Republican Wave Turns The Tide In County Council

November 11, 1990|By Carol L. Bowers | Carol L. Bowers,Staff writer

For the first time since 1972, there is a Republican majority on the seven-member County Council, including the only two incumbents returned to office in the general election Tuesday.

Jeffrey D. Wilson, elected Tuesday to the post he has held as an appointee for nine months, attributed the new Republican majority to the public's dissatisfaction with government. Wilson defeated Democratic opponent Frederick J. Hatem, a District F council member.

The only other incumbent to return to the council was Republican Joanne S. Parrott, a one-term council member who defeated challenger Jeffries Webster, winning with 24,474 votes, or 53 percent. Webster received 17,027 votes, or 37 percent.

The lone Democrats elected to the council, Theresa M. Pierno, District C, and Philip J. Barker, District F, were elected as council members in the primary and had no opposition in Tuesday's election.

Other Republican victories on the council were:

* In District A, Susan B. Heselton, 48, defeated Charles B. Anderson, 59, who was Harford's first county executive, by 316 votes. Heselton received 20,821 votes or 44.86 percent. Anderson received 20,505 votes or 44.17 percent.

Heselton said that if elected one of her first priorities would be to locate computers in county libraries so citizens could more easily obtain government meeting agendas. Her primary goal, she said, would be to improve communication between the council and the public.

* In District D, Republican Barry Glassman, 28, of Level, upset two-term council member J. Robert Hooper, 54, of Street with a victory margin of 1,090 votes. Glassman, who ran unsuccessfully for the House of Delegates in 1986, received 20,579 votes or 44 percent, compared to Hooper's 19,489 votes or 42 percent.

Glassman, a volunteer firefighter, said in his campaign that he opposed impact fees, but would support adequate public facilities legislation. He also has called for tax breaks for volunteer firefighters to encourage enlistments.

* In District E, Robert S. Wagner, 33, upset two-term Democratic incumbent G. Edward Fielder, 43. Wagner received 21,422 votes, or 46 percent. Fielder received 18,738 votes or 40 percent.

Wagner, a farmer, said in his campaign that the county should help create a market of recycled products to make recycling programs work.

Wagner had criticized Fielder and other council members for their delay in drafting an adequate public facilities law. Such a law is still under consideration.

"This is a case in which the people stood up and said 'We are the government and we want it to be run in a more responsible way,' " said Wilson. "Republicans have returned to the roots of the party: creative populism and equal rights for people."

Michael Davall, chairman of the Harford County Republican Central Committee, said another factor in the election was the anti-incumbent movement throughout the state. That movement gave Republicans an opportunity in this general election, he said.

"I think the members of this council will have a theme: they're going to be extremely sensitive to what the public wants," said Davall. "We'll never see another thing like the rubble fill pushed through without the opportunity for the public to have a say," he said, referring to the council's now-rescinded approval of an asbestos rubble dump near Havre de Grace.

Wilson said he expects the majority Republican council to work cooperatively with county executive-elect, Democrat Eileen M. Rehrmann, a former state delegate from District 34.

"Aberdeen Mayor George Englesson said something to me early in the election that I think is true," Wilson said. "Mayor Englesson told me, 'We can't all support winners, but when we know who the winners are we can work together.' "

David W. Shrodes, chairman of the county's Democratic Central Committee, also predicted the council and Rehrmann would get along, but for a different reason.

"Eileen is known as a consensus builder, she's been a state delegate," said Shrodes.

"I think the new council members realize Eileen will be our connection to the governor with no returning delegates. It's a really great thing that she was elected because we will still get the things we need from the state for Harford County."

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