Central committee names board member Group must select candidate to replace Young in state Senate

January 28, 1998|By Dennis O'Brien | Dennis O'Brien,SUN STAFF

The 44th Legislative District's Democratic Central Committee appointed a retired community activist to its board last night and scheduled a forum to interview candidates to replace former state Sen. Larry Young.

The committee named Lee Douglas Jr., a retired Bethlehem Steel Corp. shipyard worker and East Baltimore activist, to its fifth seat as a step toward appointing a successor to Young.

Young was expelled from the Maryland Senate on Jan. 16 after the General Assembly's Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics found that as chairman of a powerful health care subcommittee, he used his position to benefit himself and his private businesses.

The 44th's central committee, which must appoint a replacement for Young within 30 days of his expulsion, met last night at Total Health Care in the 1500 block of Division St. to fill a vacancy on its five-member board created in September 1996 with the resignation of Carmena F. Watson.

Watson resigned to take Rep. Elijah E. Cummings' seat in Maryland House of Delegates. The committee must have five members to name a replacement, state officials said.

"If they don't have a fifth member and then appoint a senator within 30 days, the Maryland Constitution says that the governor can step in and appoint someone for us," state Del. Clarence Mitchell IV told the crowd of about 50 people.

T. Michael Scales, committee chairman, said the group plans to hold a public meeting at Total Health Care on Feb. 10 to consider candidates to replace Young.

Scales asked those interested to submit resumes by Feb. 3 so that the committee can review them before the meeting. He said that in the next few days he will provide an address to which applicants can mail their resumes.

Scales told the crowd the decision on Young's replacement has to be made carefully but quickly because the legislature is in session.

Douglas, 72, is a Democratic activist who served in the Marines in World War II and worked at Bethlehem Steel from 1946 to 1961.

He said that he was an administrator for the federally funded Model Cities program in Baltimore in the late 1960s. He also said he has worked on voter registration drives and Democratic political campaigns over the years.

Douglas was selected over five other applicants after the candidates gave brief presentations of their credentials and answered questions from the committee.

Douglas acknowledged that he is unsure if he will run for the unpaid central committee post when the seat opens up in September.

But he won over the committee -- and the crowd -- when he described what he considers important in an elected official.

"I want to feel that the person cares about me," Douglas said. "When he gets so high and mighty that when you go to see him it's like, 'What do you seek of me?' We don't need that in our elected officials."

Pub Date: 1/28/98

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