Putting politics aside to remember a veteran public servant

Kevin Kamenetz's opponents, voters honor him

Thursday night the candidates running against Kevin Kamenetz for the Democratic nomination for governor put politics aside to remember him.               

The Baltimore County Executive was supposed to be with his opponents at UMBC for a Democratic candidate forum, but sadly he died Thursday morning from cardiac arrest.

Politics was supposed to be front and center, but instead of policy and rhetoric those running against Kamenetz, were lost for words as they processed his sudden death.

"I wanted to pay my respects to our County Executive Kevin Kamenetz was my county executive," said Baltimore County resident, Jasmine Richardson.

Richardson like many inside of UMBC's ballroom was ready to hear the candidates talk policy and plans, but not Thursday night.

"Our County Executive Kevin Kamenetz dedicated 25 years to this county and to this state and we thought that he deserved to be honored tonight," said student organizer, Luis Zuluaga.

Kamenetz died suddenly Thursday from cardiac arrest sending shock waves through the state.  

"I'm shocked and sad.  We spent a lot of time together.  Kevin and I are friends, have been for a long time," gubernatorial candidate Jim Shea, told WMAR 2 News.

Many of his competitors came not to talk politics, but about the man.

"Both of us took our families to the beach after a day of campaigning in Ocean City and just seeing him with Jill and seeing him with those boys that's the image that's in my head right now I'm not thinking much about the politics," Alec Ross, gubernatorial candidate said.

The candidates sat with students, voters and constituents as Kamenetz's legacy of service was honored.

"Kevin was someone that I was proud to call a fellow Democrat and his loss is devastating not just to the county but to the state," said gubernatorial candidate, Krish Vignarajah.

Kamenetz is a two term Baltimore County Executive, he also served as a county councilman for 16 years.

"What I'll miss at these forums is his presence and his humor and his grace," said gubernatorial candidate, Ben Jealous.

Kamenetz served as an assistant state's attorney and had a private practice until he became executive in 2010.   One voter remembers when he visited her event. 

"It means a lot to me that during this campaign season that our county executive made sure that he was in attendance so when politicians actually stay personal it makes a difference," said Richardson.

Kamenetz was 60 and leaves behind a wife and two teenaged boys.  His funeral is Friday at 2 p.m. at Baltimore Hebrew Congregation.

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