N. County delegate aims for leadership

January 12, 1994|By John A. Morris | John A. Morris,Staff Writer

North County lawmakers may finally wrest control of Anne Arundel's 13-member contingent to the House of Delegates when the General Assembly convenes today.

Victor A. Sulin, a Democrat representing Severn and Glen Burnie, said yesterday that he has five of the six votes needed to win the job. The last two delegation chairs have been from Annapolis.

The chairmanship is important because it controls what county issues the delegation takes up and when they will be voted on. The chairman also has more access to House leaders than other delegates.

Although the full delegation will vote on the chairmanship, the job traditionally is filled in a closed-door caucus of the 10 Democratic members.

Mr. Sulin said that besides his own vote, he has commitments from Annapolis Dels. John C. Astle and Michael E. Busch; Del. Mary Ann Love, representing Glen Burnie;and Del. Theodore J. Sophocleus of Linthicum.

With a solid block of Democratic votes, Mr. Sulin has the edge over Marsha G. Perry, a Crofton Democrat and delegation vice chairman.

Giving Mr. Sulin the post could upset the geographic balance of power among the county's state lawmakers, Ms. Perry said.

She noted that a North County lawmaker -- state Sen. Philip C. Jimeno, a Brooklyn Park Democrat -- already heads the five-member Senate delegation.

Mr. Busch is giving up the chairmanship to assume a higher-ranking position as chairman of the House Economic Matters Committee. Mr. Astle, a reserve colonel in the U.S. Marine Corps, held the post before Mr. Busch but gave it up in 1991 when he was called for active duty in Operation Desert Storm.

Ms. Perry also said she worries that Mr. Sulin, who works as deputy director of the county's Department of Planning and Code Enforcement, may encounter a conflict of interest if he is elected chairman.

"If you work at the pleasure of the county executive, it's hard to be unbiased," Ms. Perry said. "There should be a separation between the State House leadership and the fourth floor of the Arundel Center."

Mr. Busch, a supervisor with the county Department of Parks and Recreation, was in a similar situation, but Ms. Perry said she considered him a "temporary" replacement for Mr. Astle.

Ms. Perry said she would support Del. W. Ray Huff, a Pasadena Democrat, for the chairmanship rather than vote for Mr. Sulin. Although he has sought the post in the past, Mr. Huff said yesterday that he will not fight Mr. Sulin for it.

Meanwhile, the three Republican members of the county delegation are forced to sit on the sidelines.

"We'd like to play a part in the process, but not a soul in the Democratic Party has come to me and said word one that they are running or anything," said Del. Elizabeth Smith-Anderson, a Davidsonville Republican.

In 1991, the GOP members abstained from voting when Mr. Busch was nominated before the full delegation.

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