Marsha Perry's last stand Anne Arundel: Crofton delegate who isn't seeking fourth term was tireless advocate for environment.

August 06, 1998

HAVING DECIDED not to seek a fourth term in the 33rd District in western Anne Arundel County, Del. Marsha G. Perry illustrates the dilemma every lawmaker faces: He or she can be a tireless campaigner for a devoted cause, or yield to get legislation passed and assist his or her advance into the leadership in Annapolis.

Ms. Perry chose the former, less-traveled route. The Democratic delegate has been an unwavering advocate for the environment -- entirely appropriate considering her county has 432 miles of shoreline and more property abutting the Chesapeake Bay than any other jurisdiction.

Despite her hard-line stands, which run counter to the quick-to-compromise style in the House of Delegates, Ms. Perry was effective in translating advocacy into legislation. Among the Crofton resident's pet projects, rubble fills in Maryland now must have liners, and the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center contains 8,100 acres of surplus Fort Meade land.

Ms. Perry served her first two terms on the House Environmental Matters Committee, but then decided to leave the committee.

She would have been a natural for its vice chairmanship, but in 1994 the committee's orientation changed. Ms. Perry's pro-environment positions put her at odds with the group's majority.

Moreover, under House of Delegates' rules, committee members bTC are not allowed to criticize their chairmen or legislation generated out of their committees. By relinquishing her committee seat, she reasoned, she could still oppose committee legislation on the House floor.

Ms. Perry can leave the legislature with a clear conscience. Her constituents -- and other Marylanders -- benefited from her vigilance.

Pub Date: 8/06/98

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