Good Ol' Boys Still Reign

April 13, 1995

Good ol' boys are an endangered species in Anne Arundel County's legislative delegation, but those who remain still wield power.

Republican Sen. John A. Cade, the grand old man of the delegation and Senate minority leader, won appointment as chairman of a budget subcommittee, and the financial curmudgeon helped defeat an unwise and radical tax cut plan.

Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., whose district straddles Prince George's and Anne Arundel counties, was occupied with running his chamber and leading reform of P.G. pension plans. But he gave a hand to Anne Arundel when he overcame partisanship by picking Mr. Cade to run the budget subcommittee on health, education and human resources. He also unintentionally aided Laurel residents by endorsing a Prince George's site for the controversial Redskins football stadium.

Several county delegates also deserve special mention in the wake of the session that concluded at midnight Monday. Del. Michael Busch, an Annapolis Democrat, led the successful effort to reform title insurance laws. His running mate, Del. Virginia P. Clagett, a new delegate from West River, showed unusual courage in standing up to the powerful Mr. Cade and the majority of the delegation in a city-county cigarette tax dispute. Mrs. Clagett was able to persuade the House Commerce and Governmental Matters Committee that the legislature had no business getting involved in the local dispute.

Del. Phillip Bissett, an Edgewater Republican, did a commendable job in his first year as head of the county delegation. His tenure was marred in the end, however, when Annapolis officials blamed him for trying to rush through legislation nullifying their cigarette tax suit.

The youngsters of the delegation, James E. Rzepkowski and Victoria L. Schade, 23-year-old Republicans from Pasadena, exhibited an innocence that swung between refreshing and infuriating. So determined was Mr. Rzepkowski to be beholden to no one, he refunded $12.60 to lobbyist Bruce Bereano for a plastic name tag. Ms. Schade failed to understand that part of her job is to help win funds for worthy projects; she alone voted against the Glen Burnie Town Center revitalization. For better or worse, all of those were the delegation members who stood out this session.

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