By Grace Apostol
On Nov. 30, at 6:30 p.m. in Norman James Theatre, the Society for Religion, Politics, and Culture hosted 23-year resident of Chestertown and local politician Tom Herz.
According to the email sent out by member of the club, sophomore Maria Karavasilis, Herz would be discussing the topics of “Chestertown/WAC Relations: How to become a ‘College Town’ vs a ‘Town with a College’, The Importance of College Representation in Municipal and County Politics, and The Importance of Public Service.”
At the beginning of the event, Herz introduced himself to the audience, stating that he was the 2nd Ward Councilman of Chestertown since 2020. He also recently ran for County Commissioner and lost by 431 votes. He began the discussion with his history.
Herz grew up in Salem, County N.J. in a Presbyterian working class town named Pennsville.
“I was a gregarious, but middling high school student,” he said.
Though he never thought he would have the academics to attend, Herz ended up studying at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, Pa. where he received his undergraduate in Criminal Justice.
According to himself, Herz joined Americorp the first year it was established and later on taught himself digital communications, then becoming a webmaster at Dixon Valves.
Herz then went on to discuss different policy initiatives within Chestertown, including a dashboard site called “Chestertown Reponds,” during the pandemic.
“I encouraged our mayor at the time, Mayor Cerino, to give regular and honest updates about the pandemic,” he said. “What this led to was engagement of about 10,000 people who were getting that truthful content grounded in our community.”
Herz also discussed important policies and issues of the Chestertown Community, including building a new middle school by 2026, the Armory Building, and the oil spill at the Chestertown Hospital.
The meeting then went on to a questions and answers session with present students.
Secretary of Service and Community Relations and sophomore Stephen Hook asked Herz how the unwelcoming environment in Chestertown toward the College could change. Herz replied that creating a relationship with the downtown community and Business association can help improve this relationship.
Similarly, another student asked how, as a college student, she can help in the community, but also be able to efficiently support herself and look towards her future. Herz responded stating that connecting with the unique people of the town could help.
“One of the things I loved about Chestertown when I was 28 and moved here, was that everybody I met seemed to have had this magical career,” he said. “…That all still exists. So, maybe some way to connect with all of that knowledge base that is downtown.”
Herz’s term as 2nd Ward Councilman will end in 2024. If you have any questions for Herz, you can email him at email@example.com.
Elm archive photo
Photo Caption: Tom Herz represents the second ward of Kent County, Md., which includes downtown businesses of Chestertown.