Gop Legislators Worry About Reception In Annapolis

January 02, 1991|By James M. Coram | James M. Coram,Staff writer

Three-term incumbent state Delegate Robert H. Kittleman, R-14B, sayshe is worried about the chilly wind blowing in Annapolis now that the county delegation is mostly Republican.

By refusing to accept Republican nominations for committee assignments, House of Delegates Speaker R. Clayton Mitchell Jr., D-Kent County, has indicated that "he is not going to work with (Republicans)," Kittleman said.

The speaker's refusal indicates he is "trying to do what he can to split the Republican Caucus," he said.

"Mitchell is, in effect, telling Republicans, 'I can do things for you if you ignore the (GOP)leadership.' He is saying he will reward disloyal Republicans. It sets a real bad precedent."

Kittleman had wanted two-term incumbent Robert L. Flanagan, R-14B, to serve on the Ways and Means Committee. The panel will be the first to deal with proposed legislation from the so-called Linowes Commission -- a body appointed by the governor tomake recommendations for overhauling the state's tax structure.

Although Flanagan expects many taxes to be proposed, he is not especially disappointed that he did not get the Ways and Means assignment.

"The county is blessed to have elected a lot of fiscal conservatives who are going to take a hard look at the Linowes report," he said.

"I am more concerned about cutting back on spending than in raising taxes," Flanagan said, adding that he was told in a recent briefingby a member of the Ways and Means Committee that despite the commission report, the committee "does not expect any tax increases to be passed this year -- not even a gas tax."

Instead of Ways and Means, Flanagan was appointed to the Appropriations Committee, which, among other things, deals with local "pork barrel" projects. However, because of the governor's planned cutbacks, "there's not going to be any extra money this year," he said.

"In terms of bond funding, we haveonly one state bond (that the county is asking for), and that is a fairly modest request. Hopefully we can get that through. We are fortunate not to have a long list from the county that we have to come up with."

Flanagan said Mitchell's partisanship is a delicate situation that could create problems for the county.

Three-term incumbentVirginia Thomas, D-13A, the lone county Democrat returned to the House, said Kittleman should not be surprised by how Mitchell treated him and other Republicans.

"Reality testing is one of the most important aspects of politics," she said. "How realistic can (Kittleman) be when he is attacking the governor, attacking Clay Mitchell. What does he expect?"

Thomas said she is "very concerned about whether the delegation can deliver as it did in the past when Democrats were incontrol."

"Howard County has, in fact, lost power," she said. "I'm very concerned about the loss of very key people and what that willmean."

Thomas was raised to the vice chairmanship of the Environmental Matters Committee, which deals with child care, health care andabortion issues in addition to zoning, environmental and agricultural concerns.

She pledged to work hard with her Republican colleagues and "continue to fight for my constituents and the issues I care about countywide -- doing my very best to make sure we get what we can."

"Ginny will help us," political newcomer John S. Morgan, R-13B, said. "Her being a Howard countian is more important than party affiliation. Having her as vice chairman of Environmental Matters is very important for the county."

But Morgan is not sure other Democrats in the House will be as helpful: "I think we have a very, very strongdelegation, but I think we're going to have problems initially.

"The first thing Democrats tell you in Annapolis is that the party doesn't matter" -- that people who work hard, are cooperative and do a good job will be all right," he said. "I've heard it so often. I plan to take it at face value."

Martin G. Madden, R-13B, says that the county delegation has "a good lineup going in" and that it got "good committee assignments as a whole" despite Mitchell's refusal to give Republicans their first choices.

"This is a tough time for everybody" as the legislature wrestles with cuts in the budget, he said. "I wouldn't want to see

those cuts based on 'D's' and 'R's.' We've got to work together to get through this."

Madden will serve with Kittleman on Economic Matters. Donald B. Elliott, R-4B, will serve with Thomas on Environmental Matters. Morgan will serve on the Constitutional and Administrative Law Committee.

Charles H. Smelser, D-4th, whohas been a member of the Senate since 1967 and chairs the powerful Budget and Taxation Subcommittee on Capital Budget, says the fact thatthe county delegation now has a decidedly Republican color "makes nodifference at all."

"We're going to work together, regardless," he said.

As for cuts in state programs, Smelser expects the governor to make them fairly, not to punish counties that did not support him to the degree that he would have liked.

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