President, County Comminssioners of Caroline County, District 36 (2014 - Present)
Chair, Roads Board, Caroline County, District 36 (2012 - Present)
Member, County Comminssioners of Caroline County, District 36 (2006 - Present)
To be claimed
Jefferson L. "Jeff" Ghrist is a Republican member of the Maryland House of Delegates, representing District 36. He was first elected to the chamber in 2014. Ghrist is running for re-election in the primary on June 26, 2018. The general election will take place on November 6, 2018.
Former Member, Subcommittee on Health and Human Resources, Maryland State House of Delegates
Member, Fair Practices and State Personnel Oversight
Member, Oversight Committee on Personnel
Member, Subcommittee on Capital Budget
Member, Subcommittee on Transportation and the Environment
In Jeff's first term as Commissioner he expressed his stark contrast to the ideology in Annapolis. His position and record is quite different than the current leadership in Annapolis. In his first year Jeff was quoted in a meeting's minutes by saying, "Commissioner Ghrist expressed his discontent over an article appearing in the October 29, 2007 edition of the Star-Democrat newspaper entitled "Counties urge lawmakers to pass O'Malley's plan." Mr. Ghrist stated that the Maryland Association of Counties' support of Governor Martin O'Malley's plan for raising many taxes, including the sales tax, corporate income tax, and taxes on various services, is disappointing to him. He stated, "the notion that the only way to preserve our so-called 'quality of life,' is to raise just about every tax and fee imaginable, is ridiculous, all in the name of helping those less fortunate."...Taxing Maryland residents into submission is not the answer to the State's $1.7 billion structural deficit, stated Mr. Ghrist. He expressed his concern for Caroline County's business community, as consumers will be inclined to travel to Delaware to avoid the higher sales tax." According to the Washington Examiner, Maryland state government has passed 40 new and increased taxes and fees since 2007. These new taxes have helped fund an increase of over $9 billion in new spending. The new/increased fees include: * Handgun licensing fees and other firearm registration fee* Electricity rate increase due to higher expense of power produced by offshore wind farm* Vehicle registration surcharge (Transportation package)* Maryland Transit Authority fare increase (Transportation package)* Indexing gas tax to increase with the consumer price index (Transportation package)* Applying wholesale tax to gasoline sales (Transportation package)* Income tax increase on Marylanders earning more than $100,000* Reduction of personal income exemption for Marylanders earning more than $100,000* Recordation tax applied to indemnity mortgages* Increase tobacco tax rate from 15 to 70 percent for certain products* Double death certificate fee* Repeal of the sales tax exemption on penalty charges assessed on the late return of gas cylinders* Double Bay Restoration fee ("Flush tax")* Require counties to collect Storm Water Management Fee ("Rain tax")* Increase Weights and Measures Registration fee* Double Lead Poisoning Prevention Fund Fee* New fee for major modifications under the Wetland Water Way Program* Hospital assessment* Alcoholic beverage sales tax increase from 6 to 9 percent* Vehicle dealer processing charge* Double vanity plate fee* Double vehicle certificate of title fee* Out of State Attorney Admission fee* Increase in contractor licensing and renewal fees* Double birth certificate fee* Eliminates exemption of premium tax on worker's compensation* Bridge and tunnel toll increases* Fishing license and registration fees* Speed cameras in school and work zones* Increase the top marginal tax rate from 5.5 to 6.25 percent ("Millionaire's tax"), since expired* Computer services tax* New income tax marginal rates from 4.75 to 5.5 percent* Increase sales tax from 5 to 6 percent* Increase state corporate income tax from 7 to 8.25 percent* Increase cigarette tax from $1 to $2 per pack* Increase vehicle titling tax from $23 to $25* Vehicle excise tax increase* Electronic gambling tip jar tax* Real property transfer tax* Elimination of Captive Real Estate Investment Trusts (1) Not only has the state government created and raised so many fees and taxes they have also confiscated revenues and shifted state expenditures on to local government. This has forced local governments to raise tax their own taxes against their will. When we hear that the state government has cut their budget we all scratch our heads. Those statements are disingenuous and misleading. The redistribution of wealth ideology here in Maryland is hurting everyone.Marylanders pay more out of our paychecks to the state government than ever before. Jeff believes that this money is better spent by the people rather than by self-serving politicians in Annapolis. He believes that lower taxes combined with reducing regulations are essential to stimulating economic growth and forcing government to remain small and efficient. Jeff will work to cut taxes so that we can keep more of their hard earned dollars. "It is a paradoxical truth that tax rates are too high and tax revenues are too low, and the soundest way to raise the revenues in the long run is to cut the rates now." John F. Kennedy (1) Brownfield, Andy. June 11, 2013. Gov. Martin O'Malley rings up $9.5 billion in new taxes. Washington Examiner. Retrieved from http://washingtonexaminer.com/gov.-martin-omalley-rings-up-9.5-billion-in-new-taxes/article/2531665
Jeff Ghrist believes that affordable and accessible heath care should be expanded to more people. He does not believe that the federal government should use their strategy of redistribution of wealth to accomplish this through the so called Affordable Care Act. Health care reform should be focused on lowering costs to consumers and businesses so that coverage can be more affordable and expanded to cover more of the uninsured. According to a report by the board of trustees for Medicare and Social Security, The Medicare trust fund will become insolvent by 2026. Given the insolvency of Social Security and Medicare, surely it is reasonable to question why Democrats forced Obamacare down the throats of Americans. We know there was a relatively short period of time when they controlled both the legislative and executive branches of government. Had they waited and compromised with some of the conservative healthcare reform ideas we might have had different results. Jeff adamantly opposes the Obamacare. Competing with the private industry and mandating individuals and businesses to pay for healthcare contradicts everything that is guaranteed as our right to liberty. Our forefathers sacrificed their lives to fight against this kind of government intrusion. Unfortunately we have elected officials who have a strong appetite for power over you and your family and are willing to do what it takes buy votes. Healthcare reform is absolutely necessary however our historically corrupt and inefficient federal government should stay clear and allow the professionals to compete and offer low cost options for all of us. For those who accuse conservatives of not having ideas of their own...here are a few. These ideas are not new or original. Conservative leaders have been talking about the following principles for years. Elimination of interstate commerce barriers. Americans who are not fortunate enough to get insurance from large employers or poor enough to qualify for Medicaid are at the mercy of choosing their health coverage in a monopolistic market using income that has already been taxed. The small numbers of available insurance companies are at the mercy of self serving legislators who place tremendous mandates by requiring certain types of coverage. Some mandates like "guaranteed issue" (people can wait until they are sick before obtaining insurance and "community rating" (forces insurance companies to charge the same rate no matter the health risk) appear compassionate until they force many people out of the market because policies become too expensive. Ironically it is often the insurance companies who are asking for these mandates to artificially increase demand for expanded policies or provide over insurance for healthy policy holders. People should be able to choose a policy that fits their needs from anywhere in our country.Malpractice tort reform. Any malpractice tort reform effort must balance the interests of injured patients, doctors, and the insurance industry while lowering costs, improving access, and ensuring quality. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, 93 percent of high risk specialists reported that they sometimes or often engaged in defensive medicine. Doctors who order unnecessary tests to protect themselves from costly lawsuits certainly contribute to higher healthcare costs. To reduce the threat of potential frivolous claims Jeff supports caps on non-economic damages and adopting a "loser pays" rule for attorney's fees.Free Market Insurance Exchanges. There is a serious problem with the lack of competition among insurers. Jeff supports private free market exchanges that will allow small businesses and associations to pool together and negotiate with insurance companies for prices and plans that fit the needs of their workers or members. Insurance companies should be allowed to bid on these pools of workers and associations anywhere in the country. Any exchange should not include a public option. Private insurance companies cannot compete with the federal government which has taxing authority at its disposal. Free Market insurance exchanges will help small businesses and self employed workers.Health Savings Accounts. Currently, workers who do not obtain health insurance in an employment setting must purchase insurance with income that has already been taxed. Those who take advantage of employer sponsored plans do so because it is part of the compensation package. Unfortunately most people believe that it is their employers, not them (by accepting lower wages and other benefits) who are paying for their insurance. Because workers feel as though they are not paying for all of their coverage will consequently demand more coverage than they would otherwise if they paid for their medical costs out of pocket. Because they have more insurance than they might otherwise need they also demand more medical services than necessary. Employer sponsored healthcare recipients have little incentive to reduce their medical consumption. This drives up the cost of healthcare. High demand for potentially unnecessary tests and procedures are paid for by insurance companies. They have to recover these costs by charging higher premiums. Prepaid insurance policies like Health Savings Accounts will allow people to own and control the finances, coverage and care, and therefore would search for health plans and providers that deliver on their specific needs rather than relying on their employer to offer plans that may not fit their needs. HSAs are owned by the consumer and follow them from job to job. The employer sponsored system lacks that portability. A worker and their employer can make tax-free contributions to the worker's HSA. The expenses and interest earned from the HSA are likewise not taxed. Supplemental insurance offerings are available for catastrophic events. Because consumers directly pay for their medical expenses they will have incentive to limit their consumption thereby lowering demand and ultimately lowering our country's overall medical costs. While Jeff supports moving toward a more free market system he does not support the elimination of the employer sponsored plans. He supports promoting and offering alternatives that might lower overall healthcare costs and provide more options.Expanded small urgent care facilities. For rural areas like the mid-shore expanded urgent care facilities are necessary. Hospital visits are expensive for both the patient and taxpayers. EMS services are heavily subsidized and an effort must be made to reduce the number of ambulance transports to emergency rooms.Increase number of primary care physicians. Lower pay, less prestige, high medical school debt and more administrative responsibilities have turned doctors away from family medicine which is one our lowest cost practices in medical care. Primary care doctors encourage healthy habits, manage chronic conditions, and provide routine check-ups and immunizations. Unfortunately many uninsured Americans use our emergency rooms rather than primary care physicians resulting in higher costs of healthcare.The problem will be exacerbated as the healthcare system will face a serious shortage of both primary care and specialist physicians. According to the Association of American Medical Colleges Center for Workforce Studies, there will be a shortage of 45,000 primary care physicians 46,000 surgeons by 2020. The state and the federal governments should provide greater incentives for medical students to move into family medicine and promote young people to enter into a medical career. This will not only lower costs but will help healthcare access in rural areas like the upper and mid-shore. "Government exists to protect us from each other. Where government has gone beyond its limits is in deciding to protect us from ourselves."-Ronald Reagan
Chesapeake Bay Jeff Ghrist has enjoyed a tremendous amount of time on the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries both catching fish and some days not catching fish. The Bay is a national treasure and folks come from all over come to visit places like Blackwater National Refuge and historic Annapolis, St. Michaels and Crisfield. For locals, though, the bay provides excellent views, entertainment and the world's best seafood. These are just a few reasons why we must do whatever we can to protect the Chesapeake Bay. Jeff understands how fragile the ecosystem of the Bay is and the impacts urban sprawl, residential and agriculture pressures have on its biodiversity. One might wonder why this is a federal government issue. Why not rely on the State of Maryland to fix the problem? The Chesapeake Bay watershed is 64,000 square miles and covers areas of six states. Approximately 17 million people live in the watershed. Because the watershed is so large it takes coordinated efforts by the federal government and six state governments to ensure that all stakeholders work together. This is the reason why the EPA has mandated the TMDL pollution diet on the five states in the bay's watershed. A balance, however, must be struck with preserving property rights and ensuring that new regulations do not have a negative impact on our economy. Our laws and regulations must be scientifically based and have a meaningful impact on the Bay. We must shift the new paradigm of punishing people or holding people accountable for their impacts on the environment while using phony environmental data. While Jeff wholeheartedly supports pragmatic scientifically supported environmental law he will continue to fight the radical approach that Maryland has taken on environmental issues. We need to account for the costs and property rights of our residents when all laws and regulations are passed. We should not pass high cost laws and regulations that results in very little marginal benefits. Jeff is very confident this balance can be struck. We do not have much of a choice if we want future generations to enjoy the bounty that the Chesapeake Bay offers. Jeff remembers as a child dipping soft crabs from the shallow waters in a cove near Claiborne, running trot lines with his brothers and casting to breaking rockfish. He wants to ensure that his children and eventually his grandchildren will have equally enjoyable memories. As they say, we should leave our future generations with only our footprints not our trash. We have a responsibility to not give up on the bay. Global Warming Jeff is not as warm on the global warming issue. He is still trying to find credible evidence proving whether or not the human release of carbon dioxide is a significant factor relative to natural temperature variations in the atmosphere. There are many conflicting reports out there. These are important considerations when developing policy. There are well documented risks to global warming. However, there are also risks to global warming policies including mandates, quotas, regulations, restrictions, rations and offsets. Coal, oil, and natural gas provide the world with most of its energy. Some reports argue that it will be costly to reduce emissions from fossil fuels by enough to make even a modest reduction in the earth's future temperature. Some also say that if the U.S. fully implements the provisions of the Kyoto Treaty the cost might be hundreds of billions of dollars annually but might only reduce our global temperatures by just 0.07 degrees by 2050. If these numbers are true the costs of capping carbon dioxide are large but the benefits are small. These costs will be borne by consumers. Since we all use energy the poorest families will be hit the hardest. The potential of further economic decline in an effort that might result in small marginal benefits is not worth the risk. Until there is more consistent reporting proving human cause, Jeff will not support cap and trade or any other restrictive carbon dioxide related regulations. He will also not support high cost alternative energy sources if they only deliver marginal results.
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