Circuit Court clerk to run for Senate seat in District 30

March 06, 1994|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,Sun Staff Writer

Mary M. Rose, whose combative style shook up the county Circuit Court three years ago when she became clerk of courts, announced yesterday that she will give up the job to run for the District 30 state Senate seat.

Mrs. Rose, who was among a slate of Republican candidates to win election in 1990 and has served as the chairwoman of the county's Republican Central Committee, said she "is not afraid of making a decision for fear of not getting elected."

The 47-year-old party activist announced her candidacy yesterday at the Fleet Reserve Club in Annapolis. She hopes to succeed Sen. Gerald W. Winegrad, an Annapolis Democrat who has said he will not seek another term.

Calling her only opponent, Del. John C. Astle, D-Annapolis, "a nice guy," Mrs. Rose said, "I think he has been in office too long. He hasn't been a very active legislator. He has a lack of presence when things get hot. When people need a courageous person to rely on, he doesn't seem to be there."

On her first day as clerk in December 1990 -- after upsetting 20-year veteran Democrat H. Erle Schafer by a wide margin -- Mrs. Rose demanded that three senior clerks, with a combined eight decades of experience at the courthouse, either resign or be fired.

Mrs. Rose won the battle -- the clerks left and eventually dropped civil rights complaints. She offers the incident as proof that she can make tough decisions and stick by them.

"It had to be done for the good of the whole courthouse," she said.

Mrs. Rose lives in the Bay Ridge community in Annapolis with her husband, Philip, a 59-year-old doctor, and their four children, Sarina, 22; Aimee, 20; Michael, 18; and Maureen, 16.

She said she has been thinking about running for two years.

"I have seen how government does business. I've seen how they fudge the figures. I would like to do something about it. I know the size of government can be cut. I have done it in the clerk's office. I would like to get into the legislative branch and show them how," she said.

Mrs. Rose said she was angry that Arundel's state delegates rejected a bill that would have prohibited the county's assistant state's attorneys from practicing civil law on their own time.

"Taxpayers are paying for them to work full time," she said. "I think it is ludicrous that the county delegation didn't stand up for what is right. Mr. Astle voted against the bill. It is a public safety issue. People deserve better, and he didn't take a strong position on it."

The bill was filed by state Del. John Gary Jr., a Millersville Republican who introduced the legislation at the request of John Greiber, a Republican candidate for state's attorney.

On Friday, Mr. Astle said the bill was filed simply to raise the issue on a political level. The Annapolis Democrat said he voted against it in committee because he did not want to "micro-manage" the office of an elected official.

Mr. Astle defended his 12 years as a state delegate and said his experience will be needed in the Senate.

He said he refused to vote for Gov. William Donald Schaefer's proposed tax increase two years ago and was dumped as vice chairman of a budget subcommittee as a result.

"The speaker wanted it. We were told that if we didn't vote for it, we were going to be on the outside. If that's a lack of courage, then maybe I'm guilty," Mr. Astle said.

Mrs. Rose has been active in the GOP for 24 years, serving as co-chairwoman in 1980 of Ronald Reagan's Arundel presidential campaign. She was appointed to administrative positions at the U.S. Office of Personnel Management.

When she won her post as court clerk, she was part of a Republican slate that included County Executive Robert R. Neall, two County Council members and the sheriff.

Mr. Astle easily won his last three elections and has long been considered a favorite to replace Mr. Winegrad. He was twice zTC wounded in Vietnam and is a colonel in the Marine Reserves.

"I think it's going to be kind of fun if she is going to paint me as a person with no courage and no leadership," he said.

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