Preis and Fry for state Senate Sun endorsements: For Harford's House seats, James, Boutin, Walter in 34

Parrott, Glassman in 35.

October 13, 1998

THE RACE in Harford County attracting the most attention beyond the county is for state Senate in District 34 between two delegates, Democrat Mary Louise Preis and Republican Nancy Jacobs. Case in point: Last month, fresh from engineering the defeat of a moderate colleague who favored a woman's right to choose an abortion, conservative Republican Sen. Larry E. Haines of Carroll County told a reporter his next goal was to help elect GOP gubernatorial candidate Ellen R. Sauerbrey -- and Ms. Jacobs.

Ms. Jacobs, described as a darling of the religious right, made a name for herself in Annapolis almost overnight. Her ideological stands, however, seem more suited to Newt Gingrich's Congress than the Maryland legislature.

She is the candidate most likely to inject religion where it does not belong. "We share a strong burden to see the Lord be given His rightful position of authority over the lives of not only our families but of our country as well," said a newsletter for a conservative group she led before her first campaign in 1994.

Her efforts to make Maryland a right-to-work state may reflect a ++ national GOP agenda but dishonors the union roots of Harford countians whose fathers and grandfathers worked in Baltimore County factories. When "smart growth," a strategy to curtail sprawl that eats at Harford and other Maryland counties, passed the House 131-8, she was one of the eight against. She sought to require phonics in public schools, an effort that failed, thankfully, since lawmakers have no business tying educators' hands.

If any legislator could make reading policy, it's Ms. Preis, a former English teacher with a master's degree in linguistics. But she resists the "quick fix." She helped craft complex reform in the courts and health care. She's no soft touch on crime either, seeking to open juvenile court proceedings to public scrutiny. Ms. Preis is Harford's best choice for Senate.

For the three House seats in District 34, we favor Mary-Dulany James, daughter of William S. James, a former state treasurer and Senate president; fellow Democrat Robin Walter, a nurse and lobbyist conversant in health care and state government, and Republican Charles R. Boutin, the energetic mayor of Aberdeen.

In District 35, which straddles northern Harford and Cecil counties, Democrat Donald C. Fry seeks to retain the Senate seat to which he was appointed after William H. Amoss' death a year ago. He's a solid lawmaker who has been active in long-range transportation planning. His Republican opponent, former county Councilman J. Robert Hooper, lacks a broad perspective. He seems to view most problems through the narrow prism of his successful trash disposal business.

For Harford's two House seats in District 35A, Republicans Barry Glassman and Joanne S. Parrott get our support because of the dedication they've shown as county council members. Democratic incumbent Michael G. Comeau, appointed last year to fill Mr. Fry's seat when he moved to the Senate, cast a troubling vote that helped bury a bill against drunken driving.

Tomorrow: Districts 6, 7 and 8

Pub Date: 10/13/98

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