WICOMICO COUNTY, MARYLAND - October 25, 2021
Just as the state of Maryland is going through a redistricting session, Wicomico County is up for redistricting as well. The majority Republican council each selected one applicant for appointment; three Republicans, two Democrats and two Independents were chosen for the redistricting committee. The purpose of the redistricting committee is to ensure that ALL citizens are equally represented throughout the county. Aside from the designated Minority District, race is not a determining factor on whether a citizen has a voice in government or not.
On Tuesday evening, October 19, 2021, the committee held its fourth meeting at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center at 6pm. The meeting started in an orderly fashion, but tensions arose when a specific member of the committee repeatedly reiterated his racially driven opinions.
Vice Chair Mr. Mark Danderson, an SU professor who was nominated to the committee by Wicomico Councilman Josh Hastings, showed his personal bias with racial slurs such as “White Hebron," referring to the population percentages in the Wicomico County town. This is a clear violation of the Wicomico County Charter as Mr. Danderson continually rebukes the county's legal advisor. He goes on to speak for the black community by stating, “they feel completely underrepresented” with no means of data or primary sources to support his claim.
The video below reveals Mr. Danderson's obsession with race, which he tries to hijack the committee in order to control the narrative.
During another meeting, it was discussed that the black population is underrepresented with only one district. One committee member spoke up and reminded the committee that anyone is able to run for the “At Large” seats within the council. Dr. Kel Nagle, a local physician who was nominated to the committee by Wicomico Councilman Bill McCain, comments that a minority has no chance of winning an At Large elected seat. Per the council, there are no requirements for race or gender in filing for candidacy.
It is quite disturbing to hear racial bias from two individuals that are serving on the Wicomico County Redistricting Committee. Why would Mr. Danderson be so interested in setting boundary lines based on skin color? Is he interested in isolating and controlling the vote? Also, why would Dr. Nagle think and actually say that a minority has no chance of winning an At Large seat? We're not in Kansas anymore.
We need to seriously assess our district lines based on population density and geographic boundaries and not by race. As a result of their personal and politically biased agenda being exposed, Mr. Danderson and Dr. Nagle should be removed immediately from the redistricting committee. Wicomico does not need to redistrict with partiality. The citizens of Wicomico need to get the job done as a county with unity and not division.