Haines to face moderate foe in November

July 24, 1994|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Sun Staff Writer

District 5 state Sen. Larry E. Haines, a Republican, will face a Democratic opponent in the November election who calls herself a moderate and is interested in improving education and attracting new business to Carroll County while responsibly handling growth.

Voters will have a clear choice in the general election about whom they want in the Senate.

Mr. Haines, a Westminster resident, is a conservative who owns a small business and has received national attention for his efforts to convince the state that parents aren't abusing their children if they spank them. He is vice president of the Church of the Open Door Inc.

Two Democrats are running in the September primary for the seat. Both describe themselves as moderates. Neither has held state office.

Cynthia Huggins Cummings of Silver Run has been a fourth-grade teacher for 16 years and president of the 1,250-member county teachers union the past three years. In that role, she has lobbied in Annapolis and raised money for candidates.

Rachelle Feldman-Hurwitz of Uniontown has been a member of community groups dealing with environmental, women's and other issues. Last year, she was involved in efforts in Annapolis to enact a domestic violence bill.

Voters may learn more about the two Democrats if they debate. Ms. Feldman-Hurwitz challenged Ms. Cummings to debate the issues, and she accepted, but they cannot agree on a site.

Ms. Cummings would like to debate at a meeting of the Carroll County Democratic Club, but Ms. Feldman-Hurwitz said that is not "a neutral place." She said she would rather hold the event in a Veterans of Foreign Wars hall and invite the public.

Ms. Cummings said it would be more appropriate for a primary race debate to be held at the Democratic club level. She is a member of the club, which meets monthly at the Frisco Family Pub in Westminster.

Ms. Feldman-Hurwitz is a former member; she quit after the 1992 elections.

4 "Their mentality is not my mentality," she said.

Both Democrats said they will knock on doors this summer to meet voters and gain name recognition.

Ms. Cummings, 52, was elected to the Carroll County Democratic Central Committee four years ago and is running for the position again. She is a Baltimore native who has lived in the county for 16 years.

She said she wanted to run for higher office in the past, but didn't because of the expense. Her family's financial situation changed recently when her husband, Charles, got a new job, "and he said to go for it."

"I think I represent the viewpoint of the mainstream in Carroll County," she said.

The mainstream is "people who care about education and the community. They care about values. They recognize there's growth in Carroll County, but want to preserve that rural atmosphere that makes it so appealing," Ms. Cummings said.

She will focus on "Cindy's Five C's" -- crime, communities, classrooms, career development and communication.

Ms. Cummings said she is meeting with police officers, public defenders and others in the community to hear about various issues and possible solutions.

Mr. Haines, a Westminster real estate broker, is tied to special interest groups, such as Realtors, she said.

She said she would be open to more viewpoints. She is part of a special-interest group -- public school teachers -- but said education plays a part in many aspects of county life, including attracting new businesses and reducing crime.

"Improving education must come first before we can solve any other problems," Ms. Cummings said.

If elected, she said, she would work to bring more money to Carroll to improve roads and build schools to keep up with growth. The state also should work to reduce class size by hiring more teachers, she said.

To increase the tax base, Ms. Cummings said she would work to attract light industry and tourism events to Carroll to create new jobs.

Ms. Feldman-Hurwitz, 43, said she also will focus on improving education. She has two children in elementary school and a son in college, and said she has spent many hours volunteering in her children's classrooms.

The state does not have to raise taxes to hire more teacher's aides to give students more attention in class; it should shift money from other programs, such as those that educate prisoners, she said.

"I'm tired of tax and spend," she said.

To help deter young people from crime, Ms. Feldman-Hurwitz said, children should visit jails in their community by the time they finish third grade. "They'll see this is very real punishment," she said.

Ms. Feldman-Hurwitz also would like to toughen penalties for people convicted of violent crimes against anyone 62 or older.

"Criminals see senior citizens as prey," she said.

"I'm sensitive, but I'm going to be tough so Carroll County remains a safe community," Ms. Feldman-Hurwitz said.

She is a Staten Island, N.Y., native who has lived in Carroll County 10 years. She has worked as a marketing consultant for (( computer and financial companies.

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