Newly elected lawmakers planning their strategies ELECTION 1994

November 10, 1994|By Mark Guidera | Mark Guidera,Sun Staff Writer

Newly elected Howard County lawmakers already are making plans for legislation they hope to sponsor in Annapolis this winter, but first they'll have to fashion a livable peace with each other.

The county's new General Assembly delegation -- including two delegates from the new District 12A made up of six Elkridge precincts and southwestern Baltimore County -- is almost evenly split with five Democrats and six Republicans.

"The main message I have for the new [delegation] members is that we speak with one voice in Annapolis," said Robert Kittleman, a Republican re-elected to a third term in House District 14B. "Delegations that bicker . . . end up getting nothing," said the delegate.

Democrats quickly let it be known that they plan to stand together in the delegation, which has been controlled by the GOP the last four years.

One significant sore point was the final-week campaign strategy of Del. Martin G. Madden, who ousted Democratic Del. Virginia M. Thomas in a bitter fight for the District 13 Senate seat.

Mr. Madden mailed out brochures last week questioning gifts Ms. Thomas accepted from Annapolis lobbyists and listing votes she has missed in recent years.

Mr. Madden did not disclose his own record on either matter.

"Madden got nasty. People don't forget that kind of thing," said County Councilwoman Shane Pendergrass, who won a House of Delegates seat in District 13A.

That sentiment is shared by other Howard Democrats headed for Annapolis in January. They say they were dismayed by the widespread use of guerrilla campaign tactics this year.

"The negative campaigning was very destructive," said Elizabeth Bobo, former Howard County executive in the mid-1980s who reclaimed her political life Tuesday by winning the lone District 12B House of Delegates seat, which represents parts of Columbia.

Reiterating a theme in her acceptance speech before Democrats gathered at Kahler Hall in Columbia Tuesday night, Ms. Bobo said a first order of business for the new delegation should be fashioning a "strong cohesiveness," despite party differences.

"As much as I don't like what I saw, we are a delegation and we do have to work together," Ms. Bobo said.

Mr. Madden sounded a similar theme of reconciliation, saying, "I've always felt that as soon as the election is over, you work for the betterment of the county."

Other Republicans pledged to lay aside party differences with the goal of unity, particularly on local matters, such as school construction and highway funding.

"Howard County has a history and a reputation in Annapolis of never letting partisanship get in the way of local matters," said Mr. Kittleman.

He said he thought that despite the sometimes rough-and-tumble nature of the election, teamwork could be built between the two factions -- a working coalition lawmakers say is crucial to securing school and highway construction money.

While senators and delegates do not have final say over which new public schools, state roads or other state-funded community projects will move ahead, they can influence project priorities with the state agencies and boards charged with making the decisions.

The legislative initiatives that Howard delegation members have in mind run the gamut from campaign finance reform to tax breaks for businesses in depressed areas. Some examples:

* Delegates Madden and John Morgan, a Republican who won his re-election bid for a House seat in District 13B, which includes Laurel and portions of Prince George's County, plan to reintroduce legislation requiring applicants in Howard County zoning cases to disclose campaign finance contributions made to the county's Zoning Board, which consists of the five members of the County Council.

* Mr. Kittleman said he will reintroduce a bill that would eliminate a widely criticized state senate college scholarship program that critics say amounts to patronage.

* Edward J. Kasemeyer, elected to the Senate seat in District 12, has said he would like to encourage business development in depressed areas by offering tax breaks.

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