Anne Arundel County's next leader has a tough act to follow. In his two terms, departing County Executive O. James Lighthizer took a mismanaged county, returned it to fiscal soundness and had enough money left over to initiate forward-looking but costly new programs. The challenge of the next county executive is to continue good government -- but in the austere conditions of an economic downturn.
The Sun feels that Robert R. Neall is the candidate best qualified to undertake this test of leadership and vision.
Mr. Neall has shown his mettle as an executive, both as the state's drug czar and as vice president for development at the Johns Hopkins Health System. His three terms in the House of Delegates, where he served as the Republican leader, give him superior legislative experience and mastery of budget and transportation matters. This is well-rounded seasoning.
County Councilman Theodore Sophocleus, the Democratic candidate, has many admirable qualities. But Mr. Neall's record of proven success makes a far more compelling case for his election as the next county executive.