A first in District 32: full, competing slates

August 17, 1994|By Consella A. Lee | Consella A. Lee,Sun Staff Writer

For the first time, a full slate of Republicans is vying against a full slate of Democrats in the House of Delegates' District 32.

Created as the result of the 1970 Census and redistricting, the district has been a Democratic stronghold for the past 20 years.

A slate of three Republicans, running as Citizens Serving Citizens, is trying to sever that grip. The candidates are Edward J. Priola, 40, a grass-roots tax activist; James E. Rzepkowski, 23, an insurance office manager; and Gerald P. Starr, 53, a Realtor.

Two other Republicans are running independently. Michael W. Burns, 36, has worked in alumni development at the University of Maryland Baltimore County, and Edward J. Terech, 53, is a self-employed sales consultant.

On the Democratic side, two incumbents and another candidate, who has run once before, have formed a ticket as the Partnership for Progress.

They are Thomas H. Dixon III, 45, a 20-year state employee who ran against state Sen. Michael J. Wagner's slate four years ago; Victor A. Sulin, 52, a 20-year county employee who is seeking a third term; and Mary Ann Love, 55, a longtime county employee chosen by the county Democratic Central Committee in June 1993 to finish the term of the late Patrick C. Scanello.

First woman representative

Mrs. Love became the first woman to represent the district, which includes Glen Burnie, Linthicum, Old Mill, Severn and Jessup.

A fourth Democratic candidate, Rick L. Ramer, 41, a skilled laborer, is running on a ticket called Marylanders for the Revival of the American System, under the banner of Lyndon LaRouche.

To Republicans, the District 32 race is about choice and change. They cast their rivals as dinosaurs who have been in office too long and are out of touch with their constituents.

None of the Republican candidates has held elected office. But as they campaign door-to-door, they're telling voters this could be the year for the GOP.

"To the Democrats, we want to let them know we will have a primary to vote in," says Mr. Rzepkowski, who favors term limits and limited government, stiff punishment for violent criminals, elimination of legislative scholarships and the teaching of good citizenship in schools.

Mr. Rzepkowski's background includes work on two George Bush campaigns and an internship with state Sen. John A. Cade during the 1992 legislative session. He says he soon realized that if he had voting power in the legislature, he could make changes. Like the other Republicans, he promises he would be accessible and visible in communities.

Light rail crime

Mr. Starr, another member of the Citizens Serving Citizens slate, says District 32 delegates were slow to respond to the concerns of residents that light rail was bringing crime to North County. He says the issue didn't come into focus until the Linthicum-Shipley Improvement Association, of which he is president, voted in May to ask the Mass Transit Administration to close the Linthicum Heights walk-up station.

"It really had a dramatic impact on the communities up here," says Mr. Starr, a Linthicum resident who is a retired Westinghouse employee.

He says he will regularly attend improvement association meetings throughout the district. He says he is also concerned about issues such as reducing real estate settlement costs to make home buying more affordable.

Mr. Priola, a Hanover resident who is the third member of the Citizens Serving Citizens slate, says he favors limited government and health care reforms that would allow people to take their health care coverage with them between jobs. He also supports a voucher and tax credit for those who can't afford health care and a catastrophic fund for families.

He also advocates stiff penalties for criminals, reduced taxes for individuals and small businesses and property rights. Mr. Priola says Maryland must do something to keep businesses from moving out.

'Not business friendly'

"We're losing out to them because we're not business friendly," he says. "We need to be open for business again."

Mr. Burns of Glen Burnie, one of the independent Republican candidates, says he grew up wanting to be a politician and took the plunge at age 10 when he helped his father staff the polling place at Overlook Elementary School.

He has worked in various campaigns and clerked for one year in Baltimore City Circuit Court. He favors term limits; stiff penalties for violent, repeat criminal offenders; welfare reform; and full disclosure of contact with lobbyists.

"I really want to go down there [to Annapolis] and kick butts and take names," says Mr. Burns. "You have to hold people accountable, especially in public office. You owe your constituency your best efforts and what you think is right and to represent them and not do just what the polls tell you. That's not representation and that's not leadership."

Stadium spurred campaign

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