DeGrange for Senate in 32nd Sun endorsements: For three House seats, we favor Love and return of Sophocleus and Sulin.

October 15, 1998

LAST ELECTION, C. Edward Middlebrooks, then an Anne Arundel County councilman, challenged and defeated Sen. Michael J. Wagner in the 32nd Legislative District. Four years later, Mr. Middlebrooks finds himself in the same position -- as an incumbent senator fending off a challenge from a county councilman, James E. DeGrange Sr.

Mr. Middlebrooks, a Democrat turned Republican, reflects the sentiments of the conservative-leaning district. Residents want lower taxes, less-crowded schools and stronger laws against criminals of all ages. Many also oppose more growth around Baltimore-Washington International Airport, in spite of the economic benefit to the state, because of the jet noise and disruption to their communities. Many likewise decry state plans to double-track the light rail line and extend it closer to Glen Burnie.

Given these sentiments, it is politically easy to oppose many legislative initiatives that could benefit the district and Maryland. To a large extent, that's how Mr. Middlebrooks behaved in his first term. In a Democratic-majority legislature, that behavior was not rewarded. Had Mr. Middlebrooks been more accommodating, he might have had more influence securing state funds for the county.

Judging from his council record, Mr. DeGrange is more willing to weigh the merits of tough issues. For example, he voted against extending a building moratorium on Mountain Road. He was unconvinced that the action would be effective, even knowing it would benefit him politically. Fellow legislators recognize such courage -- and reward it. Mr. DeGrange's experience and temperament would aid the county. We endorse him for the Senate.

For delegate, we endorse Del. Mary Ann Love, Theodore J. Sophocleus and Victor A. Sulin. Again, we believe their style of legislating will be more productive.

Two of the incumbents up for re-election, Republicans Michael W. Burns and James E. Rzepkowski, took doctrinaire stands on issues -- for example, voting against bond issues for other jurisdictions that are typically approved out of courtesy for local governance. As a result, neither was effective in his first term.

Ms. Love, a moderate Democrat, has represented the district well, particularly on issues affecting the elderly. Mr. Sulin and Mr. Sophocleus also have legislative records of accomplishment. When Mr. Sulin chaired the county delegation from 1990-1994, Anne Arundel was effective in getting legislation through the General Assembly. He was defeated in a GOP sweep in 1994. Mr. Sophocleus, a former county councilman, did a solid job as a delegate in 1993-1994 after he was appointed to fill a vacancy.

Tomorrow: 33rd District

Pub Date: 10/15/98

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