Carroll's Political Future

November 18, 1990

Carroll County, long a Republican stronghold, is more so after the Nov. 6 election. The party picked up the county sheriff's office and held onto two of the three seats on the Board of Commissioners. Carroll Republicans now occupy virtually every patronage and policy-making office in one of metropolitan Baltimore's most desirable subdivisions.

Residents will likely witness a greater shift toward conservatism. Though Republicans Julia Gouge and Donald Dell can outvote Democrat Elmer Lippy, they should not slow down projects demanded by their constituents. Rapid growth requires that local officials stay abreast of public demands for schools, public safety and roads.

Former two-term Commissioner Jeff Griffith frequently helped find budget compromises to assist this expanding population. Even when conservative GOP voices objected, the commissioners devised ways to address the public's demands. Mr. Griffith's liberal fiscal policies, though, helped defeat him in his bid for a state Senate seat won by conservative Republican Larry Haines.

The new commissioners cannot afford back-sliding. Carroll is now a popular place for couples seeking homes within easy reach of the beltway. South Carroll is the fastest-growing section. More recently, because of the opening of Route 795 to the Westminster Pike, the eastern county is experiencing more rapid growth, too. The commissioners must balance the electorate's mandate for cautious spending against the added services Carroll's fast-expanding populace will require.

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