Mid-Shore Legislators Square off for Primary Race - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Mid-Shore Legislators Square off for Primary Race

Maryland - Maryland's primary race is coming up sooner than you may think. 

On June 24th, Maryland's voters will have some decisions to make.  One of the most talked about races is on the Midshore, where incumbent State Senator Richard Colburn in the 37th district is being challenged by longtime Delegate Addie Eckardt.  The two have worked together in Annapolis for nearly 20 years.

Colburn says his years of experience will allow him to continue to push for projects like the new Dover Bridge, while also supporting the new Midshore delegates.

"You need experience when you are going to have three new delegates.  I will provide that leadership experience, a record that's accomplished.  And I think my record speaks to itself." said Colburn

As for Delegate Eckardt, she's focusing on putting her background in healthcare to use.

"There are no health professionals in the senate.  And as I look around and see what is happening with healthcare reform, and concerns I have about destabilizing what we already have, I think a professional who has already been in that health field in the senate would be a good opportunity." said Eckardt.

Colburn does have something running against him.  While Delegate Eckardt has been campaigning using the word integrity, some are questioning whether Senator Colburn has that integrity after his wife Alma filed for divorce earlier in the year, citing adultery as the reason.  Colburn doesn't see that as a real issue.

"Fifty percent of Americans have been divorced, I am not divorced at this moment.  And we wouldn't have Ronald Regan as President if divorce was a major issue.  Ronald Reagan was divorced when he was elected President, he had been divorced.  Again, it's a private personal matter." said Colburn.

His wife Alma has written a letter of support for Senator Colburn, which you can read at the bottom of this article.  Colburn says his focus if re-elected would be ensuring the continued growth of projects like the Dover Bridge and Sailwinds Park in Cambridge, as well as existing businesses.

"Retaining the jobs that we have.  The agriculture and seafood industry that is constantly under attack.  I look at concrete issues like a new Vienna bridge and a new Dover bridge, Sharptown bridge and bypass, Salisbury bypass.  Working to retain the Easton Hospital, keeping it here in Talbot county while my opponent did nothing." said Colburn.

Eckardt says while those issues are important, fixing a broken healthcare system is priority number one for her.

"I have a family who has had to wait 8 weeks for psychiatric services so right now we are in the middle of trying to fix that and I think I could help move that along.  And make sure people get the kind of services they need." said Eckardt.

The primary election between these two midshore Titans is on June 24th.  The winner of the primary will then go on to challenge Talbot County democrat Christopher Robinson in the November general election.

The letter from Senator Colburn's wife Alma is below:

"To whom it may concern:
I am writing on behalf of Senator Richard F. Colburn. We were married for 14 years, but are in the process of ending our marriage. It’s unfortunate that our marriage did not work out;  however, the facts surrounding the ending of our marriage are a personal matter. Our private issues are just that, private.  That being said, I would like to share with you that I feel it is a necessity for the good of the Shore to continue to support
Richard as a State Senator.

We here on the Shore need a representative that will speak up, act, and champion the issues we are all faced with one way or another. Rich eats, breathes and lives to be the best he can be as a Senator. He has an undying burn in his belly to help his constituents and do the best he can for the Shore. We all know he is Everywhere! Always taking the time to listen to your concerns and attend as many events as possible in any given day; which could range from two to ten in all areas of the four counties he represents. You could run into him at the grocery store, a restaurant or a ball game. He is not just an election year politician - he is an every year politician. Rich stays up most nights until 2 or 3 in the morning...working, reading and taking care of his constituents’ needs. I don’t have to tell you all about the volunteer fire companies and their events (in four counties) and that he consistently and regularly attends the breakfasts, dinners and banquets...every week, every month, every year. Sometimes there may be two or three of the fire company events in the same day or evening. Rich will drive from one end of the county through two other counties to attend your event.  Why? Because he feels that if you thought enough of him extend the invitation, then he will do his best to attend, even if he has to drive an hour from one event to the other to be there for 10 minutes, because he doesn’t want to let anyone down.

I can’t begin to tell you how hard he has worked to help ensure safety on the Shore; from lobbying to get guard rails, stop lights, and let’s not forget the long overdue Dover Bridge! We have been on vacation when his office has called to go over work, issues and to discuss phone calls from constituents. One particular time I remember was when he was made aware of a tragedy is his district when we were driving; he had to pull over on the side of the road to stop and call a grieving Mother who had just lost a child due to an accident, and the mother wanted to inquire about some sort of legislation so that this type of tragedy would not befall another child. Rich is quiet, but he is extremely compassionate to the needs of others. 

He has probably attended every Eagle Scout award ceremony in his district...why? Because it’s important to the Eagle Scouts and his family. That’s what Rich is all about...he does what he feels is important to his people, his constituents. 

There is not a Session that doesn’t go by that he is not fighting for the rights of the waterman and the farmers. He is a strong advocate for them to ensure that he can keep them working as the backbone of the local economy.

Let’s not forget the little things he does on a daily basis either. I can’t tell you how many times people have stopped us and thanked him for sending a nice congratulatory note on the birth of their child or because Rich helped them get a scholarship that got them through college.

In closing, I am asking you to look at Rich Colburn as a pillar of this community and as a strong, caring leader for all the people of Maryland’s Eastern Shore (not just for the Republicans or Democrats, but everyone). Rich Colburn is a good man and lives to serve the people that he represents. I know he will continue to strive forward and ensure a better place for all his constituents. Because of his Senate seniority and bipartisan work with Democrats and Republicans alike, he is now in a position to make even stronger contributions to the people of the Shore.  That is what he has done since 1995, and what he will continue to do when you cast your ballot for him in November. He is a humble, hardworking, and consistent servant to all of his constituents (and he loves doing it). It doesn’t get any better than that!
Alma F. Colburn"
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