Merl Evans, a member of the St. Mary’s County Planning Commission, filed Wednesday as a Democratic candidate for the District 1 county commissioner, representing southern St. Mary’s.
The job is being vacated by Commissioner Cindy Jones (R) who is making a run in the Republican primary next June for the Maryland Senate. Republican Tom Jarboe of St. Mary’s City is also a candidate for the commissioner seat.
Evans, of Tall Timbers, is in his eighth year on the planning commission and is a business development consultant. He ran unsuccessfully in the Democratic primary for president of the commissioners in 2006 and ran in the 2002 primary for the District 1 seat.
“I’ve chosen to stay engaged,” Evans, 62, said. “I have no other agenda other than this community. Leadership, that’s what I hope to do.”
As a candidate for commissioner, “I’m not a person that’s going to make a lot of political promises. I spend a lot of time doing work in the county. I do have an ability to help out locally,” he said.
Regarding the next board of commissioners, Evans said, “I think this next group is going to have some responsibilities it hasn’t had in the past.” With federal spending cuts reducing the defense budget that St. Mary’s so heavily relies on, the local economy needs to diversify, which Evans said has “been an ongoing conversation.”
St. Mary’s County also has to support the missions of the Navy through infrastructure, he said. “We have been a bit remiss at providing that at a level that’s required.
“I’m looking forward to having a board of county commissioners that are collaborative, that are plain-spoken, analytical thinkers. They’re going to be required to reach out more than they have. They have to create relationships,” he said.