Gary for Anne Arundel Executive

October 25, 1994

Education, crime, pensions -- these issues have dominated the campaign for Anne Arundel County executive. But the candidates know they are not what this election is about. It is about money.

Democratic Del. Theodore J. Sophocleus and Republican Del. John G. Gary both correctly identify the mission of Anne Arundel's next county executive: to continue outgoing Executive Robert R. Neall's reshaping of government by deciding what qualifies as essential services, then providing them at a price the county can afford. This is particularly true for a county operating under uncertain economic prospects and a property tax cap.

Voters must ask who is more likely to fulfill that mission. Who has the clearer sense of how much the county will be able to spend over the next four years? Who is more likely to withstand pressure from special-interest groups when they clamor for a bigger piece of the pie?

Based on his conservative record on fiscal matters in 12 years in the state legislature, the specificity of his spending projections, and the firmness and directness he has shown throughout the campaign, we believe that person is Mr. Gary.

Mr. Sophocleus, a former county councilman appointed to the House of Delegates a year ago, narrowly lost to Mr. Neall in 1990 and remains a strong candidate. His positions on issues such as the environment and crime often resemble Mr. Gary's and in most cases are more detailed. But he has been criticized for enriching his and his wife's county pensions and supporting the big-spending Lighthizer administration of the 1980s. These are not our reasons for rejecting him, though.

Our concern with Mr. Sophocleus has always been that he won't be able to say "no" or make unpopular decisions. He likes to please; that is his nature. As a result, he often shuffles on touchy issues such as a new county jail, calling for more study or dialogue instead of taking a stand.

Mr. Gary is prepared to suffer the fallout from unpopular decisions. He knows the county needs a new jail and pledges to build one. He wants to appoint school board members and be held accountable on education, a power the executive should have had before now. He is not afraid to tell people what they do not want to hear.

A member of the powerful House Appropriations committee for eight years, Mr. Gary has developed a sample budget showing how he would meet demands for new police officers, teachers and other services. Such specificity is rare in political candidates. It demonstrates to us Mr. Gary's grasp of the problems facing Anne Arundel, but, more than that, it shows his willingness to put his credibility on the line by saying what he would do about it.

F: John G. Gary is our choice for Anne Arundel executive.

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