Evelyn Tanner announces bid for Gray's County Council seat

June 28, 1994|By James M. Coram | James M. Coram,Sun Staff Writer

Former Board of Appeals Chairwoman Evelyn L. Tanner, who switched from the Democratic to the Republican Party on June 10, has scheduled a news conference today to announce her run for the east Columbia County Council seat now held by Council Chairman C. Vernon Gray.

She is the second Republican and the third challenger attempting to unseat Mr. Gray, a three-time incumbent who filed for re-election June 14.

Mr. Gray was elected as an at-large candidate to the council in 1982, the first African American to hold a Howard County Council office. He defeated primary and general election opponents in 1986 and had no opposition in 1990.

Ms. Tanner, who is black, hopes to duplicate the feat of County Executive Charles I. Ecker, who will introduce her at at her news conference at 11 a.m. at the Howard County Center of African Culture.

Mr. Ecker, like Ms. Tanner, was a Democrat who switched parties shortly before the election and entered the race against a favored incumbent, former County Executive M. Elizabeth Bobo. Like Ms. Tanner, Mr. Ecker first had to compete in a party primary.

To get to the general election, Ms. Tanner will have to beat political newcomer Gary Prestianni of Jessup. Mr. Gray, meanwhile, will have to fend off a challenge from Kathryn L. Mann, a Democratic Central Committee member and former chairwoman of the county Planning Board.

A native of Pittsburgh, Ms. Tanner graduated from the University of Pittsburgh in 1980. She came to Columbia after graduation from Duquesne University Law School in 1984. She worked for Westinghouse in its contract section.

Ms. Tanner is a self-employed consultant on government contracts and works as a teacher in the Baltimore City College adult education program. She was appointed to the Board of Appeals by the County Council in 1988. She was elected to her first term as chairwoman in 1992. She was re-elected chairwoman in 1993 and currently serves as vice-chairwoman.

The five-member appeals board makes decisions on requests for special exceptions and variances in zoning cases.

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