Democrat Lorsung takes boss' advice to run for his County Council seat

May 22, 1994|By Erik Nelson | Erik Nelson,Sun Staff Writer

The County Council district dominated by West Columbia got one definite Democratic candidate this week, while a member of the county Planning Board added her name to the list of Republicans considering a run for the same office.

Democrat Mary Lorsung, a Longfellow resident and administrative assistant to Councilman Paul R. Farragut, a 4th District Democrat, said yesterday that she had decided to take her boss' advice and endorsement and run with them.

Republican Joan Lancos, 40, acting Planning Board chairwoman and Sebring resident, said that she had rejected the idea of running for the seat in 1990 and again this November, but that Mr. Farragut's announcement last week that he would not seek re-election prompted her to reconsider.

Republican Michael Deets, 28, a member of the Wilde Lake Village Board from Running Brook, challenged Mr. Farragut in 1990 and is considering a second run.

Ms. Lorsung, 56, said she was surprised when Mr. Farragut told her Tuesday that he was not going to seek re-election.

She said that she would have liked to announce her candidacy the next day at the Democratic Central Committee's Jefferson-Jackson Dinner, but that "I said first of all, I had to get over the shock and surprise and real disappointment that he wasn't going to be running again. I said, 'A day isn't enough time.' "

"I got extremely positive feedback . . . there were a lot of people who called, stopped by, dropped by, dropped notes who said, do it, go ahead," Ms. Lorsung said, adding that the thing that was most encouraging was that "unsolicited, virtually all these folks said, 'Let me know what I can do, I'd really like to support you.' "

A resident of Harper's Choice for 22 years, Ms. Lorsung got her start in public service as the editor of the village's newsletter. She served as the administrative assistant to the village board from 1974 to 1976 before serving as village manager until 1984.

Ms. Lorsung, who has three grown daughters, served from 1984 to 1989 in the part-time position of legislative assistant to Del. Virginia M. Thomas, a Democrat who represents East Columbia. Ms. Thomas is giving up her seat to challenge Sen. Thomas M. Yeager in District 13.

When Mr. Farragut was named by the Democratic Central Committee to succeed Councilwoman Ruth Keeton, Ms. Lorsung accepted his offer of a full-time job as his administrative assistant.

Of the many issues Ms. Lorsung believes are important to the county, "I think that it's clear that education is a tremendously high priority."

In District 4, where there are a lot of older schools, "the form that that is taking is the equity issue -- how to ensure that the facilities and the equipment and the surroundings of education, as well as the staffing and the curriculum, keep pace with state-of-the-art." She also said crime was of particular concern to residents of the district, and said that she, like Mr. Farragut, would support community policing programs.

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