Social activist announces candidacy for U.S. Senate CAMPAIGN 1994

March 07, 1994|By Holly Selby | Holly Selby,Sun Staff Writer

Bea Gaddy has been hungry, and she has been on welfare. She has founded a homeless shelter, and she has built it into a conglomeration of social services for the needy.

Now the longtime advocate for the homeless says she plans to run in the Democratic primary for the U.S. Senate.

"I am running on a platform of hope," Ms. Gaddy said yesterday. "I feel one of the most important things people want is for someone to show them they have hope. Without hope, they have nothing."

Ms. Gaddy announced her intention to run for the Senate to a group of seventh-graders at Centreville Middle School on the Eastern Shore Friday, but her comments were not reported until yesterday.

It was initially unclear when Ms. Gaddy planned to run because she first stated she would challenge Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski in November. But Ms. Mikulski's term does not expire until 1998.

Ms. Gaddy said yesterday that she had spoken to the school audience "before I had done my homework" -- and that she aims to replace Maryland's senior senator, Paul S. Sarbanes.

"Paul Sarbanes' time is up this year," she said. "I'm still not sure about everything, but I do know that I will file before July. . . . The most important thing to know is I'm here to run for Senate, and I'm a serious candidate."

This is not Ms. Gaddy's first foray into politics. In 1991, she ran unsuccessfully for Baltimore City Council.

Once homeless herself, Ms. Gaddy founded a shelter in her East Baltimore home that has grown to include an array of social service programs.

She is also the hostess of a Thanksgiving banquet for the needy that began in 1981 as a free meal served to 39 people in her kitchen. Last Thanksgiving, Ms. Gaddy and her volunteer organizers estimated that 20,000 meals were served.

"Bea has a strong track record for getting things done on behalf of other people," said Edward Segal, the owner of a Washington public relations firm who is donating his time as Ms. Gaddy's campaign spokesman. "She has a definite can-do spirit and wants to take it to the Senate."

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