Smith has a long career of helping women with limited means

Below is a response from Commissioner Paul Smith regarding criticism during the 2014 campaign that he is anti-women.

On October 16th, a campaign hit piece was mailed to thousands of Frederick residents, criticizing me for (1) cutting funding to Head Start, (2) stating that “Mothers should be home with small children,” and (3) “saying women do not belong in the workplace.”  This campaign attack ad was sent by the Maryland Democratic Committee Slate, in an effort to persuade voters to vote against me in my bid to become a State Delegate for District 3A.

Part of this is totally false, part is true, and part is an incomplete quote which misrepresents what I said.

The false part is the statement of the hit piece that I said “women do not belong in the workplace.”  I never said this.  This is a blatant misrepresentation of my statements and my views.  The BOCC on which I served has elevated more women to major positions of leadership than any other BOCC ever.  We appointed Lori Depies to be the County Manager.  We appointed Erin White as Acting Director of Finance.  We appointed  Denise Pouget to be the Director of Fire and Rescue Services.  These positions were all previously held by men.  In addition, Dr. Barbara Brookmyer, Pat Rosensteel and Sherry Weakley each head other county divisions.   These women all do excellent work; they are a tremendous benefit to the County, and we are fortunate to have their services.

The true part is that in 2011 I voted with a majority of the BOCC to transfer the Head Start program to a non-profit entity.  This saved the County over $1 million a year, with no cut in services to families who place their children in the Head Start program.  The Head Start program was transferred to the YMCA, who now operates the program.  When the BOCC transferred the Head Start program to a non-profit organization, Frederick County was the only county in Maryland operating a Head Start program.

The incomplete quote the hit piece used came from a statement I made at another place and time.   Contrary to what the hit piece states, the statement was not made at a BOCC meeting.  Go ahead and check it out; you’ll see.  However, when questioned by a reporter from The Washington Post, I did state the following :  “I feel that wherever possible, mothers should be at home with small children.”   The Democrat campaign piece omitted the introductory qualifier in order to attempt to make a stronger, more negative hit on me.    I do believe that caring for the needs of our little children is the most important duty of society, and I believe that it is the primary duty of both parents to attend to this, and that it is best for the children, especially the small children, when the parents care for them in their homes.   I believe that it is the divine role and capacity of mothers to nurture and care for their small children whenever that is possible; and I do believe that mothers should be home with their small children “wherever possible.”

The attempt of the campaign mailing piece to portray me as either anti-women or lacking in understanding of women is a gross misrepresentation.  As an attorney for over 35 years, I have represented hundreds of women, including dozens of single-parent women with young children.  I have represented many of them on a pro bono or reduced fee basis, to help them deal with very difficult financial, marital, and children issues.  There are few people who truly understand the issues of single-parents as well as I do.   But I would also note that of all the mothers I have represented over the last 35 years, I do not recall one mother who would not have preferred to be home with her small children if at all possible.

Paul with his wife Terry and daughter ChristineFinally, for any who think that I harbor negative or inferior feelings of any sort towards women, I would suggest that you may wish to contact the women who have worked with me closely for many years, to get their feedback on me and on the misrepresentations of the Democrat hit piece.   You should know that my wife of 41 years and my two daughters are furious about this mailer.   Similarly, I believe the many women with whom I have associated in Frederick County government would also have very positive things to say about my regard for and treatment of women.

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