Health, environment and constituent concerns will be priorities for Dist. 47 primary winners
Ramirez wins Senate race; Summers joins delegate incumbents Ivey and Niemann
Reaching out to community leaders, listening to constituents' needs and focusing on environmental and health issues will be the top priorities for the Democratic winners of Tuesday's District 47 primary.
Current Del. Victor Ramirez of Cheverly, who won his race for the district's state Senate seat against incumbent Sen. David Harrington, also of Cheverly, said uniting the district and working with community leaders after the hotly contested race would be his first step.
Ramirez said voters chose him because of his history of community service.
"I believe I have a reputation as working hard for the district. ... I don't do this because it's my job, I do this because it's my passion," he said.
Harrington said electoral defeats are a fact of life.
"The voters have the right to make a choice," Harrington said. "[I] accept the voter's action. ... You hurt, but you move on."
Harrington said it was unlikely he'd run for office again. "I've been in politics for 15 years," he said. "Now it's time to spend time with the family and see what the next steps are."
Incumbent Dels. Jolene Ivey and Doyle Niemann are poised to return to Annapolis after their victories on Tuesday. Ivey, Niemann and newcomer Michael Summers will face Rachel Audi, the district's sole Republican candidate for the delegate seat, in November's general election.
Summers said his focus as delegate would be on environmental issues like helping residents reduce their carbon footprint by retrofitting their homes with more efficient appliances.
Niemann, who prepares for a third term, said he would continue working with the hospital system to develop a community-based health care plan for Prince George's County and keep working to alleviate the effects of the economic downturn.
"We'll still have more work to do on housing and foreclosure," Niemann said.
Ivey said her first task would be to determine the principal needs of district residents for the upcoming legislative session.
"[I have] to go back and talk to my constituents to get my marching orders from them," Ivey said.
Summers said he thought voters were drawn to him because of the relationship he worked to forge with the community.
"My message resonated with them," Summers said. "I think they chose me because of my personal contact with them, I've tried to reach out to all voters in the community."
Voter turnout was widely reported to be low, which Summers attributed to early voting throughout the county.
Niemann, who did not align with either slate in the Senate race, blamed negative campaigning for the poor voter turnout.
"I think the negative campaigning drove people away. It made people confused and cynical," he said. "The vote that did come out was the hardcore ... the people that come to vote all the time."