Longtime Republican Kurt Wolfgang endorses Democrat Ken Robinson

WATCH part 1 of our interview

WATCH part 2 of our interview

By Debra Zimmerman Murphey

Citing integrity and needed leadership for a better and balanced growth vision in Charles County, longtime Republican and attorney Kurt Wolfgang says he will support Commissioner Ken Robinson, a Democrat, in the general election in November 2014.

Robinson is running for re-election in District 1. He has carved out a bipartisan political brand by keeping his constituency informed through social media, endorsing more openness in government, and advocating economically sustainable policies, such as smart growth.

Additionally, Wolfgang notes Robinson is “a great leader with backbone,” experience, and is on the “right side of the development issue,” which is a controversial and transformative topic in Charles County.

Concerns over high property taxes, long commutes and a reliance on portable classrooms to keep up with the pace of growth have elected leaders and voters alike bucking the trend of endorsing costly leapfrog residential growth. “None of those [issues] have Democrat or Republican stamped on them. It’s common sense and it’s common sense that Ken has been providing for four years,” says Wolfgang.

He adds that part of why he supports Robinson is because Robinson’s opponent will be supported by the “developer-lobby” – an increasingly parochial group made up of land speculators, wealthy developers, and certain advocates in the real-estate community.

But Robinson, an ally of teachers and law-enforcement professionals, also staunchly advocates equitable programs which incentivize preservation and address issues regarding property values, focusing on commercial-sector opportunities, smarter growth patterns, and adequate infrastructure, such as having ample space within schools for student populations.

Robinson’s race comes during an era of greater government scrutiny over the priority decision-makers place on protecting the county’s rural character and better managing its growth. Best practices show that smart growth and preserving natural spaces help build financially stronger, uniquely identifiable, healthier, and more marketable and attractive communities.

After years as a Republican, Wolfgang changed his party affiliation and in the 2014 primary election, supported Democratic candidates who are thinking outside the sprawl box. Among a growing and vocal public that has become critical of the county’s planning and growth practices, he says pro-sprawl land-use policies are having a disastrous impact on residents’ and families’ qualities of life.

Wolfgang is the La Plata attorney who has spent years battling the county government to ensure the release of documents concerning the questioned use and oversight of SUVs previously driven by some of the commissioners. 

In 2006, Wolfgang won the Republican primary, but was ultimately defeated in a general election that proved there is a Democratic stronghold in Charles County. He is a Nanjemoy resident, a former commissioned United States Air Force pilot and assistant state’s attorney in Prince George’s County, and a grassroots proponent whose volunteer efforts include advocating victims’ rights and providing legal counsel to nonprofits.