BY NOAH WOLCOTT
Former Salisbury mayor Jim Ireton has officially announced that he will be running for Congress after weeks of rumors.
Currently, Ireton sits on Salisbury’s City Council after serving as mayor from 2009-2015.
Ireton, a Democrat, is a member of the party holding seven of Maryland’s eight Congressional districts.
The only non-Democratic district (Maryland’s first district) is the seat Councilman Ireton will be competing for this year.
Maryland’s first district stretches from Taneytown in Carroll County all the way to Pocomoke in Worcester County and includes parts of Baltimore, Carroll and Harford Counties, as well as a large part of the Eastern Shore.
Besides Ireton, five other politicians are campaigning to take the seat currently held by Republican Andy Harris.
“He’s a phenomenal politician, yet full of life and personality,” Salisbury resident Dylan Reynolds said. “He’s not really how I imagine a congressman, but that’s what would make him such a good addition… I feel like a lot of politics are mundane and one-sided, (but) Jim Ireton feels like an actual human that wants to be a benefactor instead of a politician.”
“I don’t really think people take politics seriously anymore,” Salisbury University freshman Michael Hinman said. “They stopped trying to differentiate between right and wrong. Now they just try to keep their jobs. I think Jim (Ireton) wouldn’t care about the pay, and just want to make the place he grew up in better.”
Ireton, himself, is an alumnus of SU and graduated with a bachelor’s in Elementary Education. Later, he went on to earn a Master’s degree in Leadership and Teaching from Notre Dame University.
Despite his focus on education, Ireton said politics has always been an interest of his.
“I’ve always been into politics, since the time I was eight and watched my mother cry when Jimmy Carter lost,” he said.
He also said that during his time at SU, he often spoke to faculty members about politics when he should have been in class.
While he may not have studied politics as intently as he did the art of teaching, now Ireton says he seeks to make an even bigger impact and change the congressional first district for the better.
The councilman says he is particularly interested in keeping the environment healthy, providing accessible and affordable healthcare and making higher education more widely available.
“(The people) are aching for leadership,” he said. “Politicians right now, on the left and the right, they find something they can latch onto and point at the other side saying ‘you better elect me because they’re coming for you!’ and nobody’s really solving the problem.”
Ireton says that if he wins the bid for congress, he hopes to stop this and bridge the gap while implementing a lot of change.