Flanagan plans '94 race for Md. attorney general

September 30, 1992|By James M. Coram | James M. Coram,Staff Writer

Del. Robert L. Flanagan aid yesterday that he plans to run for Maryland attorney general in the 1994 election, provided incumbent Democrat J. Joseph Curran Jr. does not seek a third term.

"My feeling is that if it appears to be a suicide race I would not get in," Mr. Flanagan, a Republican from District 14B, said. "It appears now that [Mr. Curran] will be running for governor and that the attorney general's office will become vacant."

Mr. Flanagan, a resident of west Columbia, said he recognized that in the minds of many voters, the office of attorney general was an obscure post. One of the challenges of the campaign is to get people to understand what the office of attorney general is all about, he said.

"He is the No. 1 civil lawyer for the state and advises both the legislature and members of the state government," Mr. Flanagan said. "An awful lot of good ideas have been frustrated because the response [from the attorney general's office] is that 'we can't do that,' 'it is infringing on our individual liberties,' or 'it is contrary to federal law.' "

If elected, Mr. Flanagan said he would provide legislators and the governor's office with a menu of alternatives for reform within six to nine months. The menu would address juvenile crime, the welfare system, substance abuse and prison conditions, Mr. Flanagan said.

"The idea is to tell the administration and the legislature that if you're interested in these problems, here is what we can choose from," Mr. Flanagan said.

He said the choices would include making juvenile criminals accept the consequences of their actions, requiring welfare recipients to share responsibility for getting off welfare, evicting drug sellers and drug buyers from subsidized housing and refusing to make concessions in lawsuits brought by prisoners about prison conditions and services.

On the prison issue, Mr. Flanagan said, "In the past, it has been the practice of the attorney general to concede many issues in these lawsuits and to allow judgments to be entered which make it much more expensive to run prisons. It puts our ability to put bad people in prison in jeopardy. We want more control over our management of prisons."

A 1967 graduate of Harvard University, Mr. Flanagan, 47, served on nuclear submarines in the Navy before entering law school at Cornell University. He earned his J. D. degree at Cornell in 1974. He has practiced law for 18 years, both on his own as a trial lawyer and as partner in a large firm. Since joining the state legislature six years ago, he has been the sole practitioner in his Columbia office.

Mr. Flanagan served on the House Judiciary Committee during his first four years in Annapolis and was a member of the appropriations subcommittee for law enforcement and transportation during this legislative session.

Mr. Flanagan said he had shared his plans with fellow Republicans both in the House of Delegates and around the state.

"They are very supportive," he said. "They believe as I do that we need a change of direction in the state of Maryland."

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