Gilchrest, Eastaugh in 1st District Primary endorsements: Republican a strong voice for environment

Democrat knows issues.

Campaign 1996

February 26, 1996

REP. WAYNE T. GILCHREST was considered something of an oddity when he was elected six years ago to represent Maryland's 1st District in Congress, which covers the Eastern Shore and the northern half of Anne Arundel, minus Pasadena. He was the quintessential Mr. Smith -- a "gee whiz" neophyte whose resume included house-painting and counting moose in the Idaho wilderness. Since then, "Mr. Smith" -- once a small-fry in a minority party -- has become a player in the majority party.

Mr. Gilchrest has emerged as the leader of a small but increasingly influential band of pro-environment Republicans on a mission to stop the party from gutting regulations that protect air, water and wildlife. Recently, he led a charge to defeat a GOP plan to void the Environmental Protection Agency's enforcement powers. He has personally schooled House Speaker Newt Gingrich on environmental issues and, surprisingly, found a sympathetic ear. He's preparing for a full-scale assault on GOP plans to weaken the Clean Water Act, a law of immense import to the Chesapeake Bay region he represents.

On fiscal issues, Mr. Gilchrest is conservative. On social issues, he's reasonable. Mr. Gilchrest is by far the best choice of six Republicans running in the March 5 primary.

On the Democratic side, two candidates stand out in the seven-member field: Steven R. Eastaugh of Worcester County and Janice Lynn Graham of Kent County.

Ms. Graham, 59, is a bed-and-breakfast owner with an impressive history of civic and political activism. A traditional Democrat, she accurately pinpoints job insecurity as a huge concern. She pledges to fight for jobs that pay a livable wage and a budget that's responsible but does not ignore those who need help most.

Mr. Eastaugh, 42, a professor at George Washington University, is a more conservative Democrat. He is our choice based on his thorough knowledge of national issues, particularly economics and health care. The author of several books on public policy, his positions are detailed and sensible; they involve a balancing of -- fiscal and social concerns. The deficit must be cut, but not at an inhumane cost, he says.

In the 1st District, The Sun endorses Rep. Wayne T. Gilchrest as the Republican nominee and Steven R. Eastaugh for the Democrats.

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