Sounding gubernatorial Democrats make pitches in Carroll

March 21, 1993|By Donna E. Boller | Donna E. Boller,Staff Writer

Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke very much resembled a gubernatorial candidate as he made his way among the tables at Carroll County Democrats' annual Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner, shaking hands and exchanging greetings.

But he said he wasn't. Not for sure. Not just yet.

The 43-year-old mayor, who announced on Feb. 25 that he was considering a bid for the governorship, said he wasn't even taking a quick sounding among the about 125 Carroll Democrats who turned out Friday night for the annual fund-raising dinner in Westminster.

The dinner, originally scheduled for March 13, was delayed a week by the blizzard.

"I'm at the point now where I'm doing more listening than talking," Mr. Schmoke said at the Wakefield Valley Golf Club.

Mr. Schmoke was followed at the microphone by Attorney General J. Joseph Curran Jr., who is expected to enter the race to succeed Gov. William Donald Schaefer. Prince George's County Executive Parris N. Glendening sent his chief of staff with a message that Mr. Glendening, who was attending an awards ceremony in his home county, will come to Carroll "later this year" to address local Democrats.

Lt. Gov. Melvin A. Steinberg, also considered a possible candidate, did not attend the dinner.

Mr. Schmoke pitched for county residents' support in the General Assembly this year for the proposed $150 million expansion of the Baltimore Convention Center, plugging it as "important to the economy of the region and the state."

The mayor also outlined changes in the impoverished West Baltimore neighborhood of Sandtown-Winchester under a four-year program that brought, with residents' input, housing construction and renovation and a prenatal outreach program.

"Instead of just trying to build houses in a poor neighborhood, we're trying to transform the neighborhood," he said.

More community involvement is key to the neighborhood improvement program, he said. Ideas for more changes in Sandtown-Winchester that he announced March 6 include creating a community corporation to develop low-cost housing and coordinate health, education, economic development and other programs; a housing information clearinghouse; a center to recruit, train and place volunteers; and a program to refer residents to health care services.

Then Mr. Curran listed issues he sees as priorities for Marylanders. He admitted "interest" in running for governor, but stopped short of a formal declaration.

"Any campaign I wage, we're going to be talking about how we're going to address these issues a decade from now," he said.

The attorney general said he favored some form of managed health care rather than relying on market forces to broaden access to health insurance and keep down costs.

Mr. Curran listed education, crime and the environment as other issues he wants to see discussed in the 1994 campaign.

Democratic Maryland Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes, who is expected to seek re-election in 1994, offered support for President Clinton's economic stimulus and deficit-reduction plans.

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