joanna Conti.
Conti, a newcomer to the area from Colorado, feels that Leopold is not doing enough to prepare for the influx of residents expected to swamp West County as a result of the Base Closure & Realignment Commission (BRAC). She takes another swing at Leopold’s stance on public safety citing that the County is significantly under the national average for police officers per capita.
Conti is no stranger to politics and lost a battle for a US Representative seat in Colorado in the 2006 election. She has formed her exploratory committee and stacked it with some well respected democrats including Richard Allen, Diane Evans, James LoBosco, Andrew Pruski, Ann Marie Remillard, Peter Smith, Debbie Sosnoski, Bonnita Spikes, Bob Stewart and Stephen Thibodeau. For more information on Conti’s race for County Executive, you can visit her website at joannaconti.com.
Full copy of her press release is after the jump.
Businesswoman Joanna Conti has taken the first step toward running for Anne Arundel County Executive in 2010 by forming an Exploratory Committee.
“While John Leopold appears at every photo opportunity, he is missing critical opportunities to strengthen the county for the future,” says Conti. She believes the county should be doing more to prepare for the influx of new workers in the Fort Meade area and to recruit defense contractors to locate in Anne Arundel County. “Every business that locates in our county creates additional well-paying jobs for our residents and strengthens our tax base for years to come,” says Conti.
Conti also faults Mr. Leopold for not taking advantage of opportunities to improve public safety. “We have only half the police officers per 1,000 residents as the national average, and many residents are concerned about their safety,” says Conti. “Not only did Mr. Leopold cut 5 percent of police officer positions this July, but the county didn’t even apply for a federal stimulus program that covers full salaries and benefits for three years for new police officers.” Conti points out that 71 different Maryland jurisdictions did apply for the COPS program, and both Prince George’s County and Baltimore City received funding for 50 more police officers each for the next three years. Conti’s web site (www.joannaconti.com) provides more information about missed opportunities under Mr. Leopold.
Conti’s campaign committee, Conti For Our County, is chaired by nonprofit management consultant Sharon L. Stewart of Annapolis. Charlene B. Weston, an Odenton CPA, is the Treasurer. Conti’s Exploratory Committee includes key Democratic leaders as well as representatives from the business, education, public safety, labor, military and nonprofit communities. The members are Richard Allen, Diane Evans, James LoBosco, Andrew Pruski, Ann Marie Remillard, Peter Smith, Debbie Sosnoski, Bonnita Spikes, Bob Stewart and Stephen Thibodeau.
Conti will use her 30 years of management experience to run the county more effectively. As one example, Conti plans to reward employees of departments that find ways to permanently cut their administrative expenses with year-end bonuses tied to the savings they achieve, thus making taxpayer dollars stretch further. She is meeting with leaders, regardless of political party and across county lines, to identify other innovative methods to strengthen county government.
Conti has run businesses in five different industries, including the Alliance for Youth Achievement, Inc., a nonprofit that she founded. The Alliance has helped tens of thousands of orphans in eight countries in Africa and Asia through micro-credit programs and small grants to informal schools, group homes and medical missions.
Conti and her husband have four children and live in the Broadneck area.