2022 Candidate Questionnaire: Mike Ertel For Baltimore County District 6

TOWSON – The Towson Patch spoke to Mike Ertel about his history, why he is running for office and his positions on local issues.

Ertel is up against Tony Campbell for District 6 of Baltimore County Council.

Below are Ertel’s answers to our candidate questionnaire.

What is the main reason you are running for this post?

“I’ve been a community leader for a long time and have been involved with county government and county politics because that’s what you have to do if you’re committed to your community. I’ve seen what the district is doing well, what it’s not doing so well, and things that need improvement. That’s the main reason I’m running because I feel like I’ve gone as far as I can as a parishioner to get some things done and if I were a council member I could get more things done.”

“There are three districts in Baltimore County surrounding the city, First, Second and Sixth. We have some of the oldest communities in the county; With this come problems: aging infrastructure, aging homes and elderly populations. Some of them are now struggling to take care of the properties they have lived in for 40 or 50 years. They are older now and just can’t do what they used to do.”

“There’s a lot of TLC that needs to be done in the sixth circuit, and that’s one of the main reasons I’m running. I’ve been at Towson for 27 years; I spent the first 25 years of my life in the east side of the county and I understand the neighborhoods well and some of their challenges. You learn more as you go out, knock on doors, spend time in the communities, talk to people, and see some of the conditions and issues. It would be exciting to represent it and try to get out of there and improve the quality of life for the people who live in the sixth.”

What will be your top priority if elected?

“There are two levels: There’s the micro level, which is the neighborhoods, and then there’s the macro level, which is the leadership and direction of what we’re going to do here in Baltimore County.”

“If I have to boil it down to one thing, it’s tackling the growing poverty in the county. We have more poverty than ever in Baltimore County. A recent statistic states that 40% of Baltimore County residents are currently experiencing symptoms of poverty, which is alarming. We have to find out where we are going in the county, because if this number keeps growing we will have some problems that will require a lot of resources.

“We’re not addressing some of the issues we have in Baltimore County. We often pretend it’s 1955. We’re out there building new housing developments, cutting up malls, building new schools and all that good stuff. We’ve got to address some things, and as district leadership, we have to decide if we’re going to become more like the city or if we have to decide that to help people get out of their city’s cycles of poverty, we have to do things differently.”

What distinguishes you from your opponent?

“I’m an optimist. I have worked with children for 30 years; I taught middle school students how to speak in public. I run a program called Shop with a Cop, and I’ve served as president of a Towson umbrella organization that our neighborhoods belong to so that each neighborhood can have its own local board.

“As an officer of the TCA to PCA Towson Community Alliance, you handle everything from overcrowded schools to enforcing regulations. [Code Enforcement] People who don’t mow their grass or have garbage piled up in their back yards or old cars on their front lawns, the county has a department that goes out and tabs people out for these violations. Code enforcement has been notoriously behind the eight-ball, or they take a long time to deal with issues. That’s what I’ve been doing at the community level.”

“Not to bash Tony, but, you know, a lot of times people run for office, and you know, they’ve been on a commission, ‘I did this, I did that.’ But I’ve been a councilman that sitting on the other side of this table.”

Where do you work and what is your job title?

“I’ve been with the same company for 30 years as a commercial insurance broker, mostly working with small business people dealing with risk management, issues, insurance, benefits and things like that.”

Age and place of birth? Other family information you want to share?

“I am 56 years old and have been married for 28 years. I have three adult children, all in their twenties, and I was born here at St Joseph’s Hospital in Towson.”

Please list which schools and colleges you attended, what degrees you obtained and when.

“I went to Poly High School in town, I’m a Proud Polly grad, and then I went to Towson University and got a degree in business administration and finance.”

Approximately how much money will you spend on your campaign?

“Once we pay our bills, it will be about $65,000.”

How long have you lived in Baltimore County District 6?

“I’m a lifelong resident of Baltimore, I grew up in Baltimore City but I’ve lived in the county for 33 years.”

What do you like best about Baltimore County District 6?

“What I really like about this neighborhood is that there are many different neighborhoods and different types of housing, everything from really great townhouses: townhouses like Rogers Forge and Loch Raven Village to well-kept suburban areas like Rosedale and Overlea.”

“In Towson we have a lot of apartment buildings and a lot of apartment dwellers. We also have many senior living facilities; it’s pretty cool to see the diversity of neighborhoods.”

“The Sixth Ward is what we call the inner ring communities. They’re older communities that need attention, but they’re great neighborhoods. You just need some TLC and a cheerleader needs a champion to improve it and solve some problems. It’s got great people and mostly solid neighborhoods.

What is the biggest problem in Baltimore County’s District 6?

“The district leadership must address our pressing issues of rising poverty, food insecurity, aging infrastructure and underachievement in students. We have several schools in the district with test scores that could be better. There is more fear of crime than ever. [crime] is the number one problem you hear on the doors. Not just crime, but lawlessness, people speeding through neighborhoods, smoking weed in front of children, and general disrespect for the community.”

“We also have a very outdated infrastructure. We have problems with drainage of pipes and rainwater. We have roads that need repaving. We have roads with sinkholes. We have many things that require attention. We have Towson High School, 73 years old, and it’s basically falling down. Brown water is coming out of the drinking fountains, and it’s time we focused on these older communities.

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