Ocean City Today
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Butler says Worcester needs more commissioner balance

By Brian Gilliland | Mar 29, 2018
Photo by: Brian Gilliland Judy Butler

(March 30, 2018) Judy Butler sees an imbalance on the Board of Worcester County Commissioners — a disparity of political party, age and gender that she aims to begin fixing, if she is elected.

Butler is running against first-term incumbent Chip Bertino to represent Ocean Pines in District Five.

“Service is part of my belief structure,” Butler said. “I’ve always spent a great deal of time and talent serving my community.”

Butler and her husband retired to the shore in 2010 from the Baltimore-Washington metro area. Since that time, she said she’s seen the character of her neighborhood change from the second home market to primary residences.

“Since the great recession, I’m seeing as real estate values improve, they’re still low enough in Ocean Pines to allow Generation X and millennials to afford houses here,” she said. “I haven’t analyzed the shift, but I’m definitely seeing more children and young families because the houses are priced between $200,000-$300,000.”

Ocean Pines was founded as a second-home market, she said, but the demographics are changing.

“I’m not sure Gen X or millennials will buy second homes — that might not be what they do,” Butler said.

This shift should be reflected in the county’s government.

“I want to see balance. I see six men and one woman, and that’s not the population of Worcester,” she said.

There are other lines that can be drawn: age, political party and race, she said, but the focus should be on electing a board that is reflective of its population.

Butler said she’s never held public office before, but is a lifetime member of the National Parent Teacher Association, and has served the PTA is local and statewide capacities as well. She was president of her local board twice, president of the Howard County board once and served as a regional trainer for the national board. She was also the health chair for the statewide chapter.

“We need strong economic development in the county,” Butler said. “We have summer jobs to serve tourists but the rest of the county, the rest of the time, needs help.”

Butler said protecting the environment is also paramount, because one of the reasons people are visiting the area is to see the land, seas and skies.

“We need good management and manufacturing jobs. We need a path for our kids to get better jobs,” Butler said. “The commissioners are in a position to help young people stay here.”

For Ocean Pines specifically, Butler said Route 589 is a priority.

“Route 589 is our only access point, so we have to look at it. It’s a safety issue. It needs to be followed up,” she said. “The push there seems to be five properties across from Ocean Downs to be rezoned commercial, and that’s just the beginning.”

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