Candidates share goals in County Council race CAMPAIGN 1994

October 31, 1994|By Ellen Gamerman | Ellen Gamerman,Sun Staff Writer

Something unusual is going on in the District 6 County Council race. The candidates are agreeing with each other.

Both William C. Mulford II and Melinda M. Hamilton favor construction of a new detention center on Ordnance Road in Glen Burnie and vow to fight any efforts to expand the existing jail on Jennifer Road just outside Annapolis. Both say they are firmly committed to maintaining public services within the limits of the tax cap on property while supporting popular local causes such as a fire station for the Annapolis Neck area.

The two also support regional cooperation to solve the county's solid waste problems. And both want to relieve overcrowding in public schools and offer proposals to shrink class sizes.

Different styles

But they promise to achieve these goals with opposite styles.

Mr. Mulford, a Republican, is the assistant state's attorney who prosecuted former teacher Ron Price on child sex abuse charges and he is campaigning as a tough negotiator who won't let other council members ignorethe needs of Annapolis residents.

"As a prosecutor I zealously go after criminals like Ronald Price to protect the public," Mr. Mulford said. "I will take that same approach to attacking the entrenched political interests and protecting the taxpaying public."

Ms. Hamilton sells herself as a coalition-builder who has experience in the community and ties to its residents.

"The bulldog image, if that's the image, is not conducive to what you need on the County Council. It's the antithesis," the Democrat said.

"You need to be able to work with other people and not be in an adversarial position."

Best of both worlds

Maureen Lamb, the Democrat who has held seat for the last 12 years, said the best representative for a district that includes the city of Annapolis and surrounding communities between the Severn and South rivers might be a combination of the two styles.

"It's a very difficult district to represent," said Mrs. Lamb, who is retiring because of term limits. "You need to be a fighter, and it may seem contradictory, but you also need to be a negotiator. You're constantly trying to meet the needs of the county citizens while not impinging on what the city wants you to do."

She said she had not "seen that much of a difference between the two candidates."

Even the candidates say the race will hinge on nuance, rather than black-and-white differences.

"What it comes down to is: Who is going to be the more aggressive, the better advocate for the people of Annapolis?" said Mr. Mulford, 34.

Ms. Hamilton said she doesn't differ with Mr. Mulford on issues, but on matters of "knowledge or experience or style."

Ms. Hamilton, 49, is an insurance agent who has lived in Annapolis for the past 30 years. She has served on the executive boards of several volunteer community groups that provide drug abuse, domestic violence and mental illness counseling.

District's party affiliations

The district's roughly 31,600 voters divide into approximately 16,600 Democrats, 11,500 Republicans and 3,500 independents.

But community leaders say party loyalty is not likely to play a large role in this election.

"You don't really have traditional Democrats and Republicans around here," said Dan Masterson, president of the Community Associations of Annapolis. "They'll decide on issues of divisiveness or who has the strongest personality."

Both candidates said they are trying hard to make voters aware of their personalities.

Campaign strategies

Mr. Mulford has been going door-to-door since May, chatting with potential voters about his pregnant wife, Kimberly; his eight years in Anne Arundel County; and his roots in Rochester, N.Y.

"My goal is to knock on the doors of everyone who voted in 1990 or 1992," he said one afternoon last week as he canvassed a suburban development near downtown. When he passed a house with a "For Sale" sign in front, he rang the bell anyway. "I'll tell them if they haven't moved by Nov. 8, they should vote for me," he said.

Ms. Hamilton has been campaigning for more than a year and said she has knocked on 8,000 doors in the district.

"Now that my children are grown I don't need to be at home," she said recently. "I have a real freedom to do this job."

Ms. Hamilton, who moved to Annapolis when she was a teen-age newlywed, raised five children in the city. She draws on that experience as a mother to describe a long and tiring campaign.

"Running for office is like giving birth," she said. "You just can't wait until it's over."

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