ELKTON — Democrat Cody Kirk will appear on two ballots this year, one for the District 2 county council seat and one for town commissioner.
With the town of Elkton’s municipal filing deadline having closed Thursday afternoon, Kirk will battle against incumbent commissioners Mary Jo Jablonski and Jean Broomell as well as Elkton High School teacher Nicole Hammond for the two open seats in the May 8 election. Mayor Rob Alt is unopposed in his re-election bid.
Six months after the Elkton election, Kirk’s name will appear on the ballot next to whoever wins the county’s Republican primary election: Fair Hill Races Vice President Bill Coutz or construction company owner Rich Lewandowski.
Kirk, who grew up in the Elkton area and attended Elkton High School, currently works in retail at the Dollar Tree in the Big Elk Mall.
“Originally, I wanted to serve as town commissioner. But the real reason I filed for both is because I have the energy to get involved as soon as possible,” said Kirk, 25, on Thursday. “I can bring true concern and a voice to the people, not just business developers.”
According to Cecil County Ethics Commission member Michelle Henson, who also serves as Elkton’s administrative office secretary, and county Election Director Debbie Towery, there is no Maryland law preventing candidates from running for county and local office concurrently.
The problem would arise if Kirk were elected to District 2 council seat in November and town commissioner in May. That would constitute as dual offices for profit, when a person holds more than one office from which they would draw a salary, which is not permitted in Maryland.
In that scenario, he’d have to choose between the two offices, according to Henson.
For the time being, Kirk said he plans to stay in the council race as he has secured the Democratic nomination for the second councilmanic district.
“I’m paying close attention to the Republican primaries and the debates between Coutz and Lewandowski,” he said.
If elected as Elkton town commissioner, Kirk said his main goal would be to fight the tax-and-spend system. He pointed to the sewer mandate, which was enacted at the county level, as an example of how Elkton residents are paying for businesses elsewhere.
“The sewer mandate is fine for businesses, but I’m dead set against residential properties being forced to connect,” he said. “There’s no reason why we should be paying to lure development in North East.”
Fighting the opioid epidemic remains a top priority for Kirk, who has witnessed how addiction can engulf someone’s life. The best weapon to combat it, he said, is to increase recovery options and resources.
“What we have is great, but statically below average on what many in urban areas offer, like in neighboring Delaware,” Kirk said. “Resources that help employ those in recovery would help them get back on track to a productive lifestyle.”
If elected, Kirk said he would join the efforts to bring a MARC train stop back to Elkton. That battle began after Elkton’s old station was shut down in the 1980s.
The train would also feed into Kirk’s other main priority: economic development.
“Lack of commuter rail service isn’t the only reason businesses are struggling to thrive. The costs and fees of operating business in Elkton is higher than in neighboring towns,” he added.