From: Delegate Charles "Stokes" Kolodziejski
Delegate W. Ray Huff
Senator Philip C. Jimeno
We would like to thank everyone who voted for us in the Democratic primary on Sept. 11. All the volunteers who worked so hard for us are also to be heartily thanked. The support and faith of our constituents in us continues to be an inspiration and guiding force in our campaign and our hard work in District 31.
Also, congratulations to the losing candidates on a clean, well-run race. All three of us on the united District 31 ticket plan to work hard again for you, as we have for the last four years. Thank you for your support.
RILEY DEFENDS HIS RECORD ON EDUCATION
From: James J. Riley
Candidate, House of Delegates
I feel I must respond to Lee Anne Schwartz of Pasadena concerning my views on education and becoming a member of the Republican Party, as published in "Readers Write" (in The Anne Arundel County Sun) on Friday, Sept. 7 -- four days before the primary election.
I have taken positions on many issues which concern citizens of the 31st legislative district, such as education, highway gridlock, environment, drugs, ethics in government, auto insurance rates, etc. My views are not etched in concrete and are subject to change as I become more involved and learn more about the issues. When a candidate takes a position on an issue, he expects some citizens will agree with him and others will disagree. The candidates who do not express their opinions on the issues are not subject to criticism or agreement, for they have said nothing.
The timing of Ms. Schwartz's letter was interesting, four days before the primary, giving me no opportunity to respond until after the primary; and yet my opinions on education, which she takes exception to, were published seven weeks earlier in the (Maryland Gazette) newspaper. Makes you wonder, doesn't it? Are some candidates worried about Riley's campaign? Ms. Schwartz claims my views on education will contribute to more mediocrity in education and lowering of SAT scores, and that raising teachers' salaries and not improvement of instruction are my main concerns. I do agree that teachers' salaries should be raised, but I personally would not benefit in any way since I am a retired teacher on pension. Ms. Schwartz could not be further from the truth, for my chief concern is the improvement of instruction for all of the public school children in our state.
Presently, the money to fund public schools comes mainly from property taxes, state aid (which is based upon an equalization formula) and some federal dollars. This present system of funding, which is based primarily on the property tax, does not allow the various political subdivisions to spend the same amount of money per pupil on education. Therefore, teachers' salaries and the ability to purchase materials and supplies will be different as we move throughout our state. For example, our children in Anne Arundel are being shortchanged on the amount of money spent per pupil, as opposed to Montgomery County.
My reasoning behind studying the feasibility of a state-funded system is simply to guarantee each child in a public school in Maryland equal per-pupil expenditures on education to enhance and bring about improvements in our instruction programs throughout the state.
Ms. Schwartz attacks me for being a political turncoat for joining the Republican Party. My reason for joining the Republican Party is that I saw this as a better opportunity to get elected. I have campaigned for 12 years, beginning in 1978, to represent the citizens of our state. I changed political affiliation for the same reason Joe Alton and Bob Pascal did -- and that is to get elected, which is the bottom line in any campaign. By joining the Republican Party, I am not deserting my Democratic friends who have supported me in the past, for I can't possibly win without their continued support in this campaign. By becoming a Republican, I am almost guaranteed a spot on the ballot in the general election when the voter turnout is much greater, thereby giving both Democrats and Republicans an opportunity to examine my candidacy and judge whether I am worthy of election. I do believe we are moving away from the time when political affiliation was one of the major criteria for winning an election and that we are moving more toward a time when the merits of the individual candidate take precedence over political affiliation.