Hopefuls, 5 Democrats enliven District 31 primary CAMPAIGN 1994


August 19, 1994|By TaNoah V. Sterling | TaNoah V. Sterling,Sun Staff Writer

An article in Friday's Anne Arundel edition of The Sun about the District 31 legislative primary omitted a portion of candidate James Riley's stance on welfare reform. Mr. Riley favors pursuing deadbeat dads to recover child support costs.

The Sun regrets the omission.


District 31 is likely to see a live ly primary race for the House of `Delegates this year, with seven Re publican candidates competing for chance at three seats in Annapo lis.

The three incumbent Democratic candidates -- Joan Cadden, W. Ray Huff and C. Stokes Kolodziejski -- will run against two other Demo crats in the primary.


Education, crime, growth and im proving efficiency in government are the issues facing District 31, which includes Pasadena, Brook lyn Park, and parts of Severna Park and Glen Burnie.

While the crime issue brings out the most extreme proposals among the candidates -- public canings, psychoanalyzing infants, abolish ing parole for violent criminals -- education is considered to be the major concern. Six of the 12 candi dates have labeled it a top priority. They also favor an elected school board.

Delegate Cadden, who ran on an education platform in 1990, said that if re-elected she would fight for school construction funding and extending early education pro grams.

"My philosophy in education is children first," she said, adding that balancing the state budget is her second concern.

She also said she has talked about an elected school board with other delegates and there's a "possibili ty" that she will be looking at sponsoring a bill for an elected school board.

Carolyn Roeding, another Demo crat who gained media attention as the former president of the county Council of PTAs, has launched a grass-roots campaign promote her education initia tives. She wants to see improve ments in the condition of schools and the quality of education.

A first-time candidate, she has raised $2,325 to compete with in cumbents who together have raised more than $107,000. She said that every time she ran into a roadblock during her time with the PTAs, it came from Annapolis.

"All the decisions are made in An napolis, and that's where I want to be," she said.

Growth and crime are other issues facing the district, she said.

Republican candidates who have made education their No. 1 issue include Doug Arnold, David Blanch, Brian Brooks and John McGahagan.

Mr. Arnold, 26, who is running with Mr. Blanch and Vickie Schade, said teachers need to bring education to the communi ties that they serve.

"It should be the school going to the parents, the teachers going to the community," said Mr. Arnold, who works for the Clerk of the Court.

He also said he favors eliminating parole for violent criminals, and instituting zero-based budgeting in which state departments do not base their budgets on the previous year's funding.

Mr. Blanch, a 57-year-old real es tate investor who owns a small ac counting business, said he wants to increase parental involvement children's education by encour aging teachers to visit students at home.

"Every young person that I see that's a success, there's a parent involved with them," he said, add ing that he decided to run for office because he was fed up with the way things were going.

Government restructuring and downsizing is another important issue for Mr. Blanch, who said his years of management experi ence give him the expertise needed to manage government.

Mr. Brooks, who called himself a common-sense candidate, said he will "try to bring some honesty and integrity" to the legislature.

The problem with the current edu cational system, he said, is that there is no place for parents. He would like to keep children in neighborhood schools. If busing is needed, schools should create magnet schools to give parents an incentive to take their children out of the neighborhood school.

John McGahagan, a Chesapeake High School math teacher, said he would like to reform the public ed ucational system by creating small school districts and divide the county into regions, each with its own elected school board.

He said having school board candi dates run countywide makes them susceptible to being bought off by special interest groups.

Mr. McGahagan, who has taught Anne Arundel Community Col lege and private and public sec ondary schools, said growth and crime are the second and third most important issues.

As with the candidates, the people who live in District 31 also feel crime is a major concern. Fear of crime has become on overwhelm ing concern for Mary Lund, a 77- year-old Pasadena resident.

"I don't go out by myself in the dark. I don't go to Marley Station in the daytime," she said, who feels tougher punishment is needed to stop criminals.

She is not alone in wanting strong er sentences. Republicans James Riley and Vickie Schade are call ing for mandatory sentencing and new ways to deal with an old prob lem.

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