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Delegate Rey defends her 'No' votes

Delegate Deb Rey addresses the attendees at her April 25 town hall meeting at Lexington park Library

Lexington Park, MD -- St. Mary’s County Delegate Deb Rey in her first legislative session developed a reputation for being a “renegade Republican.” That was because of the number of “no” votes on issues that were supported by the majority of the members of her party, which is in a decided minority in Annapolis. Rey represents lower St. Mary’s County, District 29B.

During the session the website www.MarylandReporter.com did a story about Rey titled “Deborah Rey is Maryland’s renegade Republican.” The website is reportedly politically neutral. The Baltimore Post-Examiner, another news website, ran the story as well.

Rey mentioned the article during her wrap-up town hall meeting for the 2015 session April, 25 at the Lexington Park Library. She was questioned by several audience members about her “No” votes and defended them, saying she was not voting just to be against things but had specific reasons for every vote.

For instance, Rey voted against the House version of the state budget that passed by 129-10. Delegates Matt Morgan [R; District 29A] and Mark Fisher [R; District 27C] also voted against it. At the town hall meeting Rey explained she voted against the budget because it expands the deficit to $1.7 billion in the next five years while not fully funding pensions.

But Rey was the lone “No” vote in the entire legislature in a bill that would have required a ballot to be counted even if the voter died before the vote was tallied. Rey hold the crowd of about two dozen people at the meeting she was concerned about the possibility of fraud.

Len Zuza, who was an unsuccessful  Democratic candidate for delegate in District 29C (held by Del. Tony O’Donnell) said that Sen. Steve Waugh [R - 29th District] has publicly said he has made a point of cosponsoring bills by every senator to let them know he wants to be collegial. Zuza asked Rey if her “no” votes couldn’t hurt future attempts to get things done for the community. “Are you alienating them? They don’t see you as a team player,” he observed.

Rey responded, “This was never personal for me. It was about the bill I voted against.”

Several other audience members asked about other bills she opposed and she promised to provide them with the reasons for not supporting them after checking her notes on each bill.

Rey encouraged everyone to read the 2015 session’s 90-day report which is available online to find out the details of what happened during the session.

Rey said she did support one bill that failed, called Lynette’s Law, which would have criminalized sex between a counselor and patient (see previous The Bay Net story of the subject: http://www.thebaynet.com/articles/0415/should-consensual-counselorclient-sex-be-illegal.html). She sits on the House Judiciary Committee that heard the bill. She said it didn’t get out of committee because the chairman Prince George’s County Del. Joseph Vallario [D; District 23B] didn’t like it.

She said her proudest accomplishment of the session was facilitating a system in which the state would act as an intermediary to secure surplus boats for fire and rescue departments. Mike Wilson of the Second District Volunteer Fire Department and Rescue Squad had made the request. She said it would save money for the local volunteer departments.

Rey also said she was optimistic that the $4.2 million available in the coming fiscal year for the third building at the Southern Maryland Higher Education Center is enough to get the design and engineering started so that the rest of the monies can be funded next year.

Rey said for the time being, until she was able to determine how much money is available in her own budget, she would not establish a local office. But she said a joint office with the other members of the area delegation is a possibility in the future. In the meantime, anyone can contact her Annapolis office at 410-841-3227 or 301-858-3227.

Rey is anticipating having her next town hall meeting in the fall prior to the start of the 2016 session.

Contact Dick Myers at dick.myers@thebaynet.com

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