Feehley, Schrum of GOP differ on jail, education CAMPAIGN 1994

September 07, 1994|By Andrea F. Siegel | Andrea F. Siegel,Sun Staff Writer

Regardless of who wins next Tuesday's Republican primary, state Sen. Philip C. Jimeno's opponent in the general election will be someone he knows well: a woman he nominated for county school board or a man who once contributed to his campaign.

Mr. Jimeno, 47, is running unopposed in the Democratic primary for the District 31 seat he now holds.

On the Republican side, Joseph "Jack" Feehley, 65, a retired self-employed real estate developer and past president of the Greater Pasadena Council, is facing Nancy M. Schrum, 39, the 1994 county School Board Nominating Convention's choice for a school board seat and a part-time business manager for Gibson Island Country School.

Each weekday, Mr. Feehley can be found at any of 14 busy county intersections greeting motorists with his red, black and yellow signs. Mrs. Schrum, who decided to run for the District 31 seat during the July Fourth weekend, has been going door to door and speaking to community groups.

Both promise to bring skills learned in community work, and both say Mr. Jimeno should have been a better advocate for his district during his 16 years in office. The district includes the northeast corridor of Anne Arundel County, Brooklyn Park and the Pasadena waterfront. Campaign finance reports as of Aug. 16 show that Mrs. Schrum raised $4,684 and spent $3,863, while Mr. Feehley raised $7,630 and spent $5,870.

Mr. Feehley, a North Shore resident, donated to Mr. Jimeno's 1990 campaign. He said he has worked with Democrats and Republicans. Much of his work dates to the mid-1970s, when he helped found the Greater Pasadena Council. Since 1975, he has served 10 years as an officer of the council, eight of them as president.

During his presidency in the late 1970s, the organization helped ward off several large developments, including a 1,000-slip marina on Bodkin Creek, a proposal for a 967-slip marina on the Magothy River and a mall.

His political baptism came in 1978 when Edward C. "Buddy" Ahern, a Democrat who was running for County Council, asked his help in managing the campaign. Mr. Feehley said Mr. Ahern did not know he was a Republican.

"I said, 'Listen Buddy, you've probably never seen a Republican before. I am a Republican,' " Mr. Feehley recounted. "He said, 'There are no Republicans around here. Why don't you do it?' "

Mr. Feehley was president of the Greater Pasadena Council in 1992, the year it started the Pasadena Pride Initiative, a blend of beautification projects and zoning fights aimed at uniting the disparate waterfront communities. When Mr. Feehley left the civic group to seek political office, Frank Halgas took over as president.

"He did everything he could for residents of the area," Mr. Halgas, a GOP Central Committee candidate, said of Mr. Feehley. Nevertheless, Mr. Halgas is not endorsing either candidate.

Though the candidates share many views, they differ on the proposed Anne Arundel County Detention Center on Ordnance Road.

Mr. Feehley points to the state prison complex in Jessup and says the county already has enough inmates. If more people convicted in Anne Arundel were sent to the state system, the county jail would not be overcrowded, he said.

"If we need more prison room, it should be in Baltimore. Baltimore has the space. God knows Baltimore needs the jobs," he said.

Mrs. Schrum said a July tour of the county jail convinced her that it is outdated, too crowded and probably unsafe for guards. But she'd rather that a new jail be built on county land in Crownsville.

The two rivals also differ in their approach to education.

"I view her as a one-issue person, and that is education," Mr. Feehley said of Mrs. Schrum. "That's laudable. That's what her experience is. But mine is a wider field."

Mrs. Schrum said that as a mother with children in the school system she is more in touch with the current problems in #F education.

"I don't think the gentleman has the passion or the endurance," she said of Mr. Feehley. "I feel confident that I can represent the people of District 31, what people think, what we need in schools, in criminal justice. I have the passion to get the job done."

Mrs. Schrum said she worries about what the future holds for children, like her three young daughters, and for parents.

"Are we going to have a place to go to without crime? Is retirement going to be affordable to us?" she said.

In 1987, Mrs. Schrum quit her job as a parts replacement supervisor with the Westinghouse Electric Corp. to spend more time on community activism and her family.

Under her guidance, Bodkin Elementary School, where two of her daughters are enrolled, went from having a PTO to a PTA, which offers a larger say in association positions countywide and wider resources to parents.

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