PICK UP a copy of "A Vision for Maryland's Future," the 50-page blueprint Parris N. Glendening produced when he campaigned for governor in 1994. It sets forth an ambitious and progressive agenda.
To a remarkable degree, Governor Glendening has lived up to those promises.
What you see is what you get with Mr. Glendening. He laid out clear goals, then followed through. This impressive accomplishment is one reason The Sun gives its support to Mr. Glendening in the Democratic primary.
The field is weak. His most formidable foe, Harford County Executive Eileen M. Rehrmann, bowed out for lack of money. But there was another reason: Ms. Rehrmann never made a strong enough case against Mr. Glendening.
The governor is not a warm and fuzzy politician. Mr. Glendening strikes many as too much of a "policy wonk." Some politicians say he doesn't always keep his word and is overtly political. Yet Mr. Glendening has managed to work with many of those same politicians to win passage of his initiatives.
After some initial stumbles, Mr. Glendening proved an able administrator and fiscal manager. When Maryland was in a recession, the new governor made tough budget decisions and curbed new spending. That same frugality helped generate large budget surpluses the past two years as the state economy rebounded.
Only after Maryland's budget shifted soundly into the black did the governor expand social programs and propose a modest income-tax cut. He took a cautious, incremental approach, making sure the state could afford the loss of revenue.
He also wisely used surplus funds to boost school construction. The governor gave special emphasis and aid to the worst-performing school systems in Baltimore City and Prince George's County. He penciled in higher education for special treatment, too.
Mr. Glendening promised diversity in his administration and has greatly increased the number of minorities and women in state government. He also stood by his pledge to enact tougher handgun laws.
There are areas where we disagree with the governor: His inexcusable reversal on the Intercounty Connector that would link Montgomery County commerce to BWI Airport and the Baltimore region; his executive order giving state workers collective bargaining rights; his on-again, off-again promotion of economic development.
But on the whole, Mr. Glendening has performed reasonably well. He is single-minded and sincere in his concern for bettering the lives of Marylanders. He has earned the right to seek a second term as governor.
Pub Date: 8/23/98