Howard County is one of the region's biggest beneficiaries of the economic boom of the 1980s. With the new decade comes the difficult challenge of maintaining premier schools, roads, libraries and social agencies in a tough economy. Managing growth will become an intricate exercise of balancing controls against the development so vital to Howard's prosperity. The next county executive must be capable of striking this balance.
Our choice is Democratic incumbent Elizabeth Bobo, who has shepherded Maryland's fastest-growing county through wrenching times. Ms. Bobo has tackled such thorny issues as growth control and agricultural preservation. She has taken a reasoned, moderate approach, demonstrating sensitivity to concerns of citizens and businesses yet pushing through an impressive legislative agenda that will serve Howard well in the future.
Ms. Bobo's Republican adversary, Charles I. Ecker, has raised ,, some serious questions. We share his concerns. Howard's approach to economic development has focused more on corralling growth than developing a viable long-term strategy. Transportation and affordable housing remain unresolved problems.
Mr. Ecker has run a diligent campaign, but he has not laid out a realistic plan of action. Ms. Bobo's track record and long history in Howard County government give her a decisive edge.