And in walked John Kachmar.

By Ken Rossignol

In the 1994 General Election in St. Mary’s County, Maryland, two of my conservative Republican columnists in my firebrand tabloid ST. MARY’S TODAY whipped two Democrats, one a good old boy Democrat commissioner everyone labeled ‘unbeatable,’ and the other an elitist leftwinger Democrat who was parlaying his power as a member of the County’s planning commission for campaign donations from developers.

 The lefty, Joe Anderson, sneered at Chris Brugman, calling him a ‘paperboy’ as he and his family were newspaper distributors for the Washington Post. Anderson’s campaign paid off the moderator of the League of Women Voters debate to hunt for anything negative to use out of two years’ worth of Brugman’s political columns so their followers could join Anderson in smearing and distorting Brugman at the debate. It was my pleasure to reveal the ethical lapse of the journalist moderator as he was a reporter for me, and it was a hot story, blowing up in the faces of the Democrats.

It turned out that Republican Larry Jarboe beat incumbent Commissioner Eddie Bailey by about 500 votes, and Brugman beat Anderson by over 3,000 votes. Many newspaper customers liked their ‘paperboy’ and the arrogant Anderson failed to learn until it was too late that Brugman was related to several large county families.  

The Paperboy won by over 3,000 votes.

Along with Jarboe and Brugman, the preeminent Reagan conservative organizer Frances Eagan was elected to the first all-Republican sweep of the St. Mary’s County commissioner board in modern history. With her husband and a partner, she owned a bustling defense contractor doing business with the Navy at the Patuxent River Naval Air Test Center, Webster Field at St. Inigoes, and Charleston, South Carolina.

 Two liberal Republicans filled out the complete five-member Board. Barbara Thompson and Paul Chesser were the original Rino Republicans and favored raising taxes, keeping the Good Old Boy system of government in place along with their entrenched bureaucrats.  

St. Mary’s County Administrator Edward Cox had been running the County since 1976, and the newly elected conservatives who burst on the scene with a mandate from the voters to stop spiraling tax hikes and provide responsive government were adamant about replacing Cox and several of his henchmen who the populace believed to be pompous and inefficient. On a three-two vote, the conservative majority decided to end Cox’s tenure, and he took off for parts unknown with the secretary of one of his cohorts.

The Commissioner Board was looking around for a new administrator, and while Aleck Loker, a top civilian on the navy base, was retiring and available, a desire for a professional administrator to come to town to straighten out decades of corruption was burning like a fire amidst the majority of the Board.  

When the new Board was elected, Cox immediately overwhelmed the newly elected Board with jargon, liberal big government philosophy, and a consultant from the University of Maryland to lead the new “team” in orientation on how to govern ‘responsibly.’   The talking point that the defeated Good Old Boys, Rino Republicans, and liberals used to show their shock at the ideas that the new conservative Republicans on the St. Mary’s Board intended to apply to operate county government was the word “stability,” Paul Chesser mumbled “stability” nearly every week, when he voted no, just before dozing off in the meeting.

St. Mary’s Commissioner Babs Thompson keeps the new commissioners in the dark and feeds them manure.

The prospect of having the same ones who had provided a sprawling mess of corruption, higher taxes, overburdened schools and roads, giving orientation to Brugman and Jarboe was appalling. Yet, I knew while they won big, they needed to gain some perspective on the whole gamut of government.

Therefore, to set up a proper orientation. I arranged with intelligent and experienced folks I knew to independently give Jarboe and Brugman an hour or so to provide their views and perspectives on government.

Ben-Bradlee-with-Larry-Jarboe-and-Chris-Brugman-after-they-won-the-1994-election-at-his-office-at-Washington-Post offices on K Street in Washington DC. Photo by Ken Rossignol.

Experienced Calvert County Commissioner Pat Buehler, three-term St. Mary’s Commissioner Larry Millison, environmentalist Jack Witten, former Senator J. Frank Raley Jr., Senator Roy Dyson, States Attorney Walter Dorsey, banker Jack Daugherty, and famous newspaper editor Ben Bradlee, who owned a weekend home in St. Mary’s and subscribed to my newspaper, were the panelists in independent sessions. The pair of newbie commissioners got quite an education in finance, law, environmental issues, news, and politics.

With Cox heading out of the way, the choice of an outsider loomed to replace him, an unknown quantity, and the prospect of Loker, local, educated, enjoying a close working relationship with the Navy, the County’s largest employer, was logical. My read on the matter was that the three-member majority would select an unknown quantity. Therefore, I asked banker Daugherty to contact either Eagan or Thompson to sway them into choosing Loker.

Therefore, the out-of-town hired gun was turned aside in favor of the known quantity.

Barbara Thompson took care of that, and with her constant and daily rants of anger and yelling at Loker as she tried to be the Queen of the County, after eight months, Loker told the commissioners he didn’t sign up for the mayhem of “Babs” Thompson and quit.

The conservatives went back to the guy they wanted to hire, found he was still available, and, voila, John Kachmar walked in. Big John.

They brought the gunslinger to town, pronto. The hired gun.

Along came John,

Tall, thin John,

And then along came John,

Tall, thin John,

Slow-walkin’ John,

Slow-talkin’ John,

Along came long, lean, lanky John.

(Credit for lyrics to Along Came Jones by The Coasters, Writer/s: Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller)

The liberal Democrats, the Rino Republicans, the Emptyprize newspaper, and its hack staffers all blew their minds. The Good Old Boys, the developers who had their personal side entrance for fast-track permit approvals, had meltdowns. At the same time, the general public was toyed with by petty bureaucrats, the Keystone Cops Sheriff’s Department, who dealt in favors for the favored and hell for those who weren’t; all had a day of reckoning.

Good-Old-Boys-get-whipped-in-1994. John C. Wright.

When the newly elected St. Mary’s Commissioners embraced the defeated Board’s plan for a new $23 million Judicial Palace, Sen. Roy Dyson killed the bond bill that would have funded it. Within six months, the conservative majority changed their votes and opted to expand and renovate the existing Circuit Courthouse.

County Administrator John Kachmar got the project completed in spite of every sneaky thing that Judge John Hanson Briscoe could pull behind closed doors to thwart it and return to a new building, leaving Leonardtown in a slump towards being a rathole of crime and closed stores.
Years later, the idea to name the courthouse came from Circuit Court Judge Karen Abrams and was spearheaded in Annapolis by the county’s legislative delegation; Delegates John Bohanan, Tony O’Donnell, and John Wood, and Senator Roy Dyson, who named the courthouse in 2014 after Briscoe, in yet another victory of incompetence for politicians. Ironically, the next month, both Bohanan and Dyson lost their seats in the November General Election.

It was the first time a professional government administrator with a serious track record had ever been at the helm of St. Mary’s County government.

What are the differences between hack politicians becoming county administrators and professionals?
Experts are sometimes defined as being former, using “ex” as something and spurts as a drip under pressure.

When Kachmar left St. Mary’s County following the 1998 election, which brought in one Rino Republican and four Democrats, the new Board hired a lawyer, Al Lacer. Lacer’s most successful endeavor was to write his own contract, which guaranteed that the next Board elected in 2002 with a Republican majority would have to pay him a considerable buyout to get rid of him. 

When Kachmar took over in 1996, he immediately put health care into a bid process, improving health care for county employees and saving money in the process. Apparently, the previous contract extensions were negotiated in boozy sessions between the providers and the St. Mary’s honchos at Ocean City bars, golf courses, and crab feasts.  

“John got nearly every deputy a new police vehicle instead of just five or six a year by placing the orders in bulk, arranging for the financing,” said Frances Eagan after learning that Kachmar had died on April 12th. “Because of his expertise, we fully funded education in our county budget each year.”

Kachmar disrupted the arrangement planned by the Good Old Boys for a new emergency system as the inferior, sporadic, and out-of-date county radio system failed daily and only pleased the provider and whoever was being paid off. Deputies who were being screwed over for their retirements suddenly found Kachmar appearing at the retirement board meetings and insisting that the law be followed. 

Big John Kachmar and newly hired County Attorney Doug Durkin faced a long list of problems to fix: Corruption at the county-operated nursing home, dysfunction in the operation of the county jail, with correctional officers pointing out that the overcrowding has inmates housed in the indoor gym and recreation provided only once per week and not enough staff to cover all shifts.

Kachmar learned a lot in his ten years as Chief of Staff for U.S. Rep. Don Ritter of Pennsylvania as county administrator of his home, Lehigh County in Pennsylvania, Minnesota, and Pittsburgh.


When St. Mary’s County gained a two-hundred-acre park due to Sen. Bernie Fowler successfully convincing Maryland to use open space funds to buy a waterfront site slated for development, which ended up as an asset of regulators which a developer bellied up, a new war started on the Patuxent. It wasn’t the British arriving to lay siege to Washington as took place in 1814. This time it was snakes posing as ‘Friends of Myrtle Point.’ The snakes were nearby property owners who didn’t want to see boat launching ramps, fishing piers, youth sports fields, or any use of the property that might bring the unwashed near their pricey waterfront estates and homes.

Kachmar had the county staff map out how the “Friends” were simply disgruntled over what would have been a similar upscale development being an attraction to visitors arriving with boxes of fried chicken, smelly bait, and raucous crowds cheering kids playing softball or soccer. There is nothing uglier than entitled liberals being caught and exposed as creeps.

Not every challenge Kachmar dealt with was learned at prior executive positions, in his service as a United States Marine in Vietnam, in the Seabees as a reservist, or at Moravian College.

On one fall Tuesday, as the commissioners droned through their agenda, one of the most boring but unpredictable aspects of the weekly meetings, I heard some mumbling about a non-governmental event, which resulted in some illness.  

Why was it the County’s problem? During the lunch break, I asked Doug Durkin why they spoke in code. Durkin told me that a church supper in Chaptico serving stuffed ham had made a lot of people sick.

The number of people had soared to the hundreds, and later, it was revealed that several older people had died. Busloads of folks came from out of the area to the supper, which takes place at many firehouses and churches in Maryland in the fall and spring, and this was no exception. 

My call to the assignment editor at WUSA9 News in D.C., where I functioned as a stringer, brought a satellite truck, a reporter, and a photographer to the County within an hour. Soon, the county commissioners’ meeting room and parking lot were swarming with big trucks and cameras.

The health department gathered some spokesmen and women. The next day, as shown in this photo, county commissioners and Kachmar were in the rear of the room as the health officials worked to answer how the traditional Southern Maryland Stuffed Ham had turned deadly. The cause of the food-borne illness was soon determined to be placing whole stuffed hams in steam cookers and failing to achieve proper cooking temperatures in the center of the ham. Health Department personnel were dispatched to every country dinner and conducted training to ensure that no one was again injured by a stuffed ham.

1998 Election Ends GOP Control of Board
in St. Mary’s County, Maryland

John Kachmar gave me as a reference to the Beaufort County Council, which was considering hiring him as their county administrator in 1998. Three council members traveled to St. Mary’s and visited me in my Lexington Park office. I told them not to hire him, as St. Mary’s County really needed him.  

They hired him anyway, and Kachmar found a new county with two airports, a fleet of aircraft, both helicopters and fixed wings, used to spray for mosquitoes on the vast coastal islands, creeks, rivers, and bays that range north from Daufuskie Island, to Hilton Head to the coastal Hunting Island State Park.  

On a trip to Beaufort Airport at Lady’s Island in 2000, when I worked with Kachmar on special assignments, we planned to take several Beaufort council members on a flight over a barrier island the County was planning to buy to preserve. Kachmar coordinated the acquisition of three surplus Navy C-131s and even a DC-3 to convert to spray for mosquitos.

A gleaming jet was parked on the runway, standing out from the usual aircraft, and I asked our pilot who it belonged to. He told me the Governor of Texas was in town and was at a presidential primary event at Hilton Head, pointing out a nearby Texas Ranger who was in charge. I asked the Ranger if Gov. George W. Bush would be back soon as I wanted him to be in photos with Kachmar and other officials such as John Payne, the new Beaufort County economic development director that Kachmar hired from Sen. Strom Thurman’s Washington staff.  

President George W. Bush with Beaufort County Administrator John Kachmar as Bush campaigned in the 2000 GOP primary in South Carolina. Photo by Ken Rossignol

The motorcade was due to arrive in minutes, said the Ranger, and when it did, he pointed me out to Governor Bush, who walked over to talk to me and quickly agreed to photos. By the end of that year, the tumultuous events of the election and the Florida hanging chads had propelled Bush into the White House and left Kachmar with a photo he was proud to have on his desk and, in 2021, in his campaign literature for his unsuccessful bid to be mayor of Bethlehem.

With a population larger than St. Mary’s, challenges of accommodating demand for new homes on golf courses, a bustling hospitality industry, close to the intensely traveled I-95 and a short distance to Savanah, the Intercoastal Waterway, Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort, and the incredible history of the Low Country and challenges involving race, education, preserving coastal islands, new populations fleeing the north to Sun City and other retirement projects, there was a never-ending list of problems for daily consumption of his time.

Kachmar brought a delegation of Beaufort officials to Maryland to learn how MDOT set up camera systems, emergency pre-position of road crews to clear out stalled vehicles, and coordination of traffic signals in critical transportation arteries to apply to the immense traffic problems leading to Hilton Head.

As most county managers and executives only last about five to seven years, Kachmar soon found the political masters of Beaufort to be typically unique and accepted a new position as the first city manager of a new city on the outskirts of Atlanta, Georgia. Johns Creek was created from unincorporated areas, and all new city departments needed to be created, including fire and police departments.

The Jasper County Attorney David Tedder worked with John Kachmar in Beaufort County, South Carolina, and the City of Johns Creek in Georgia.

Dave sent this truly informative account of Kachmar’s work as the County Administrator of Beaufort and the City Manager of Johns Creek at my request.

David Tedder

Kachmar Provided Me with A Professional Education in Government

By David Tedder

Jasper County Attorney, South Carolina

It was with a great deal of sorrow that I learned of the passing of John Kachmar. He became Beaufort County Administrator here in South Carolina in the late 1990s to about 2004, at a time when land use and growth were a hot-button issue with the implementation of the County’s first state-mandated Comprehensive Plan.

As a native of Beaufort, a land use attorney, and a citizen on an advisory group working on the ordinances changing zoning areas and standards in both the rapidly growing regions in the southern part of the County, I came to appreciate and admire his straight-forward approach to tackling a difficult job fraught with political minefields all around.

Trying to respect landowner rights while addressing the rightful concerns of those trying to preserve a way of life in the Lowcountry was not an easy task. While many did not appreciate his viewpoints and advice at the time, I believe all knew he had no ulterior motives and was doing his best to make government work for the competing interests of its citizens. He brought a business approach to many areas of county government that had been lacking, and his tenure here set the stage for subsequent improvements to governance in our County. He could do so with a sense of humor (most of the time).

I still appreciate those years I was able to have a professional and personal relationship with John, getting both a professional education on governance that has assisted me in my 20-plus years as a municipal and County attorney but also a look into the heart of a man who served his Country bravely and honorably in time of war, as well as in peace. While John did not speak too often about his Vietnam experiences, it was evident they shaped and molded his sincere sense of loyalty and duty.

Several years later, as John took the helm in John’s Creek, Georgia, in the mid-2000s, he asked me to assist with the City’s creation of its Comprehensive Plan as the existing communities surrounding Atlanta were incorporated into cities. This, again, was a cutting-edge task John undertook.

Those communities needed to replace the county governance with a fully functional municipal government that took care of the essentials of police, fire, waste, zoning and planning, public facilities, parks, public works, transportation, tax collection, and the like. John’s Creek, similar to the adjoining community of Sandy Springs, took the innovative approach of contracting for these services with an outside group that provided clerks, department heads, and the whole gamut so the City could hit the ground running. It took a special kind of leader to be able to work in an entirely new way of providing government services. Almost the whole administration was privately contracted.

I worked with him and the City on this project for a little more than a year. It was a pleasure working with John watching him and the council implement a new way of doing things. It was a different approach to governance, and in the seven or eight years John was managing the administration, he put his fingerprints on what has turned out to be one of the more successful stories of starting up a fully functioning full-service city.

The year I spent going to John’s Creek and working with him and the contract staff provided me with an insight into his innovative and insightful approach to not just governance but also into the depth of his being an honorable person.

His ability to see the opportunities in a non-traditional approach to governance is a skill not many have since it seems local government often has an inertia of doing things the same as always for the sake of avoiding controversy (and maybe failure) that stifles progress. John was not one of those. Instead, he was ever inquisitive about finding new and better ways to provide services and have an efficient government.

All in all, it was an honor and privilege to have known John; he was a committed public servant his entire adult life.



In an interview in his office at Johns Creek City, Kachmar told reporter Doug Nurse of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution in 2007, “I’m probably the last of a generation that still feels that you can make government work.”

“A Marine in 1967, he saw the USS Liberty intelligence ship attacked by Israel in the Six Day War, a controversial incident that strained U.S.-Israeli relations for years. Months later, he was wounded near the Marine artillery base at Camp Carroll and then again at Dai Do, a hamlet near the North Vietnam border that was the scene of a furious three-day battle. He’s mentioned several times in a book about the battle called “The Magnificent Bastards. “

Q: You joined the Marines.

A: “I was trained as a rifleman. My battalion went on a battalion float, and we went to the Mediterranean. I was there in June 1967, floating off the coast of Israel. It was the first time we were issued live ammunition. We ended up on the docks of Haifa for about 12 hours because they told us we would be evacuating American nationals.

We went back to the ship, and I saw the shelling that night of the USS Liberty. We saw the gun flashes from 10-12 miles away, and we were told the next morning it was an American ship that it was damaged or sunk . . . We got orders in Naples for Vietnam. If you accepted them, then you got 15 days’ leave; if you didn’t, then you got 10. I said yeah. I got to Vietnam in October 1967, and I was there for 1968, which was Tet. I was in the Second Battalion, Fourth Marines. I spent a year there. I was up by the DMZ (Demilitarized Zone). I was outside the wire at Khe Sanh. (And) I was inside the wire. I was at the battle of Dai Do. It was a three-day pitched battle. Most weren’t like that. We went in with 840 Marines, and 156 made it back. I was lucky to survive . . . I got to meet two of the guys on the other side during a visit to Hanoi in 2004. One was a 72-year-old man, who had been a major in the NVA. Both of them had been there. It was just fascinating talking to them, and comparing notes, and saying how wrong it was to kill each other. We all came to that conclusion, as only sane people could do.”

Kachmar sent me this commentary about a story he read where a man wrote about how one of his three sons opted to join the Marines instead of going off to an exclusive college:

“My personal experience was similar during the Vietnam Nam War and after my return. Many of my classmates at the “rich” college I went to treated me like a minority race person (even though I was more intelligent than them), and many of my professors were the same ( but not all; the WWII vet professors treated me like an equal and one exceptionally bright history prof befriended me ). I believe today’s college campuses are even worse in this regard because they are staffed by the Left. I really understand how America’s minorities perceive their fellow citizens; the whole experience was an eye-opener. There is still a perception held by many middle-class and upper-class Americans of “what went wrong ” when today’s youth enter the service. I have observed this behavior for years. Post WWII America is the land of the free and home of the brave – But only for those who give a shit. We are a class and status-driven society that lets our “inferior citizens” fight for our perceived freedoms. The media have driven this message for the last 50-plus years. When “common” people tell me, “Thank you for your service,” I always give them a positive reply, albeit quietly. The phrase makes me weary when others mouth it because it has become a popular expression, somewhat like the southern “y’all.” I wish it would have never been adopted. It masks insincerity in many who have discouraged their own children ( and most notably themselves) from serving in the military or other public service professions. I don’t think the America I believed in in 1966 still exists save for small insular communities.”

 After Johns Creek

That challenge in Johns Creek kept Kachmar busy for about seven grueling years, and this time, he didn’t have a nice house on a barrier island complete with alligators and saltwater crocodiles on the ocean beach as he did in Beaufort.

 One newly acquired addition to his life he found in Beaufort was the lovely and captivating Tracie Barnes, who stayed with him as his partner for life and to the day of his death. Tracie and John settled in Bethlehem, where he did consulting work for clients and met with a regular bunch of guys on Saturday mornings for breakfast cigars and to solve the world’s problems.

Concerned about the rise of anti-Semitism even as he struggled valiantly to beat the curse of cancer linked to Agent Orange in his service in Vietnam as a combat Marine

St.-James-Church in St. Mary’s County, Md., -and-Father-John LaFarge-who-wrote-the-unpublished-work-before-Hitler-took-over.- photo from the Pictorial History of the St. Inigoes Mission

The unpublished encyclical of Father John LaFarge

The mind of a brilliant and inquisitive seeker of truth never slowed down due to the excruciating pain and discomfort Kachmar was going through as he fought his last battle of life in treatment since October of 2022 for cancer-related to his being defoliated in the jungles of Vietnam by the wonders of our American Military Industrial Complex and it’s deleterious Agent Orange. 

Kachmar called me a few weeks before he died to tell me that a remarkable figure from history once lived in St. Mary’s County. Since I have a copy of the Pictorial History of the St. Inigoes Mission, which I often use for reference and research, I was able to send him a photo of that Jesuit in minutes. Kachmar told me he wasn’t surprised I had the background on the matter.

Father John LaFarge wrote a book, Interracial Justice, which had found its way to Pope Pius XI, and when the Pope learned LaFarge was in Rome, he summoned the American Jesuit to his summer palace. LaFarge’s book urged America to live up to the letter of the Declaration of Independence that all men are created equal, that colored Americans could not and should not be treated differently, and denied basic human and civil rights. These were not theories to Father LaFarge as he spent years working with rural folks in St. Mary’s County at St. James Catholic Church and in the first high school for colored children of St. Mary’s County at the Cardinal Gibbons Institute next to St. Peter Clavers’ Church in St. Inigoes, Md.  

Cardinal Gibbons Institute main building, Ridge, Maryland

The occasion and assignment to LaFarge by the Pope have been written about as it could have been an important anecdote in the leadup to Hitler’s quest for world domination. The Pope was so impressed with LaFarge’s writings that he wanted him to write an encyclical that rejected anti-Semitism and the Nazi doctrine that expressed it.

The Pope told LaFarge that he wanted to issue an encyclical and for LaFarge to write it, to use the same reasoning that LaFarge wrote about racism in the United States to denounce Nazism facing to destroy Europe and to denounce its underpinning of anti-Semitism. LaFarge expressed his doubts about his ability to achieve that goal, and Pope told him that he was the perfect one to lay out in simple words as he had done in his book, saying to him, “I decided you are the one, the right person for the job, God has sent you to me to do this, you are heaven-sent.”

The Pope instructed LaFarge to complete the work in secret, and LaFarge later told friends that he was stunned at the enormity of his assignment, with so little time to accomplish it, “The Rock of Peter has fallen on my head,” he wrote. The book that Kachmar learned about LaFarge may have been The Pope’s Last Crusade, How an American Jesuit Helped Pope Pius XI’s Campaign to Stop Hitler, by Peter Eisner.

The tragedy of the assignment by Pope XI was that the encyclical was never published, as Pope Pius XI died in February 1939. Cardinal Pacelli followed him as Pius XII, leaving the encyclical unknown until its discovery in his papers following LaFarge’s death. Then, it was groused about in dozens of publications that spread the theory that the new papal establishment purposely let it be buried in Vatican archives.  

The crush of anti-Semitism that was spreading across the world in the months before Kachmar died and caused him to ask me about the early years of Father John LaFarge was typical in the character and makeup of lanky John Kachmar – always having an eye on the battle against totalitarian savagery.

It also shows the tragedy of the loss of the brilliant mind of John Kachmar, a very humane individual who touched so many people in many areas of the United States. Kachmar left behind so many who treasured their time with him and learned so much in the process. Kachmar put into practice his belief that government could be made to work fairly and efficiently.

Kachmar developed an appreciation of fishing in Alaska and reveled in his newfound passion for extricating finned prizes of the deep from a small boat tossed in rough seas.


“Just to prove I was in Alaska fishing. Notice the Marine Corps baseball cap. No longer “first to fight” but definitely “First to Fish.””
This was the caption Kachmar sent me along with his photo.



Kachmar did consulting work for some of the most high-profile operations around who wanted to navigate the complexities of government. However, his most incredible temporary job was as a census enumerator for the 2020 census. He quickly learned the corruption in how counts are done, especially in senior housing centers and multiple-story apartment buildings.

Never one to attempt to convince citizens to give him a vote at the ballot box, Kachmar, now back in his hometown where he grew up, decided to take the plunge into politics and change City Hall from being a backwater operation of typical Democratic party incompetence and filed as the Republican candidate for mayor.  John took the high road instead of my prodding him to throw all the dirt at the Democrats that they so richly deserved, and he didn’t make it.

Kachmar sent me this note after reading my endorsement of John O’Connor for Sheriff in the St. Mary’s County, Maryland 2022 GOP primary: “Sheriff candidate (Steve Hall) is unreal, Voorhaar endorsed, Fritz endorsed, might as well get Margaret Hamilton lookalike to endorse. O’Connor sounds like an interesting guy. Honestly, St. Mary’s County is a very strange place.”

After reading a guest commentary on the 2022 elections in THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY by Len Foxwell, John Kachmar sent me this note:

“The article is interesting, especially his conclusions on voter turnout. Maybe the Country, not just Maryland, has become the victim of extreme forces in both parties. When close to or more than 80% of voters don’t show up in primaries, we have thrown democracy out of the window. Nazi Germany in the early 30’s serves as an example of potential extremism. “Woke” politics and “Cultism” on the far left and far right seem to be Center Stage, with the majority of Americans not in either camp. Scary Shit! Way past time for a third or even fourth party to emerge, but the R’s and D’s and Media won’t allow it. That is how democracies end.”

A child’s take

As there are many serious topics covered in this memorial to John Kachmar, it seems fitting that this story he sent me four years ago is included. Please excuse the couple of salty words in the message:

A friend told me about his trip out with his grandson. This is what he said. “Last week, I took my grandchildren to a restaurant. My 8-year-old grandson asked if he could say grace.”

As we bowed our heads, he said, “God is good, God is great. Thank you for the food, and I would thank you even more if Grandpa gets us ice cream for dessert. And liberty, peace & justice for all. Amen!”

Along with the laughter and nodding of heads from the other customers nearby, I heard a woman at the next table remark, “That’s what’s wrong with this Country. Kids today don’t even know how to pray. Asking God for ice cream! Why — I never!” …  Hearing this, my grandson burst into tears and asked me, “Did I do it wrong, Grandpa? Is God mad at me?”

After I assured him that he had done a terrific job and that God was certainly not mad at him, an elderly gentleman approached the table. He winked at my grandson and said, “I happen to know that God thought that was a great prayer.”  “Really?” my grandson asked.

“Cross my heart,” the man replied. Then, in a theatrical whisper, he added (indicating the woman whose remark had started this whole thing), “Too bad she never asks God for ice cream. A little ice cream is sometimes good for the soul.

Naturally, I bought my grandchildren ice cream at the end of the meal. My grandson stared at his ice cream for a moment, and then he did something I will remember for the rest of my life. He picked up his sundae and, without a word, walked over and placed it in front of the woman.

With a big smile, he looked her in the eye and told her, “Here, ma’am, this is for you, you grouchy old bitch. You must be a Democrat, so shove it up your ass and cool off!”

Kachmar added, “Kind of brings a tear to your eye, doesn’t it? He will make a fine Marine one day.”

Semper Fi to All!

That was a bit earthy for Kachmar, but it sure hit the nail on the head.

Victory party for Commissioner Larry Jarboe (R Golden Beach) in 1994 defeated incumbent Eddie Bailey for St. Mary’s Commissioner. Jarboe summoned the hired gun, John Kachmar, to chase the Good Old Boys out of Dodge City. Photo by Ken Rossignol


Four-term St. Mary’s Commissioner Larry Jarboe, now living in Key Largo, Florida, where he runs his tourist charter boat operation and sells fishing kayaks, said this about Kachmar: “John Kachmar served as Administrator of St. Mary’s County government for the elected Board of County Commissioners that I was honored to be on. He always approached each issue honestly and was challenged by my Board, along with the County Attorney, to fix a long list of unlawful actions taken by previous administrations. He labeled himself a “hired gun” to clean up local government. St. Mary’s County is a better place, thanks to his presence. And, I am a better person for having known him. God Bless You Very Much, John Kachmar.

  • Bull Shark from Potomac in 2010 Buzzs Marina

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