Steuart Pittman, Jr. was elected Anne Arundel County Executive after his first campaign for public office in 2018.
Born and raised on his family’s farm in Davidsonville, Steuart graduated from the University of Chicago and then went on to work as a community organizer in Chicago and Des Moines, Iowa. In that role, he built neighborhood organizations, confronted environmental hazards, and attracted private investment to blighted communities.
Once back home, Steuart coordinated national programs for the National Low-Income Housing Coalition and the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) before starting his own business as a farmer and horse trainer. He is best known in the horse industry for creating the Retired Racehorse Project, an award-winning national non-profit responsible for transitioning thousands of racehorses into second careers.
Steuart’s philosophy of government is both conservative and progressive. As a farmer, he worked hard against onerous regulations that had no public benefit and promoted policies to make the industry commercially viable. As a Director of the Anne Arundel County Soil Conservation District, he pushed for compliance with erosion and sediment control standards to protect local waterways.
As County Executive, Steuart has pledged to make Anne Arundel County “the best place…for all” by “putting communities first.” His strategy is to engage communities from every sector and to practice transparency and data-driven policymaking.
– County Executive Steuart Pittman
A VISION FOR ALL
Getting to the root cause of difficult problems has always motivated me, both on the farm and as a citizen on issues that impact our quality of life. While I’ve always been an active participant in local and statewide policymaking, running for elected office was never a part of the plan because I’ve never been comfortable inside a political box. Instead, I choose to approach challenges more holistically – without the party labels and divisive dialogue that keeps us from coming together to do the right thing.
The disconnect between politics and real purpose has led to an overwhelming distaste for and distrust in government. For too long, our leaders talk about things like economic growth while it gets harder and harder for the average American to get by. We’ve asked our youth to excel in school without providing the tools for them to do so. We rely on our fire and police department to keep us safe without adequate resources. To move all of Anne Arundel County forward responsibly, we’ve got to be more honest about the economic, environmental and public health impacts of our policies. For these reasons and many more, my priority and the foundation of my administration is an honest and integrated government that fosters collaboration and restores faith in our people and processes.
BUILDING TRUST IN OUR GOVERNMENT
When the job is improving the lives of the 570,000 people in our county, there are government tools, business tools, non-profit tools, and the marketing tools that impact the behavior of people and communities. We must always have all these tools greased up and ready to run when we need them.
Regular town halls, citizen-led task forces, open data portals, fair and consistent enforcement of our laws and close monitoring of the effectiveness of every government program are a start. But we also have to act. The people of Anne Arundel County have asked for more investment in education and public safety, so we delivered in our first budget. Now we must show taxpayers that their investment is having an impact, and we will.
But even as we demonstrate that government works to solve problems and improves people’s lives, I will never neglect my preferred tools: connected and engaged businesses, non-profits and communities of people.
CREATING ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL
I take the last two words of the Pledge of Allegiance very seriously. If liberty and justice aren’t for all, then we are failing.
Education is not only the best driver of economic development and prosperity but also our most effective strategy to end inter-generational poverty and violence. Our schools must prepare every child for both the challenges they will face and the opportunity they will encounter.
To retain and attract good teachers, we must pay them a competitive wage, keep their class sizes manageable, provide the support staff and counselors that they need and provide facilities that are conducive to learning.
According to United Way of Central Maryland, one-third of county residents cannot afford the basic necessities of life. African American residents are far more likely to live in poverty than their Caucasian neighbors. I don’t accept either of these facts as ok. For many years, politicians have made decisions that benefitted their wealthy donors. Now it’s time to make decisions that benefit all.
Our housing, health and human services agencies have always done what they can, but they must measure the needs, the gaps and the impacts of programs. That’s why I added a deputy administrator for health and human services and created Arundel Stat. Without data on the implications of programs, we can’t make wise decisions about investing resources.
I believe that government should be evaluated not by the size of its tax base, or the number of businesses it attracts from competing jurisdictions, but instead by the health and wellness of the people it serves. Being the best place isn’t good enough. We must be the best place For All.
MANAGING GROWTH FOR OUR PEOPLE AND OUR ENVIRONMENT
The human race has evolved to a place where we can choose to either protect the natural world that created us or destroy it in the name of progress. I want the former.
In Anne Arundel County, this means preserving our forests, maintaining open space, protecting the Bay and nurturing our soils. Covering our land with pavement and rooftops destroys the ground and trees that capture carbon and preserve our planet’s atmosphere. More locally, it sends rainwater to our rivers and our Bay after picking up the sediment and pollutants that kill the marine life that is essential to the cycles of nature.
Many suburban-style regional development interests are unhappy with our forest conservation bill and our enforcement of environmental laws. We are shifting county planning to more community-driven processes that protect sensitive areas and drive development to the kinds of smart growth and transit-oriented development sites that get cars off our roads.
Economic Development and growth are a means to something much bigger. Something much more important, it is a strategy to improve the health and the wellness of our communities. By limiting the influence of developers on politics and inviting more robust public participation, we can accomplish thoughtful economic development while sustaining our natural resources and grow healthier communities for generations to come.
ELEVATE HEALTH AND WELLNESS
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