GOP's Clark calls incumbents liberal New District 14B draws 6 challengers CAMPAIGN 1994

August 31, 1994|By Erik Nelson | Erik Nelson,Sun Staff Writer

While Democrats are attacking delegates Robert H. Kittleman and Robert L. Flanagan on one side, fellow Republican John B. Clark contends the two incumbents are too liberal for the District 14B voters.

When state Democratic leaders decided how to redraw state legislative districts after the 1990 Census, they carved out largely Democratic Columbia precincts that used to be in the 14th District, parceling them into a radically changed District 12, which stretches into southwest Baltimore County.

Mr. Clark believes the change will help him wrest the nomination from one of the incumbent Republicans.

"I've been out door-knocking, and I'm satisfied, I'm very pleased," said Mr. Clark, 62, an insurance broker and retired Defense Department technical adviser.

Focusing on crime, education and strengthening the family, Mr. Clark said that during his door-knocking, he has encountered only one person who disagreed with his proposals.

Much of Mr. Clark's criticism of the incumbents comes from his belief that they are not doing enough to preserve basic rights of American citizens.

"I'm very concerned, the more I research issues, voting records and such, with the erosion which has already occurred with the freedoms that are granted in the Constitution," Mr. Clark said.

Among those are the right to keep and bear arms -- something even a ban on assault weapons threatens, he maintained -- and the right to picket clinics that perform abortions.

Both of those rights were jeopardized by legislation supported by the incumbents, and Mr. Clark believes the legislation runs counter to district voters' wishes.

Mr. Kittleman, who is running for his fourth four-year term, and Mr. Flanagan, who is seeking a third term, are only slightly amused at Mr. Clark's characterization of them.

"We're going to face the opposite charge in the general election. I guess we're somewhere in between," said Mr. Kittleman, who has a good chance of being elected minority leader.

"If you ask the people down in Annapolis, you ask them are we conservative . . .and they'd say, 'yeah,'" Mr. Kittleman said. He said that impression tends to come from the Howard County legislators' stands against tax increases and for downsizing government.

"You get into some of the social issues, it's not 100 percent."

Being more moderate on social issues such as encouraging the hiring of minorities and supporting abortion rights is due to his "libertarian" philosophy, Mr. Kittleman said.

"I don't want to force conservative policies on anyone any more than I want to see liberal policies forced on anyone."

"When it comes to budgets and stuff, then there's no such thing as libertarianism," Mr. Kittleman said. "Government is too big, besides being too intrusive, and they take too much of the taxpayers' money."

The incumbents records on business-related issues have won them endorsements from the Howard County Home Builders Political Affairs Committee and the support of the county Chamber of Commerce political action committee and Maryland Business for Responsive Government.

Mr. Flanagan's record on environmental legislation prompted an endorsement from the Maryland League of Conservation Voters.

Fighting crime

While all three candidates believe in reducing government, they believe the government could do more to combat crime.

"Everybody is concerned to one degree or another with crime," Mr. Clark said. "If it's not in the neighborhood now, there is concern that it could spread there."

One of the roadblocks to preventing crime as Mr. Clark sees it, is gun control legislation. "Flanagan has gone so far, in a statement the league of women voters, that he supports registration," Mr. Clark said.

Both Mr. Flanagan and Mr. Kittleman said they do not advocate strong gun control.

Both voted for this year's ban on assault weapons, but Mr. Kittleman said that's as far as he goes.

"I have about come to the end of my rope as far as gun control is concerned," Mr. Kittleman said, adding that he doesn't support proposals by Marylanders Against Handgun Abuse -- which the group has been using as a litmus test for legislators.

Mr. Flanagan said he supports some only a portion of MAHA the group's proposals, in particular one that would prohibit gun sales to people with psychiatric problems or felony convictions.

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