With Steny Hoyer on our side He's the 'most effective congressman,' if he does say so himself


July 01, 1992|By Elise Armacost

Never fear! Steny Hoyer is here!

As Anne Arundel continues to lick its wounds from being torn into four congressional districts, now comes the esteemed congressman to tell us why this is the best thing to happen to the county since crab cakes.

As Hoyer sees it, four are better than one -- especially if one of the four is himself.

"I'm the most effective congressman in Maryland's history," said the Prince George's County Democrat on a recent visit to The Sun's Anne Arundel bureau. He requested the meeting so that he could air his views on redistricting.

The quartering of Anne Arundel was performed largely in order to protect Hoyer's seat. But instead of grieving over the loss of its own congressional district, which it has had since the early 1970s, the county ought to be rejoicing, Hoyer says.

Just think, he says. In the northwest corner of the county you've got Democratic Rep. Benjamin Cardin -- "an excellent congressman." You've got Republican Helen Bentley -- "I work very well with Helen" -- in Pasadena.

Then there's the massive 1st District, curving from Brooklyn Park to Glen Burnie through West Severna Park and east to Annapolis and the Broadneck Peninsula. That'll be either Eastern Shore Republican Wayne Gilchrest -- "he's a nice man" -- or Tom McMillen. Poor McMillen, he used to be Anne Arundel's representative; now he's a man without a county.

Hoyer thinks McMillen will win. And that'll be good for the county, he says, because "we work hand-in-glove together." With a little help from Congressman Hoyer, Hoyer says, McMillen has done a good job.

And then there's Hoyer. Himself.

He's got his own race to run, but that seems hardly worth mentioning. He fully expects to win, and why not? After 11 years, he holds a top leadership position in the House, and he's widely respected as a powerful, effective legislator, even if he does say so himself.

Yes, yes, Congressman Hoyer hears all this angst from Anne Arundel residents who fear he'll be too busy taking care of his constituents in Prince George's, where he lives, to bother with them. He hears it, and he dismisses it.

From a purely political standpoint, Hoyer says he can't ignore Anne Arundel. He represents too much of it -- a huge swath including all of South County, most of Crofton and West County.

But it's not just that. Congressman Hoyer says he was doing good deeds for this county long before he was given a piece of it.

Take the surplus land at Fort Meade. Although McMillen has engineered the protection of that property, Hoyer says it was his idea to make those 1,400 acres off-limits to developers. ("I don't think Congressman Hoyer said that," McMillen said Friday.) Within an hour of hearing that the property was being declared surplus, Hoyer says he was formulating a plan to save it. He says he phoned McMillen that day, telling him what to do.

And look how well it all turned out.

Yes, indeed, this new redistricting is going to work just fine. Congressman Hoyer guarantees it, Congressman Hoyer says.

Just wait and see.

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