Peter Buas, 29, a native of Ocean City, is hoping to bring a new perspective to City Hall. With a background in the hospitality industry, a law degree, and a fresh set of ideas, Buas believes that he can make a difference. In an interview with OceanCity.com, he discussed the election and his vision to revitalize the downtown area.
Four seats on the Ocean City Council are up for grabs this election season, and native Peter Buas is hoping that voters give him a chance. Buas announced his candidacy in July and is hoping to have a positive impact on the community.
Buas grew up in the hospitality industry, working at the Buckingham Hotel. He graduated from Worcester Preparatory School, attended the University of Maryland, College Park, and then earned a law degree from the University of Baltimore. He began his career as a clerk for the Circuit Court of Worcester County and now serves as an associate attorney at the firm Williams, Moore, Shockley, and Harrison, LLP.
The young candidate believes in responsible spending, increased transparency in the decisions made by the council, improving the public image of the town, supporting staff, and revitalizing the downtown area. He does not view his candidacy as a political adventure, but rather a way to give back to the local community. Buas feels that now is the right time to jump in and serve the town he loves.
“There is something special about this town.”
Buas learned the importance of dedication as a teenager, working at the Buckingham Hotel. He credits much of his success to the town in which he grew up and still lives in today. “I didn’t realize this until I went off to college, but this town is very special for families. The people who grew up down here turn out to be some of the most dedicated and hardworking, well-rounded people there are. I credit a lot of that to the fact that this is a business town,” Buas said.
Buas takes a wide range of cases at his firm and calls his decision to study law the best of his life. He looks forward to using his experience in discussions about local ordinances and to aid residents. “Right now, I get to work with residents and business owners to solve their problems. If elected, I will help them from the perspective of the town,” Buas said.
Why Should People Be Motivated to Vote for You?
“We need a voice on the council from someone that’s living and breathing this town every day, especially downtown. I’m someone that works in this town and talks with residents and businesses. I also grew up in this town. All of that combined with my background puts me in a unique position to jump in and make a difference. If you want someone who is homegrown, deeply cares for this community, and who will work to make it better, then I’m your guy. There are a lot of things that this town does well, but I feel that now is the time to run and help the community.”
Campaigning in the Covid-19 Era
“This is new territory for me…but ‘Buas’ will be plastered all over Ocean City,” he said about his campaign. Buas added that while he must continue to work to get his name out there, he is talking to members of the community daily about the issues they are facing. Buas is also using his website to deliver his message.
Boardwalk Violence and Trash
One of the keystone issues Buas is focusing in on is the increasing crime and disturbances on the Boardwalk. He resides on 7th Street and Baltimore Avenue, right in the middle of where much of the unrest took place this June. On his website, he wrote, “This year has been particularly difficult for our community. Ocean City has endured noise, litter, and recklessness like never before, especially in the Downtown and Boardwalk areas. Although these problems have recently increased, they are not a new phenomenon. Ocean City needs fresh new ideas to curb this trend and reinforce Downtown as a safe place for families to both visit and live.”
Buas believes that more action can be taken at the town level through ordinances. While he appreciates local representatives working with colleagues at higher levels of government, he feels that the town can simultaneously work on its own and with others. He credits Wayne Hartman, who represents district 38-C in the Maryland House of Delegates, for pushing through legislation to assist Ocean City.
Buas does have strategies in mind to drive change. He insists that an increased presence of community members, along with the police, could curb the issues on the Boardwalk. “We are blessed with a great town staff, and we should have more people from the Department of Public Works and other groups down there…There also needs to be an infusion of full-time residents. We can promote that through additional tax incentives on top of what Tony DeLuca pushed through for new construction last month,” Buas said. He believes that a greater community presence will deter agitators from causing issues.
Buas’ playbook does not include a curfew. He feels that a curfew is not the right solution and doubts that it could even be enforced effectively. He also cautions against the optics. Instead, Buas believes in initiatives such as late-night community cleanups which could keep troublemakers away, without the negative connotation of regulations that take away freedoms for families.
To combat littering, another issue on the Boardwalk, Buas encourages both public and private entities to take action. If elected, he will work with businesses and town staff to further expand Green Team initiatives and even begin new projects.
From local government all the way to the White House, tax increases and decreases are always a hot topic during an election cycle. Buas pointed out that Worcester County officials did increase room tax from 4.5% to 5% at the beginning of this year, but that it does not necessarily affect residents. If elected, he will certainly oppose a tax increase for residents. “I’m not a big supporter of a tax increase,” Buas said.
Covid-19 cases continue to rise across the state and in Worcester County, but the positivity rate is drastically lower than in previous weeks. Despite this headway, local businesses are continuing to feel the effects of the pandemic.
While Buas would not discuss his thoughts on Mayor Meehan’s mask directive, he did voice his support for the business community. “These business owners are resilient, and they have been over the past year, and they will continue to be. They are doing everything they can to stay safe, keep everyone employed, and make money. It’s not easy, but they are doing it, and they will keep doing it. We are blessed with a great Hotel-Motel-Restaurant Association (HMRA), who are trying to get in front of this. As long as we keep being innovative and compliant, economically, we are going to do the best we can,” Buas said.
What is Your 10-Year Vision for the Town of Ocean City?
“I want to constantly re-enforce the fact that this city is a safe place for families to live and visit. That’s the overarching vision. Residents are safe here, families that come down and visit are safe here, it’s always fun, and a great place to be.”
Election Day is November 3
The candidate filing deadline is October 6, and election day is November 3. This year, many, if not all, will cast their ballots by mail due to the ongoing pandemic. The top four vote-getters will secure spots on the council, serving the people of the Town of Ocean City.
To speak with Buas directly, call (443) 497-1454 or email Peter@OCRooms.com
For Buas’ website, click here.
To visit the campaign’s Facebook page, click here.