WESTMINSTER — Several more organizations have endorsed state Del. Thomas Hattery for the 6th District in the March 3 Democratic primary against seven-term incumbent Beverly B. Byron:
* "The Maryland State Lodge of theFraternal Order of Police is pleased to announce that the majority of the local FOP lodges in the 6th Congressional District have electedto support and endorse the candidacy of Maryland Del. Thomas F. Hattery in the primary election for U.S. Congress," said state FOP President Carl F. McVeigh.
In his nine years as a state lawmaker, Hattery has supported tougher sentencing for criminals, including life sentences without parolefor perpetrators of violent crime.
"We know all too well that crime is no longer just a big-city problem," Hattery said. "The scourge of drugs is pushing its way into the suburban and even the rural areas of Western Maryland.
"We're fighting crime on all fronts, and it's time we get even tougher than we've been in the past. We've got toget these criminals off the streets, and that's why I've supported tougher sentencing with no opportunity for parole.
"But I'm also concerned with those who suffer under the lawlessness of these criminals. We must make a commitment to help crime's victims. I've supported programs to expand victims' rights at the state level, and I will push for similar programs in Congress."
Tom Henry, president of the Frederick County Sheriff's Department lodge of the FOP, said the groupconsidered its choices carefully and picked Hattery for his efforts to crack down on violent crime and drugs.
"We feel Tom is our besthope for getting Congress to make America and Maryland safe from thecrime that plagues our society today," Henry said.
* "What we like about Tom is that he himself is the owner of a small business -- he's not a career politician," Kathy Brockett, president of Allegany United BPW, said in the Maryland Business and Professional Women's endorsement.
"His voting record in Annapolis reflects his support of small and medium-sized business."
* "We feel Del. Hattery will havethe same positive influence in the U.S. Congress that he has had in his years as a state legislator," Dorothy Culb, legislative chairperson for the Maryland Nurses Association and 6th Congressional DistrictANA coordinator, said in the American Nurses Association's endorsement. "His plan for reform of our nation's health-care system, with itsemphasis on long-term and preventive care, is one we feel will benefit all Americans."
Hattery has sponsored bills providing a missingchildren's program in Maryland; reinstating MedEvac services to Frederick County; and expanding the Consumer Education and Advocacy Program to include health and life insurance assistance. The MNA has established Nurses for Hattery, a grass-roots network of activists from the 6th District to participate in the campaign.
* Sierra Club, the League of Conservation Voters and Clean Water Action, the only national environmental organizations that make endorsements in congressional races, also are backing Hattery.
"Tom Hattery is a true championof the environment," said Nan
cy David, Sierra Club's political chairwoman. "He has a rare ability to balance environmental, business and farm concerns so that all needs are met.
"He understands how important environmental quality is to the lives of our children and our grandchildren. He understands the importance of strengthening our economy and preserving the economic viability of our farmland."
Joan Willey, of the League of Conservation Voters, called the candidate "caring and thoughtful enough to be concerned about farmers and smallbusiness while still protecting the environment."
The league gaveHattery, now in his third term with the House of Delegates, a 100 percent in environmental matters. As a delegate, he initiated legislation on solar energy and organic farming.
"For years, Tom Hattery has been a strong leader in the legislature, working successfully to protect the environment," said John Kabler, southeast regional directorof Clean Water Action.
BYRON IS CAMPAIGNING
Rep. Beverly B. Byron, D-6th, called Tom Hattery hypocritical for collecting $25,000 in labor union and special-interest contributions.
"Tom has repeatedly attacked me for being a tool of special interest money, while saying that he's against the special interests. Now we find out the truth.
"While he's telling the voters that he is one of them, he's tellingspecial-interest groups in Baltimore and Washington that if they help him get to Congress, he will represent their interests. They complywith a $25,000 infusion of PAC money in the last month."
Byron reported that individual contributions to her campaign had surpassed 1,300, double that of her Democratic primary opponent. She said she hasaccepted PAC money.
"I have never tried to hide it," she said. "Ihave never been two-faced. I have more respect for the voters of this district than to take advantage of their concerns about the economyby pandering to their fears.