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Writing this the day after the election, I want to congratulate the voters of Calvert County. We had five candidates for election to the Calvert County Board of Education, all of whom care a lot about our students and our schools. Congratulations to Joe Chenelly, Tracy Maguire and Kelly McConkey, who will serve on the board of education for the next four years, for at least two with Eugene Karol and Dawn Balinski and one with student board member Christine Lukban. Theirs will be a challenging role because second district real property assessments are coming in about 15 percent lower, meaning the county will have $5 million less in property tax revenue next year while paying for the teacher pensions will require $4.8 million more in expenditures for a total of $9.8 million less with which to work. We are all going to have to get creative in finding efficiencies and better ways to keep our top schools with less resources.

Congratulations to Calvert County Public Schools Superintendent Jack R. Smith for being named Maryland Superintendent of the Year for 2013 for the entire state of Maryland. My experience is that Dr. Smith deserves this award. While there is traditionally some tension between the Calvert County Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) as the funding source and the administration of the schools as the administrator of the funds, I have found Dr. Smith to be a person of impeccable integrity, straightforward in his communications, totally dedicated to the students and both highly intelligent and amazingly creative in his problem solving. I salute Dr. Smith for his excellence. The incoming board of education members will find him to be very forthcoming and truly collaborative, a real asset during this lean time.

I congratulate the winners of the Chesapeake Beach town election, and I thank those who did not win but put forth the effort to run and to bring potential solutions to the table. It is a commitment to all the residents to put yourself on the line for your community. It takes a certain character type to want to solve the everyday issues that make a town better. With all the candidates contributing to the debate about the future of Chesapeake Beach, the town will be well-served, indeed.

I thank the League of Women Voters. It is proof that a small group of caring activists can bring candidate information forward through newspaper inserts, candidate forums and its website, www.vote411.org. I am certain this information was critical for many voters. I am going to renew my membership to support the LWVs election education efforts. I expect many voters will begin their discovery process next election with the www.vote411.org website.

I congratulate Judge Edward Gregory Wells on his appointment as an associate judge of the Circuit Court for Calvert County. While not directly election-related, his appointment is a reminder that we are a country of law, justice and mercy. He has proven himself to be an excellent judge as a juvenile master and a District Court judge. We will be well-served.

I am grateful to live in a country where there is a peaceful transition following a national election, no matter who wins. While President Obama will continue to serve, a new national conversation will ensue. My hope is that we will be forced to cooperate more. I know we can do it. I am proud to serve as the chairwoman of the Tri-County Council Veterans Committee where we are doing it: We are bringing together the national Veterans Affairs; the offices of our federal representatives, especially Congressman Steny Hoyer (D-Md., 5th) and Sen. Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.); the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs; the regional efforts of the Tri-County Council; and our three boards of county commissioners to make sure our veterans have services and advocacy.

When those of us who are elected communicate well, so we have an informed electorate that can contribute to collaborative solutions, we all win.

Susan Shaw, Huntingtown

The writer is a Calvert County commissioner.