Abingdon, Forest Hill residents help shape Dems' platform

July 12, 1992|By Phyllis Brill | Phyllis Brill,Staff Writer

When the Democratic National Convention gets under way tomorrow, two Harford County residents will be there, hoping to influence decisions on a wide range of issues from controlling the federal deficit to fuel taxes.

The two county residents -- Robert Lang, of Abingdon, and Ina Taylor, of Forest Hill -- will serve as members of the Democratic Platform Committee, which hammers out the parties' platform positions for the 1992 presidential race.

The two were selected by the campaign of former Sen. Paul E. Tsongas of Massachusetts to serve as two of three platform committee members from Maryland. The third member, Al From, of Montgomery County, is pledged to Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton.

"I'm very worried about the budget deficit and the way it has been allowed to grow out of control in the last 12 years," says Mr. Lang, an attorney with Gordon, Feinblatt, Rothman, Hoffberger & Hollander in Baltimore. "It is the No. 1 fiscal problem in this country, and it has to be addressed."

He also believes the Democratic platform needs to have a strong educational plank aimed at "making our schools work."

Mr. Lang is one of 12 candidates who applied for two open seats on the Harford County Board of Education. He was not recommended by a nominating caucus to the governor for a seat.

He believes "more parents and non-parents need to get involved in the schools. Even retired teachers and other retirees can provide valuable insight into children because of their substantial experience."

Mrs. Taylor, who was the Harford County coordinator for the Tsongas campaign during the Maryland primary, says she would like to see the platform include a commitment to reducing U.S. dependence on fossil fuels. To accomplish that, higher gasoline taxes are necessary, she argues.

"I know it may not be a popular opinion, but we have a finite amount of fossil fuels, and we have to spend more time on research and development. We're too dependent on Mideastern oil," she says.

She also favors "getting back to a manufacturing base in this country, to provide work for people."

Neither Mr. Lang nor Mrs. Taylor has ever attended a political nominating convention before or held political office. Both credit the "populist" style of the Tsongas campaign, which relied heavily on grass-roots supporters, for their appointments to the committee.

"I feel very fortunate," says Mrs. Taylor. "I've been a good, hard-working Democrat all my life. It's nice to be recognized for it."

The 58-year-old housewife has been president of the Greater Fallston Democratic Club for 3 1/2 years.

"I think this must be a Harford County record," she says, referring to the fact that five Maryland delegates (including herself as a voting alternate) and two platform committee members are countians.

Makeup of the platform committee is determined by a formula based on Democratic registration and voting in each state. Mr. Tsongas, who won the Maryland primary, was allowed to name two Marylanders to the platform committee; Mr. Clinton named one.

Mr. Lang, 39, was among platform committee members who convened in Washington June 27 to draft the platform that will be brought to the convention floor this week.

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