Glenelg High teacher to run for Senate

March 11, 1994|By Adam Sachs | Adam Sachs,Sun Staff Writer

James P. Mundy says Howard residents deserve a state senator who will offer creative solutions to thorny problems such as the rising costs of health care and welfare, not an "obstructionist" who "doesn't initiate."

In announcing his candidacy for Senate in District 14 -- which includes western Howard, Ellicott City and portions of west Columbia and Montgomery County -- Mr. Mundy criticized Sen. Christopher J. McCabe, R-14, for opposing reforms and new ideas, such as the Health Care Reform Act of 1993, without offering alternatives.

"Don't go to Annapolis and be an obstructionist. Don't go to Annapolis and disappear. Don't go to Annapolis and say no to everything and not put something else in play," said Mr. Mundy, 42, a government and political science teacher at Glenelg High School and former president of the Howard County Education Association.

Mr. Mundy, a Democrat and Ellicott City resident, said he decided on the Senate for his first attempt at elected office because "the differences are so great between Chris McCabe and I and how we'd approach business.

"He doesn't initiate, he doesn't involve himself," Mr. Mundy said of the incumbent. "He's not a catalyst for thought. We need people in the federal government, state government and the County Council who will think and put things in play. Knee-jerk politics is no longer acceptable to me."

Mr. McCabe defended his work in Annapolis, saying he's been one of the most "independent voices" in the legislature during his first term and denying that his role, as one of nine Republicans in the 47-member Senate, has been that of an "obstructionist."

"If it was, I'd get on a soap box at every opportunity to rail against the [Schaefer] administration and the Democratic Party and say the Republicans have all the solutions, and I haven't done that," he said.

Mr. McCabe said it's easy to criticize a legislator's position on an issue -- especially if he's in the minority -- without clearly understanding the complex details of a bill, such as the Health Care Reform Act, and its potential effects.

"I would hope people want me to apply my common sense and question rather than jump on board major initiatives that are uncertain and questionable," he said. "The easy thing down here is to say yes to everything. An awful lot do it that way."

A General Assembly reality is that legislators must carve out niches where they contribute because individuals can't be involved in or influence everything, Mr. McCabe said, adding that he's tried to assume a leadership role in reforming adoption procedures and strengthening ethics in politics.

Mr. Mundy is the only candidate to have filed to run for Senate in District 14. Mr. McCabe said he will seek re-election.

Mr. Mundy, a Howard County Board of Health member since 1985 and its chairman for the last five years, has emphasized the need to improve public education and provide youths with the technical and mathematical skills they will need in the 21st century.

He opposes voucher programs in which tax dollars are used to support private education.

Mr. Mundy believes the state should encourage small businesses to participate in programs that will help them purchase benefits packages for employees who have no health insurance.

Mr. Mundy supports legislation requiring the licensing of handgun owners and denying ownership to individuals convicted of violent misdemeanors, child abuse or domestic violence.

Welfare recipients, he said, should be required to look for work and to participate in job training programs.

Those who fail to find employment within a year should be required to participate in community service work while they look for a job, he said.

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