Haines elected chairman of legislative delegation

November 30, 1994|By Kerry O'Rourke | Kerry O'Rourke,Sun Staff Writer

Carroll County legislators voted unanimously yesterday to skip their senior member and elect Republican Sen. Larry E. Haines to chair their delegation.

Del. Richard N. Dixon is the senior member of the six-person delegation, but acknowledged he didn't have much of a chance at the job as the only Democrat in the delegation.

In fact, after Mr. Haines, who represents District 5, asked for nominations for the chairmanship, Mr. Dixon nominated Mr. Haines. Members voted without discussing the issue.

Mr. Dixon of Westminster was elected to a fourth term earlier this month; Mr. Haines, also of Westminster, was elected to a second term. District 5 includes most of Carroll County.

But Mr. Dixon likely will have more political power in Annapolis than his Carroll colleagues because Democrats control the House and Senate.

House Speaker Casper R. Taylor Jr. of Cumberland contributed to Mr. Dixon's re-election campaign, and party leaders have agreed to Mr. Dixon's request for a larger office suite in Annapolis for the Carroll delegation.

Mr. Dixon also is in line to chair the Capital Budget Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee. It's crucial that Carroll have representation on a budget-related committee to be better positioned to receive money for larger projects, he said. He said he expects to hear soon about the position.

The county delegation gathered yesterday for an informal breakfast meeting at Baugher's Country Restaurant. The vote on the chairmanship will not be official until after Jan. 11, when the county's three new legislators are sworn into office.

The legislators also voted unanimously to elect Del. Donald B. Elliott, a District 4B Republican, as the delegation's vice chairman. He lives in New Windsor and his district includes part of Frederick County. He has been in office since 1987.

Del. Richard C. Matthews, a District 5 Republican, had chaired the delegation for many years. He announced in July that he would retire at the end of the year after serving 27 years in the House.

The members, including Mr. Dixon, hold the same philosophy on many issues, Mr. Haines said.

Mr. Dixon, who calls himself a conservative, was the only Democrat elected in Carroll in the Nov. 8 elections.

The new members of the Carroll delegation are Timothy R. Ferguson of Taylorsville, who was elected to the District 4 Senate seat vacated when Charles H. Smelser announced he would retire after 36 years in the legislature; and Joseph M. Getty of Manchester and Nancy R. Stocksdale of Westminster, who were elected for the first time to District 5 delegate seats.

The district gained a third seat as a result of redistricting in 1991.

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