Crime is key issue in 8th District Senate, delegate races shape up as tough contests CAMPAIGN 1994

October 31, 1994|By Ed Brandt | Ed Brandt,Sun Staff Writer

An article in Monday's editions incorrectly described Sen. Thomas L. Bromwell's legislative background. Mr. Bromwell, a Baltimore County Democrat, served in the Maryland House of Delegates for four years and has been in the Senate since 1983.

The Sun regrets the errors.

Voters in the 8th District face a choice between hard-campaigning veterans in the race for the state Senate seat and lively contests for three House of Delegates seats.

Democrat incumbent Thomas L. Bromwell, 45, is a 16-year veteran of the Senate and chairman of the Bal- timore County Senate delegation. He faces a strong challenge from Republican John J. Bishop, 46, a House of Delegates member for eight years, in the Nov. 8 general election.


Mr. Bromwell, who calls himself a "senator of moderation," defeated Donna M. Felling with 55 percent of the vote in the primary. Mr. Bishop, who represented the Towson area before the redistricting that came after the 1990 census, beat Scott O. Stout with 85 percent of the vote.

The 8th District, in the northeastern part of the county, includes diverse areas such as Overlea, Parkville, Perry Hall, Cub Hill, Glen Arm, part of Long Green Valley and a small slice of northeast Baltimore.

"I've knocked on more doors than I ever have, but I feel good about my record and about this election," Mr. Bromwell said.

Mr. Bishop, a construction analyst for the state Department of General Services who lives in Parkville, said he has plodded through every part of the district in the search for votes. He said that as a senator he will focus on what he considers the No. 1 crime problem, the chronic juvenile offender. Both candidates have been seeking solutions to juvenile crime.

A bill sponsored by Mr. Bishop eventually led to the Patuxent Youth Program, which created 300 beds at Patuxent State Hospital for violent juvenile offenders. The bill was signed into law in May and will provide long-term treatment of these offenders.

Mr. Bromwell, who lives in Perry Hall and owns a small construction company, also is concerned with juvenile crime. For years, he said the state was not equipped to handle juvenile facilities like the Charles H. Hickey School in Cub Hill and favored private operation of the facility. Hickey now is operated by a private company, Youth Services International.

Mr. Bromwell favors small, more easily managed facilities for juvenile offenders and wants to keep Hickey at the 288 inmates now budgeted.

"I shoot hoops with those kids at Hickey," Mr. Bromwell said. "All some of them need is a little attention."

Mr. Bishop is angered at Mr. Bromwell's claim on 77 pieces of legislation that have passed with Mr. Bromwell's name attached to them during his 16-year tenure.

"I'd say about 30 percent of those related to county matters and had his name on them because he is head of the county's Senate delegation," Mr. Bishop said.

Mr. Bromwell said he worked for a key ingredient of the crime omni bus bill passed by the legislature. His part broadened the exposure of violent juvenile offenders to treatment as adults, he said.

A major piece of legislation sponsored and pushed by Mr. Bishop was a bill that led to creation of the 25-member Efficiency 2000 Commission, which will study state government and suggest ways to make it more effective.

Points of contention between the two candidates include three foreign trips taken by Mr. Bromwell over the years, including one to East and West Germany in 1990, for which he solicited funds from companies and lobbyists for expenses.

The Germany trip eventually was paid for by a nonprofit European group after legislative leaders pressured Mr. Bromwell abandon his fund-raising plan. He also went to England and Israel, the latter sponsored by the Baltimore Jewish Council.

"I learned a lot on those trips of value to my legislative duties, particularly on health care systems," Mr. Bromwell said. He is chairman of the Senate Rules Committee, a member of the Finance Committee, and chairman of the Workers' Compensation Benefit and Insurance Oversight Committee.

Mr. Bishop is a member of several legislative committees and subcommittees.

In the House of Delegates races, two incumbents and a newcomer on the Republican side are running on a ticket with Mr. Bishop in the redrawn district that now includes more Democrats and fewer Republicans.

The incumbents are Republicans James F. Ports Jr. of Perry Hall, a supervisor with Baltimore Gas and Electric Co., and Alfred W. Redmer Jr. of Perry Hall, an investment adviser, each finishing his first term. The newcomer is Calvin Clemons, 51, of Perry Hall, owner and president of Clemons & Associates, which manages affairs for 16 trade and business organizations.

Mr. Ports favors mandatory sentences for criminals, and said the state must find ways to house more prisoners without building more prisons.

Mr. Redmer said crime is among his top issues, and a key ingredient in that is "the certainty of punishment" a criminal should face.

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