Decidedly UpbeatMy recent testimony before the House...


November 26, 1993

Decidedly Upbeat

My recent testimony before the House Economic Matters Committee was mischaracterized as presenting "a gloomy assessment of Maryland's economy." Lest there be any doubt, I am decidedly upbeat about our medium and long-term prospects.

My current position carries with it a responsibility to present informed, objective assessments of the state economy from time to time. The initial thrust of my presentation was to explain why it has been that Maryland has suffered the effects of the recent recession more severely than much of the rest of the nation.

I pointed to the continued erosion of our manufacturing base, the heavy dependence on defense contracting, the ongoing effects of restructuring, the incorporation of technology (computers) into the workplace and an overreliance on construction during the overheated eighties.

All of these factors figure in Maryland's slow recovery from recession. Nonetheless, as I pointed out to the Economic Matters Committee, our belief is that Maryland is blessed with enviable strength which should serve to accelerate the pace of recovery.

Our market is among the largest and most affluent in the nation. We possess the nation's largest concentration of scientists and engineers. Our proximity to Washington is an incomparable asset. A tradition of strategic investments in infrastructure serves us very well, both now and for the future.

A location near the center of the East Coast megalopolis is a major source of strength. Our unparalleled concentration of federal laboratories, combined with our world-class institutions of higher education, will serve us admirably in the new technological era.

This is no time for wringing our hands. With consistently strong support from Governor Schaefer and the General Assembly, we have been modernizing our manufacturing base; commercializing new technologies with special emphasis on information processing, environmental products and services, aerospace and life science; committing to new approaches toward workforce development and exploiting our enormous tourism potential.

We also have been internationalizing the Maryland economy; ensuring full participation by small and minority business and pursuing our special potential for attracting distribution activity.

The hand we have been dealt is a powerful one, indeed. Our challenge is to play it with skill and foresight. The Maryland economy is poised for resurgence.

Mark L. Wasserman


The writer is the Maryland secretary of economic and employment development.

Brilliant Colors

I could not but help laugh at A. S. Gray's letter of Nov. 11 regarding skin tones. The individual wrote that he or she had never seen a "black" person, only brown, beige and gold, and that "colored" was his or her word of choice for such persons.

I have never seen a "white" person either, only peach, pink and salmon. The last time that I looked at a big crayon box, there were "64 brilliant colors," including all of the above. "Colored" would appear to encompass the entire human race. That suits me fine.

Patricia S. Atkins


Day Care

An AP article Nov. 17 ("2.6 million in full day nursery schools,") based on the Census Bureau report by Robert Kominski, cited many statistics about pre-school children attending nursery schools and why parents choose this type of program.

However, the reader is left with the impression that day care programs are not equivalent to, or even close to, nursery schools or Head Start programs in providing educational experiences for young children.

Day care centers are regulated, licensed, educational facilities. Day care providers do not just "watch" children.

Day care providers are educated individuals who teach and interact with the children in their care. They are required to take continuing education courses yearly and often hold two to four year degrees in early childhood development or education.

Perhaps Mr. Kominski should take a closer look at day care. He may discover something wonderful instead of "the last result" if you cannot get your child into a Head Start or nursery school program.

Joann Willis


A Compassionate Healer

I cannot recall ever feeling a more certain perception of injustice than in the recent prosecution of Dr. George Elias.

Nor can I recall a remotely similar need to try and express in words what I understand to be the bond that exists between patients who entrust their lives to doctors and doctors who accept that trust.

Dr. Elias, by his medical skill, literally saved my life. I am aware that some might read this letter as a predictable response brought on by a sense of emotional indebtedness to Dr. Elias. However, that would be a very shallow interpretation of my five years under his medical care.

I owe my life, in part, to the extraordinary skill and knowledge of this physician. Yet his absolute belief in the possibility of life for me and many other patients of whom I have direct knowledge goes well beyond his surgical skill.

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