School union backs Cornick

October 05, 1994|By Lan Nguyen | Lan Nguyen,Sun Staff Writer

The Howard County Education Association will endorse only one of four school board candidates for two board seats in the November general election.

The union's board endorsed Delroy Cornick, a Columbia Democrat and retired Morgan State University business professor, who's making his second bid for a school board seat. He is the only black among the four candidates.

"We would very much like to see Delroy Cornick elected," Karen Dunlop, chair of a union committee that picks endorsements, said yesterday. "He's supremely qualified. It's way past time for an African-American candidate to reach the school board.

"A single endorsement underlines the importance we give to seeing him put on the board," she said.

In keeping with its practice in past elections, the union of 2,800 teachers, administrators, secretaries and other school employees announced it would likely endorse Democrats for almost all county and state seats.

"We are recommending these candidates because we have concluded that one of their top priorities is to provide their students with the best opportunities to learn, including adequate textbooks, adequate class sizes and adequate funding for academic programs," James Swab, the union president, said.

But the union is undecided in the county executive race, which pits Republican incumbent Charles I. Ecker against Democrat Susan Gray, a growth-control advocate whose views on education are not widely known.

The union four years ago did not endorse Mr. Ecker, who was an associate superintendent for the school system before he won his post in a tight contest against Democrat Elizabeth Bobo.

The county executive race "still is not a dead issue," Ms. Dunlop said. "We simply haven't reached a consensus at this point, and our procedure requires consensus."

Union representatives will address the county executive question at a Tuesday meeting, where they also are expected to approve recommendations from the union's government relations committee to endorse five House of Delegates candidates and two County Council candidates.

Republican candidates weren't surprised by the likely union endorsement of only Democrats.

"Democrats are more liberal," said Robert H. Kittleman, a Republican incumbent in the District 14B House of Delegate race. "They believe in more government. They believe in more power for unions. They believe in more taxes. The unions believe in the philosophy. Republicans are for less government, less taxes . . . less intrusion in everyday lives."

Mr. Kittleman didn't return a union questionnaire, taking himself out of the running for its endorsement. "I knew the endorsement wasn't going to be there, so I didn't feel I should be wasting their time or my time," he said.

He opposes giving unions more power and binding arbitration for teachers -- two positions that the union advocates.

But Mr. Swab said party affiliation and views on union issues had nothing to do with the endorsements.

"The decisions on which candidates to support . . . have nothing to do with union matters," Mr. Swab said. "Those kinds of comments are unfortunate. What we should be looking at is not philosophies of government, but what's best for the kids."

Republican Martin G. Madden, incumbent in the District 13 Senate race who will face Virginia M. Thomas in the general election, also said he didn't expect to get the union's nod.

But, he says, he has a strong record on educational issues, citing his opposition vote on a 1991 bill to shift the burden to pay for Social Security costs from the state to local government, which forced a cut in the education budget.

"On virtually every issue that affects the educational welfare of the schoolchildren, I've been there," he said. "On union issues, we have a difference of philosophy."

Council representatives will vote Tuesday whether to approve the recommended endorsements of:

* Shane Pendergrass and Frank Turner, running for two House of Delegate seats in District 13A.

* Carolyn Willis and Andrew Levy, running for two House of Delegate seats in District 14B.

* Ms. Bobo, trying to making a political comeback in the race for the District 12B House of Delegates seat.

* Mary Lorsung in District 4 and John Taylor in District 5 for County Council positions.

Earlier, the union announced the following endorsements: Jim Mundy in District 14 and Ms. Thomas in District 13 for state Senate seats, and George Layman in District 1, C. Vernon Gray in District 2 and Charles Acquard in District 3 in the County Council races.

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