Maryland's party faithful party on as state Democrats look to bettertimes INAUGURATION 1993

January 18, 1993|By C. Fraser Smith | C. Fraser Smith,Staff Writer

WASHINGTON -- Absolutely certain that happy days are here again after 12 long years, an estimated 2,000 Marylanders welcomed them back with a party on two floors of a downtown office building here yesterday.

They were toasting the soon-to-be Democratic president Bill Clinton -- and congratulating themselves again for their effort in November. No other state except the president-elect's home state of Arkansas provided a higher percentage of its vote for the winner.

"Now I can visit the White House," said Fred Hoover, a Washington County Democratic Party loyalist and lawyer for the state Public Service Commission. "I refused to go when it was in Republican hands. It just didn't feel right."

For many Maryland Democrats, the return to power was a dizzying, yet sobering, prospect.

"I'm apprehensive," said Sharon Baker of Westminster, a member of the Carroll County Democratic Central Committee. "I'm not used to this."

She had come to Washington yesterday on a bus chartered for others in her county who were eager to celebrate and to express again renewed enthusiasm for government.

"We're celebrating the election of someone who believes there are people in this country," said Delegate Larry LaMotte of Carroll County. Under three Republican administrations, he said, the people's role in government appeared to fade.

Some Marylanders, these Democrats said, retired deliberately from pursuit of public issues.

"A lot of Democrats didn't want to be involved in promoting policies they were diametrically opposed to," Mr. Hoover said.

Bill Goldwater, husband of former state delegate Marilyn Goldwater of Bethesda, wore his red, white and blue striped tie.

Tom Slater, a Democratic Central Committee member and lawyer from Westminster, wore his saxophone lapel pin. Though many were in formal attire, a few wore their Blues Brothers T-shirts, showing the candidate with his horn. To keep the cultural spectrum covered, perhaps, a flutist and classical guitarist played for the guests as they entered the building.

Baltimore Councilwoman Vera Hall, chairwoman of the Maryland Democratic Party, said she was happy to see so many of the campaign workers at last night's event, which was organized by the party when it realized not every Maryland Democrat would be able to attend one of the official inaugural events this week.

"It's humbling to understand the power of the people," she said.

The election of Mr. Clinton, she said, means that Maryland now has a friendly next door neighbor -- with power. She recalled years during which Baltimore and other Maryland cities and towns were used as laboratories for development programs much to the benefit of the state.

Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin of the state's 3rd District said he expects the state to find the Clinton administration amenable to its needs -- and grateful for its readiness to take advantage of new programs for cities and for children.

"We're ready to go," he said. If the new president begins to stimulate the economy with a transportation improvement program, for example, much of the planning that will be necessary has been done in Maryland.

He said the enthusiasm that gave Mr. Clinton a majority of the votes in Maryland will carry over and help as the state take advantage of a more aggressive federal government.

"This was truly a change election," said John Willis, a Baltimorean who works for Prince George's County Executive Parris N. Glendening. "The excitement and enthusiasm for the future is reflected in this turnout."

And Marylanders were certain they were not alone in their optimism.

Recognizing the demand for Inauguration Week tickets that would be coming from his constituents, Mr. Cardin asked a colleague from Oregon for help several weeks ago -- expecting that not many Oregonians would be coming for the festivities. His friend said he'd be happy to help.

But last week when Mr. Cardin called again to see how many tickets he could count on, he found none was available.

"None. No tickets. Thousands of people wanted tickets, even in this guy's remote district in Oregon," he said.

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