By Jack Chavez, Staff Writer
(Sept. 22, 2022) Residents of Berlin — and Worcester County — have been reading Steve Green’s reactions to what’s happening around town for years, and it is very likely, come Oct. 4, he’ll be given the power to be an agent of change instead of an observer.
Green is running unopposed for the District 1 council seat, for which sitting Councilmember Troy Purnell will not seek reelection.
Green was born and raised in Salisbury, where he went to school through the 8th grade. In 1990 his family moved to Berlin, where he graduated from what is now Worcester Preparatory High School. After graduating from Loyola University in Baltimore and seven years living in Ocean City, he moved back to Berlin in 2000. He and his wife of 16 years have two sons.
During this time he also started working at the family business — The Maryland Coast Dispatch weekly newspaper based in Berlin. He is now that newspaper’s Editor-in-Chief.
The idea to run for office isn’t one made in haste, Green said. He first thought of running in District 1 when he learned that Purnell, who is a 12-year incumbent, was not running.
Green, who as a newspaperman is aware of what some would consider a conflict of interest — running a newspaper and holding an elected position — said he has been taking steps since January to limit as much as he can his exposure to his newspaper’s coverage of Berlin.
“I get it. My response is I fully agree that active media members traditionally do not seek office. I’m ready to be involved in the government process and policymaking. I’ve published hundreds of editorials about Berlin over my career and I’m ready to put my beliefs toward the greater good of the town. I’m looking forward to the challenge of showing the voters and competing media that I won’t take advantage of the position.”
Today, he says he sees his newspaper’s coverage of the town when readers see it.
“I don’t look at (Berlin beat writer Charlene Sharp’s) content,” he said. “If I’m quoted in it, I learn it when other people do. All I can say is, be honest on that. People can evaluate me over time if that changes. That’s my plan and January is when I decided to start shifting these responsibilities to other people.”
He also said he didn’t use in-house graphics to help create his campaign signage, which he said is an indicator of how far he will go to show voters they can trust his ethics and moral compass. He also said there will likely be some issues the council takes up from which he may have to abstain. And his newspaper will not bid on legal advertising while he’s in office.
“It’s unusual (for an editor to run for office), but I think my background brings quite a bit of positive more than negatives,” he said.
Looking at those positives, Green said he brings passion, knowledge, dedication, professionalism and a lot of experience in working with others as a newcomer to the council. He’s held other leadership positions as well in communications organizations that provide knowledge and familiarity with working with individuals toward a goal.
“I’ve been a small-business owner for 25 years,” he said. “In Berlin, I know what it’s like to run a business in town. I’m very aware and feel it when budget changes are made and property taxes increase on both (homes and businesses). I feel them just like everyone else. I’ll be the only person on the council that owns a business in the municipal part of Berlin, which in itself brings a unique perspective.”
And he believes that perspective is further enhanced by his editorial position.
“Being an editor provides me with a unique perspective. I think I will bring an unmatched education and awareness of the issues that have surfaced over the last 25 years. I remember when Berlin Main Street had vacancies and it was quiet. Hot summer days used to be quiet. Now it’s bustling, rain or shine.”