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Veteran Officeholder David Craig Reveals He Has Dementia

David R. Craig, a veteran Maryland officeholder who was the runner-up to Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. in the 2014 Republican gubernatorial primary, announced Monday that he is suffering from the early stages of dementia.

Craig disclosed his illness in a commentary in The Baltimore Sun.

Craig, 71, said there is a family history of dementia and that he tried to ignore the early stages of the disease at first.

“While I recognized some of the early warning signs, like many Americans I was reluctant to believe that this was happening,” he wrote. “Even as someone who knew better, as someone who experienced family members going through this, it was easy for me to write these warning signs off as simply part of aging or being tired after a long career. But, this should not be a normal part of aging. We all need to engage our doctors and loved ones when we see these early warning signs develop into more than a rare occurrence.”

A lifelong educator, Craig’s political career began on the Havre de Grace City Council in 1979. He then served four years as the city’s mayor, spent eight years in the General Assembly — four years each in the House and Senate — spent another tour as mayor, and then served as Harford County executive from 2006 to 2014.

Although he lost the gubernatorial primary to Hogan, Craig went to work for the Hogan administration as state Planning secretary, and more recently has been executive director of the Maryland World War I Centennial Commission and a member of the Governor’s Commission on Maryland Military Monuments.

Hogan led the chorus of prominent Marylanders publicly offering prayers and tributes to Craig following his announcement, calling him “a lifelong public servant.”

Baltimore County Executive John A. Olszewski Jr. (D) praised Craig for having the courage to publicly disclose his condition.

David Craig dedicated his life to public service and led with distinction,” Olszewski said. “Harford County is stronger for his work.”

Harford County Executive Barry Glassman (R), who succeeded Craig, said he saw Craig’s disclosure of his health condition as a continuation of his public service.

“David Craig continues to serve the citizens of Harford County and Maryland by raising awareness about dementia,” Glassman said. “His personal courage and concern for others is an inspiration.”

Craig, a history buff who prides himself on owning at least one published biography of every U.S. president, used his Sun piece to advocate for more funding for Alzheimer’s research.

“My greatest honor over the past 40 years has been the trust that the citizens of my hometown of Havre de Grace, Harford County and the state of Maryland placed in me when they elected me to serve and lead them,” he wrote. “While my days ahead may not be filled with acts of public office and leadership, they will still be focused on giving back to my community. With the support of my family and friends, I intend to remain active, volunteering where needed.”

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