ANNAPOLIS - A pro-abortion rights political action committee will concentrate on two races in November to try to ensure the election of a filibuster-proof Senate.
One of Choice PAC's top priorities is to help elect Democratic Carroll County Commissioner Jeff Griffith to the state Senate, Steven Rivelis, the organization's director, said last week.
"The message we are trying to get out is the fight isn't over," said Rivelis.
Pro-abortion rights forces defeated four Democratic anti-abortion senators in the primary election.
But incumbent Sen. Sharon W. Hornberger, a pro-abortion rights Republican, lost in the primary to anti-abortion candidate Larry Haines in District 5, which covers Carroll County and part of Baltimore County.
Rivelis said pro-abortion rights forces will put money and volunteers into Griffith's race against Haines to make sure they have enough votes to break a filibuster when an abortion bill comes before the Senate next year.
Pro-abortion rights senators failed by one vote to halt a filibuster in the 1990 session.
Griffith said abortion is "the issue that's going to turn this race.
Absolutely." He said surveys show that by a 2-to-1 margin, voters in his largely rural district favor keeping abortion widely available.
"That's the first thing a lot of people ask me -- 'Are you pro-choice or not?' I'm not necessarily thrilled that that's going to be the central issue. There are a lot of other issues to talk about out here.
"But my opponent's making it the issue."
Haines, who thinks the majority of voters in his district oppose abortion, said he doesn't believe Choice PAC's support of Griffith will make any difference.
"They supported my opponent in the primary election, and I won with 58 percent of the vote," Haines said. "I would expect them to endorse Griffith. Everyone knows what a liberal he is."
Also in Carroll, the committee endorsed Democrat Ellen L. Willis, who's seeking the District 5 House seat from Carroll and Baltimore counties.
The committee raised more than $40,000 for the primary election, and Rivelis said he hopes to match that in the general election.
"Basically we are going back to the folks who gave once before and asking them to give one more time," he said.
CROSS EARNS SHA AWARD
Gail Reilly Cross, candidate for Register of Wills and an employee of the State Highway Administration District 7, was recognized by SHA for her "Bright Idea" submission.
Cross, a contractual employee, has been given two such awards in the last two years.
"This certificate of recognition is for changing the way we do things a little," Cross said. "It was suggested primarily to help the secretarial staff, and additionally to save copying costs."
SHA actively seeks ideas from its employees for improvement, she said, which helps employees care about how efficiently they can do things.
Cross' campaign also got a boost from Louis L. Goldstein, state comptroller, who has endorsed her candidacy.
"She has worked tirelessly for the community, serving on many boards and commissions in many capacities," Goldstein said. "She has shown leadership, enthusiasm, and possesses the experience and skills to be the Register of Wills of Carroll County."
BYRON HONORED FOR VOTES
Representative Beverly B. Byron, D-6th, has been named a "Guardian of Small Business" by the National Federation of Independent Business.
NFIB presents the award to senators and representatives who vote favorably on key small-business issues at least 70 percent during a two-year session of Congress.
Byron's record during the 101st Congress, rated on 20 recorded votes, was 70 percent. Issues deemed crucial by NFIB included cutting government spending, reducing taxes, mandating profits, limiting federal regulations and balancing the federal budget.
NFIB is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that lobbies on behalf of small firms in all state capitals and Washington. The typical company represented has five employees, is run by the owner-manager and has a gross annual income of about $250,000.
FLETCHER ATTENDS FORUM
Bob Fletcher, current Board of Education member and candidate for re-election, attended a forum in Taneytown for commissioner, General Assembly and State's Attorney candidates sponsored by NETWORK.
He attended the forum to gain additional information regarding environmental hazards so he will know what areas should not be considered for possible school sites in the future.
Fletcher was interviewed Oct. 3 by Prestige Cable TV, which is airing the program this week. During the interview, he emphasized the need to aggressively manage increased growth to meet existing and future demands.
He also stressed the need to improve our poor student/staff ratio, as Carroll ranks 23rd out of 24 subdivisions in the state.
A campaign rally and fund-raiser to support Fletcher's candidacy will be conducted 7 to 9 p.m. Friday at Frock's Sunnybrook Farm. Tickets are $10 per person at the door or in advance.
Information: 857-0346 or 848-8136.
RALLY FOR CANDIDATES