Here’s a letter that just came into the Maryland Scramble District 20 Decision Desk this evening:
Mr. Darrell Anderson
Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee
3720 Farragut Avenue #303
Dear Chair Anderson:
I am writing to you today to inform you of the Muslim Democratic Club of Montgomery County’s endorsement for the District 20 State Senate vacancy. Upon extensive review of the credentials and experience of all the candidates who sought our support, we proudly endorse Delegate Will Smith.
We came to this decision following interviews with candidates seeking a recommendation from the Central Committee to Governor Hogan for the vacancy, along with conversations and input from a number of Muslim congregational leaders, community members and representatives hailing from the African-American, African immigrant, Arab, East Asian, Indonesian, Iranian, and South Asian communities from within District. We would also like to recognize and emphasize the great respect our community’s combined leadership feels for Delegate David Moon, who is also seeking the Central Committee’s recommendation for appointment to the District 20 vacancy. Below I will explain our endorsement process, as well as remark on why we have chosen to endorse Delegate Smith, and honorably recognize Delegate Moon.
Our endorsement process involved two parts: 1) A Joint-Muslim-Community interview panel that met with and interviewed candidates; the panel then made a joint, community-wide recommendation to the officers of the Muslim Democratic Club, who 2) then vote to accept, amend, or reject the Joint-Muslim Community interview panel’s recommendation. In the case that the officers vote to reject the panel’s recommendation, a letter is written to the MCDCC informing them of both the panel’s recommendation as the representatives of the Muslim community, and why the Muslim Democratic Club disagrees with our community’s leadership. Thankfully, no such ”a house divided” letter is necessary in this case, as will be illustrated below.
Following the decision of our community endorsement panel, the officers of the Muslim Democratic Club voted to approve and amend the Joint Muslim Community interview panel’s decision to endorse Delegate Will Smith, but we also felt following the Tuesday night forum that Delegate Moon deserved recognition for his largely unprecedented work to combat Islamophobia as far back as 2011. As you will likely recall, Governor Hogan issued a statement in 2015 calling for the halt of the re-settling of Syrian refugees in Maryland, a state originally founded by Catholics seeking refuge from the ongoing wars of religion across the Atlantic. Mr. Hogan’s behavior was and remains the antithesis to Free State values, and is a disgrace. We are not alone in these feelings; Delegate Moon helped Congressman-elect Jamie Raskin to marshal dozens of elected officials to call on the governor to put an end to his senseless racism, and embrace true Maryland values and beliefs. We applaud Delegate Moon’s work, and salute him.
We endorse Delegate Smith because his commitment to progressive legislative priorities is unassailable. He is known an honest and fair broker of disagreements between his colleagues, and has won the respect and admiration of a number of legislators from our delegation as well as others for his commitment to teamwork and collaboration. We feel his record and style jive well with that of other state senators we know and have supported in the past. Furthermore, his work, especially in the fields of criminal justice reform and social justice impressed the members of our endorsement panel. Finally, Delegate Smith’s commitment to closing the achievement gap and advocating for school construction funding are of the utmost importance to our community of young families attracted to Montgomery County for its excellent public education system. Delegate Smith’s ongoing work on these matters carries serious weight within our community.
There is another matter we wish to address with our endorsement of Delegate Smith. Maryland is a former slave owning state, and the founding family of Silver Spring, where Delegate Smith hails from, were slave-owners who came to eventually oppose slavery. Delegate Smith would be the first African-American to ever serve from Montgomery County in the Maryland Senate. We think it is time to make history.
In the wake of bigotry against Muslims inspired by the Republican Party, Delegate Smith has visited countless mosques and Islamic congregations in our county to stand side by side with our community in these trying times. We consider him to be a friend of our community, and are honored to endorse him. We ask the central committee to recommend Delegate Smith for the senate vacancy.
I thank you on behalf of Montgomery County’s Muslim community for your time and consideration.
Muslim Democratic Club of Montgomery County
If any organization or individual wants to share their endorsement, please send them along and I’ll post them. Candidates are welcome to pass them along as well.
Full disclosure: I will not be taking a position on the appointment.