CAMBRIDGE — A third Republican has declared his candidacy for Maryland’s 2014 gubernatorial race, launching a statewide campaign kickoff which stopped in Cambridge Thursday morning, Sept. 5 at the Bay Country Bakery.
Charles Lollar of Charles County has joined Harford County Executive David Craig and Del. Ronald George of Anne Arundel County to seek the seat Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley must give up at the end of his second term. Maryland’s gubernatorial primary will be held June 24, 2014.
Regular patrons of the bakery and cafe were greeted Thursday morning by several enthusiastic Lollar supporters waving signs along U.S. Route 50 inviting them to “Achieve the Dream with Charles Lollar for Governor.”
Lollar began campaigning Labor Day and planned to conclude his statewide tour with an event Friday afternoon at the City Dock in Annapolis.
Reducing taxes, reigning in regulations and encouraging a business-friendly environment in which jobs will be created are among Lollar’s goals for Maryland and his reasons for seeking the governor’s seat.
During an interview before his remarks to the public, Lollar, who is black, spoke of being offended by a woman of a different race who refused to shake his hand while he was campaigning at a Labor Day parade. The woman criticized his decision to be a Republican, telling Lollar he was denying the dream of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.
Instead of defining yourself as a Republican or a Democrat, Lollar asked, “Why can’t we just be Marylanders and Americans first?” He suggested that the career politicians who govern Maryland use party alliances to divide people.
Rather than being a Republican or a Democrat, Lollar said, “I’m going to be a governor for all of Maryland.”
So why is he a Republican? Speaking with his wife, Rosha, by his side, Lollar said, “Our lives more closely align to their philosophy,” testifying to their Christian faith.
When they were first married, Lollar said, “We started out broke.” Although the first of their four daughters arrived within the first year of their now 20-year marriage, he said, “I never asked the government for a thing.”
Lollar said he was not criticizing those who rely on financial help from state and federal government, explaining that he has not had the need to do so.
“As long as I had two hands and two feet, I’ve figured it out,” he said. “With the opportunities available in this nation, there is nothing you can’t do.”
Lollar said he had worked up to four jobs at a time, starting at the age of 13, delivering newspapers and working his way through high school and college bagging groceries, stocking shelves and making door-to-door sales.
Still serving in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserves as an intelligence officer at the rank of major, Lollar was on active duty in Kosovo after initially entering the Corps full-time.
He has degrees from Emory and Kennesaw universities and a master’s degree in business from Regent University.
He served as a general manager for the Cintas Corporation, which provides work apparel, restroom and other business support supplies, where he oversaw 170 employees with a $23 million sales budget. Previously he worked for UPS, managing more than 30 employees.
Politically, in 2010 Lollar was the Republican’s choice to challenge Rep. Steny Hoyer for Maryland’s Fifth Congressional District. He is also involved in a number of political organizations, currently serving on the board of the Maryland Taxpayers Association and several other organizations and is the former chairman of the New Day Maryland Political Action Committee, according to information at lollar4governor.com.
“We need to reintroduce Maryland to what a thriving middle class is,” Lollar said in Cambridge Thursday morning.
“Prosperity doesn’t come from the governor,” he said. “We need small business,” including farmers and watermen.
In recent years, Lollar said, Maryland has become increasing unfriendly to businesses of all sizes, noting five major corporations located regional headquarters and manufacturing plants in Virginia in 2010 after initially considering Maryland, including Hilton, Volkswagen and Northrup Grumman, suggesting a total loss of 5,000 to 6,000 jobs here.
Maryland is also becoming an increasingly difficult place for people to live, according to Lollar, who said 1.4 million people left the state between 2000 and 2010, taking with them some $5.5 billion in tax dollars, which he said represents one-sixth of the state’s entire income tax revenue.
Lollar is suggesting a return to Maryland’s 5-cent-per-dollar sales tax, a drop from 9.25 percent to 5 percent for corporate taxes and a reduction in fuel taxes.
On the subject of regulations, he said, “It’s out of control,” questioning the logic of regulations created behind a desk by bureaucrats, without sufficient discussion with those the regulations will affect.
Lollar believes such measures would increase business in Maryland and increase job availability.
The past week’s cross-state campaigning has also been a fundraising effort, with Lollar supporters reminding those gathered in Cambridge to hear him Thursday that they were encouraged to contribute $62 to the candidate who they said would serve as the 62nd governor of Maryland.