Mintz joins race for executive

May 02, 1994|By Patrick Gilbert | Patrick Gilbert,Sun Staff Writer

County Councilman Melvin G. Mintz officially threw his hat into the ever-widening political ring for Baltimore County executive yesterday, telling supporters he wants to do for the county what he's done for his district.

Speaking to about 400 people at the Towson National Guard Armory, Mr. Mintz said the county must have policies that will take it into the next century.

"We can do better with new thinking," said Mr. Mintz, a Pikesville Democrat. "Our choices are to continue with paralysis or going forward with inspiration, to shoulder-shrug or shoulder the responsibility."

Mr. Mintz said his initiatives have brought jobs, increased police patrols on Liberty Road and improved schools in his Pikesville-Randallstown district. He said he would focus on similar initiatives for the rest of the county.

The two-term councilman is the third well-known Democrat to officially enter the executive race. Last Monday, Councilman Charles A. Dutch Ruppersberger III of Timonium announced his candidacy. State Sen. Nancy L. Murphy of Catonsville announced in January.

The incumbent Republican executive, Roger B. Hayden, probably will not officially announce for re-election until just before the July 5 filing deadline. Mr. Hayden so far is being challenged by former county employee Donald Brewer of Dundalk.

Before his speech, Mr. Mintz said factors that led him to enter the race included winning re-election to the council in 1990 by a 3-1 margin, the large Democratic vote in the Jewish community around Pikesville and the lack of a candidate from the densely populated Eastside, which once dominated county politics.

"Ever since last fall, I've been talking to residents all over the county and to leadership people and examining early opinion poll data, and all the results have been very encouraging," he said.

He compared his 3-1 margin re-election win to Mr. Ruppersberger's victory with 57 percent of the vote. In 1990, there were 43,932 registered Democrats and 6,714 Republicans in Mr. Mintz's district. In Mr. Ruppersberger's north county district, the breakdown was 32,385 Democrats to 20,503 Republicans.

Mr. Mintz alluded to what he said was the likelihood that other candidates will bring up the fact that he never has been elected PTC council chairman by his colleagues in eight years. Mr. Ruppersberger has pointed to his two terms as council chairman as proof of his leadership qualities.

"Some council members are adept at getting votes among themselves," said Mr. Mintz. "I'm adept at getting votes from among the voters.

"I don't see [the council chairmanship] as an issue," he said. "The chairman gavels meetings to order and makes sure that paperwork goes through. The chairman has one vote, the same as every other member of the council."

"I've been able to get many of my initiatives through the council by convincing my colleagues of the soundness of my policies, and that, I think, is the right measure of success," Mr. Mintz said.

Mr. Mintz operates a private physical therapy practice in Pikesville.

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