Ecker for governor in Republican primary Sun endorsement: Howard County executive has experience, dependability, intelligence to lead.

Campaign 1998

August 23, 1998


A box Sunday omitted the name of a Democratic candidate for governor, Eileen M. Rehrmann. Though she has suspended her campaign, her name remains on the Sept. 15 ballot.

Pub Date: 8/25/98

CHARLES I. Ecker is a low-key personality who does not command the spotlight. You cannot count on him for explosive sound bites or for headline-grabbing radical policies.

It is even more difficult to spot the Howard County executive as he campaigns for the Republican Ecker gubernatorial nomination when his opponent is everywhere, working tirelessly to lock up her party's nod.

But Mr. Ecker should not be overlooked. The two-term executive has provided stability and predictability to his fast-growing, increasingly sophisticated jurisdiction at the heart of the Baltimore-Washington megalopolis.

Republicans would do well to hitch their wagon to this self-described "workhorse" who plots a smooth, predictable course. Anyone looking at Mr. Ecker will find someone who is dependable, honest, fair, intelligent and responsible. He is a fiscal conservative who cares about people -- the rich, the poor and middle class.

He is a truly decent man, whose character is greatly admired by his counterparts in neighboring jurisdictions. He has experience running a government, and has worked well with Democratic and Republican legislators.

He listens to constituents and gives them straight answers. He is a longtime school system administrator who understands and is attentive to education needs.

His candidacy would be good for business and job growth at a time when Maryland's economic development fortunes are a major concern. As executive, Mr. Ecker has streamlined Howard County's permitting process to make it more attractive to business.

His administration worked to keep the aerospace giant AlliedSignal in Columbia and has nurtured other high-tech firms that bring the jobs of the future.

The state's finances would be in good hands under Mr. Ecker. His county administration is among the most fiscally prudent in Maryland, and his approach would be good for the state.

His primary opponent, Ellen R. Sauerbrey, would use part of the state's one-time surplus for an on-going tax cut for the growing elderly population, a move that could haunt Maryland in an economic downturn.

Mr. Ecker is more cautious. Under his leadership, Howard became the first jurisdiction in Maryland to require that revenue surpluses be used only for one-time expenditures. That is sound, conservative fiscal policy.

It also points up one of Ms. Sauerbrey's strongest negatives: her lack of administrative experience. That, coupled with her demonstrated inability to work with Democrats, argue against her nomination -- despite her sincerity, integrity and 16 years as a state delegate.

An Ecker administration would run like a reliable family sedan. It would not be flashy, but it would be safe and steady. The people of Maryland would have a governor with vast administrative and managerial experience -- an essential skill for someone running a vast bureaucracy. He understands the importance of fostering emerging businesses in a conservative fiscal environment that still remains attuned to the needs of citizens.

We enthusiastically recommend Charles I. Ecker for the

Republican nomination for governor.


Candidates: Democrats are Lawrence K. Freeman, Parris N. Glendening and Terrence McGuire. Republicans are Charles I. Ecker and Ellen R. Sauerbrey.

Data: 1994 primary turnout: 42 percent of Democrats and 37 percent of Republicans; Salary: $120,000; Term: four years.

The challenge: How best to improve education in public schools and universities; to make Maryland more business-friendly; to protect the health of Chesapeake Bay, and to support local law-enforcement.

Pub date: 8/23/98

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