Surprising Democrats, Farragut says he won't seek re-election to council

May 12, 1994|By David Michael Ettlin | David Michael Ettlin,Sun Staff Writer

In a surprise announcement to fellow Democrats, Councilman Paul R. Farragut said last night that he will not seek re-election to vTC the 4th District seat he has held for five years.

Mr. Farragut, 52, made the announcement quietly, in a letter, copies of which he piled on a table of brochures at the county Democratic Central Committee's Jefferson-Jackson dinner.

He did not address the crowd, but a number of people who read the letter stopped to talk to him, Mr. Farragut said after the dinner.

"There were a number of people that seemed disappointed and a number who came up and said they thought I had done a fine job, which I really appreciated," he said.

His reasons for bowing out, as explained in the letter and a telephone interview, were not political but family-related, Mr. Farragut said. He has an important and demanding job outside the council as distribution manager for the Maryland Port Administration and feels a need to spend more time with his family, he said.

"After much soul-searching [Tuesday]," he wrote in the letter, "I have decided not to seek re-election to the Howard County Council. This decision is based on my desire to spend more time with my teen-age children and to devote more time to my job. . . . I am also taking care of an elderly parent and trying to get my personal life back on course, which is difficult with a schedule which often involves working 12 to 14 hour days.

"The five and a half years I will have spent on the Council by the end of this year have been a dynamic time for Howard County government and I have been privileged to have played a role in some key decisions affecting our present and our future. I have also been fortunate to have been elected unanimously by my peers to terms as chair of the Council, the Zoning Board and the Liquor Board, during those years."

Mr. Farragut said he was indebted to the central committee for selecting him from among 10 candidates as a midterm replacement for Councilwoman Ruth U. Keeton, who resigned in 1989 because she was suffering from Alzheimer's disease.

"In my election to a full term in 1990, I received 66 percent of the vote in a year when many incumbents were not successful," Mr. Farragut wrote. "Being elected to serve the people of Howard County in the branch of government closest to the people will always be one of the highlights of my life."

Mr. Farragut said he announced his decision at the dinner to give the Democrats plenty of time to plan for the September primary, and he suggested as a candidate he would like to succeed him his assistant, Mary Lorsung.

The councilman said he most enjoyed the constituent service aspect of his job, and he praised Ms. Lorsung for her work in helping solve people's problems.

"Mary has also provided valuable staff support on legislation I have sponsored and on other legislative and budget issues and by acting as my liaison with community organizations and special interest groups," he said.

"I have encouraged her to give serious consideration to seeking the District 4 council seat."

Mr. Farragut said in the interview that he had not anticipated a problem in winning re-election in the district, in which about two-thirds of the registered voters are Democrats.

"It was unusual," he said, "that no Democrat or Republican had announced for the position, so it was pretty much a sure thing, I think, for me to win. But it is a four-year commitment, and I just find it necessary to spend more time on family matters.

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