WASHINGTON -- Maryland's congressional delegation put the finishing touches on their plans for the inauguration yesterday as their lucky guests got ready for the capital's biggest party in years.
The one event that's on nearly every list, of course, is the swearing-in at noon, with members from both sides of the political aisle expected to attend. Tonight, the black-tie Mid-Atlantic States Inaugural Ball is expected to draw thousands to Union Station from Maryland, New Jersey, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Delaware.
Democratic Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin has doled out his inauguration tickets to both well- known and ordinary Marylanders. Among his guests: Dr. William C. Richardson, president of the Johns Hopkins University; state Sen. Mike Wagner, an Anne Arundel County Democrat, and University of Maryland Chancellor Donald L. Langenberg. Mr. Cardin has also asked Howard County Councilman C. Vernon Gray and the developer James Rouse to attend.
If Mr. Cardin's guests glance around, they'll probably spot state Comptroller Louis L. Goldstein and Treasurer Lucille Maurer, guests of Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes.
One of the most famous visitors of all today will be African National Congress President Nelson Mandela, attending at the invitation of Rep. Kweisi Mfume. The Baltimore Democrat will be escorting Mr. Mandela to the swearing-in and accompanying him to a meeting with the Congressional Black Caucus, which Mr. Mfume chairs.
Most legislators, especially Democrats, were besieged with requests for tickets and quickly went through their allotment -- just under 400 tickets for senators and 198 for House members. One congressman who was able to get a few more was Rep. Steny H. Hoyer, thanks to his position in the House Democratic leadership.
Mr. Hoyer provided tickets to public and private schools in several counties, including 35 to seventh- and eighth-graders from the Father Andrew White School in Leonardtown.
The congressman from Southern Maryland has also invited state Senate President Mike Miller of Prince George's County, Gerald Donovan, chairman of the Calvert County Democratic Party, and Prince George's County Councilman Frank Casula.
After the swearing-in, Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski will be attending a congressional luncheon along with Senator Sarbanes but will watch the parade on television with guests at her office rather than head down to Pennsylvania Avenue. She also plans to attend the Maryland ball.
Before the ball, Mr. Sarbanes will be a guest of honor at a dinner for prominent Greek-Americans, where he will be joined by such well-known politicos as 1988 presidential candidate Michael S. Dukakis, White House communications director George Stephanopoulos, and former Sen. Paul E. Tsongas, who challenged Bill Clinton, now president-elect, in several 1992 Democratic primaries.
Most members of Congress have received dozens more invitations than even the most energetic person could hope to use and they've had to be choosy. "We wanted to go to as many events as possible but we looked for things with a Maryland connection," Mr. Cardin said.
His list of stops includes receptions sponsored by Baltimore Gas & Electric Co. and CSX Transportation Inc. In the evening Mr. Cardin is going to a dinner held by the law firm Baker & Hostetler, at the invitation of state Sen. Laurence Levitan. He'll then make his way to Union Station for the ball and -- if he still has the energy -- a couple of post-ball get-togethers before midnight.
One area representative who won't be taking part in too much of the fun is Rep. Helen Delich Bentley. The Baltimore County Republican said she "doesn't have the heart for it. I'm feeling pretty sad right now. I hate to say goodbye to all my friends in the administration."