September 5, 2013

There were two critical misstatements in Jennifer Bevan-Dangel and Korey Hartwich’s Sept. 1 Local Opinions commentary, “Why not let voters fill open legislative seats in Maryland?

Members of the county central committees in Maryland, who have a chartered duty to recommend to the governor replacements for legislators who vacate a position between elections, are not “unknown party officials.” Committee members are elected by the voters of their districts in the same manner as state and federal legislators. They campaign within their districts and should be well known to those voters who choose to educate themselves and fully participate in the democratic process.

Likewise, the process in Montgomery County of choosing someone to fill the seat of Sen. Robert J. Garagiola (D) is hardly being carried out “behind closed doors without public input.” It has involved wide publication of the opening, clear directions on how to apply for the position, untold numbers of telephone calls and e-mails from supporters of candidates and a series of interviews with all candidates before the vote occurs in a public meeting.

Although I support wider participation and opportunities for public input in electing our representatives at all levels, the depiction of the current process as a backroom, secret, inside job was unfair and incorrect.

Darrell Anderson, Washington Grove

The writer serves on the executive committee of the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee.