Kasemeyer switches to state Senate race

May 11, 1994|By James M. Coram | James M. Coram,Sun Staff Writer

Former state Sen. Edward J. Kasemeyer got out of one political race yesterday and into another.

Soured in his gubernatorial bid, but still sweet on public service, Mr. Kasemeyer said he hopes to return to the state Senate, this time from District 12.

He was elected to the Senate from District 14 in 1986 after serving a term as a General Assembly delegate from the "B" portion of that district.

"I really enjoy public service," Mr. Kasemeyer said yesterday. "I am committed and I do a good job in the public sector."

Mr. Kasemeyer offered two reasons for abandoning a gubernatorial race he entered less than two months ago: lack of media attention and inability to raise the money needed to wage a successful campaign. Mr. Kasemeyer said his short tenure in the governor's race was not born of naivete, but from the belief that he offers "a perspective that's not out there" and that he would do a good job. He said he may "recommit" himself to a gubernatorial bid, "But it is not my time right now."

The issues he raised when running for governor will be the ones he discusses as a senatorial candidate, Mr. Kasemeyer said. "Each district may have its own issues, but crime and education predominate."

"There are no quick fixes," he said. Building more prisons and making it harder for convicts to win parole will help short-term, but, "We need to give people some alternative to crime over the next 10 to 15 years," he said. "There's got to be a better system." Mr. Kasemeyer believes a better system can be achieved if government helps with economic development.

"Government should be helping businesses succeed, not putting in roadblocks," he said. "Wages are going down and we are not doing a good job of helping people get retrained. We know that people have to be retrained and provided new skills, but we are having a tough time making it happens."

Mr. Kasemeyer says families have so much stress from financial, educational or child rearing problems, that it is difficult for the heads of households to become productive as employees.

"The wave of the future is the building of partnerships between regions and segments of our society," Mr. Kasemeyer said. "I really do care about helping out -- about creating an environment where people are safe and life is a positive force. It sounds like hype, but I believe it is critical that we listen to where each individual is coming from and work toward consensus so that we can all end up happy."

Until his defeat in 1990, Mr. Kasemeyer was one of two senators being considered for chairmanship of the powerful Senate Finance Committee.

"It is impossible to pinpoint why you lost," Mr. Kasemeyer said. "You learn from your experiences and work harder."

Although Democrat Nancy Murphy, the incumbent senator in District 12, plans to run for Baltimore County executive rather than seek re-election, Mr. Kasemeyer still faces a formidable challenge.

About 55 percent of the district is in Baltimore County where commercial developer Democrat Thomas E. Booth is running with Ms. Murphy's imprimatur and with the help of many of her campaign officials.

"I don't know much about him personally," Mr. Booth said of Mr. Kasemeyer. "I understand he was a state senator and has been running for governor and for some reason dropped out. With him entering the race, I'll probably have to work harder."

Mr. Booth described himself as "a very conservative Democrat in

a very conservative district," adding, "I don't know what Mr. Kasemeyer is."

The entrance of the Columbia resident into the senate race "is probably a good thing," Mr. Booth said. "It'll make it a lot easier to beat a Republican in the general election because I will have had to go door to door to beat him in the primary."

Despite Mr. Booth's numerical superiority in Baltimore County, the race is "winnable [for Mr. Kasemeyer], although it's going to be close," Mr. Kasemeyer says. "I plan to meet as many people as I can. I hope people will objectively look at [the candidates] and not the jurisdictions."

If that happens, he will win, Mr. Kasemeyer says. "I performed well previously and I understand what it takes to represent two counties," representing Montgomery and Howard counties from 1982 to 1990. "It is not easy by any means."

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