Democrats praise Glendening record

October 17, 1998|By JoAnna Daemmrich

Maryland's U.S. senators and a congressman laud Gov. Parris N. Glendening in a new television commercial airing in Western Maryland and on the Eastern Shore, courtesy of the state's Democratic Party.

What the ad says: Sen. Paul S. Sarbanes introduces Glendening as a decisive leader who moved to protect the Chesapeake Bay after last year's outbreak of a fish-killing microbe. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski calls the Democratic governor "a fighter" who created the "toughest standards in the nation" for public schools, and Rep. Albert R. Wynn of Prince George's County says the state gained 150,000 jobs during Glendening's tenure. Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy concludes that "Maryland is a much better place today than it was four years ago."

The facts: After the Pfiesteria outbreak, Glendening led the effort for new pollution controls. The legislature, at his urging, passed a bill this spring requiring Maryland farmers to reduce nutrient pollution -- which scientists have linked to toxic outbreaks of the Pfiesteria microbe.

Glendening initially had misgivings about the Maryland School Performance Assessment Program, the yearly ranking of school achievement, but has since become an ardent supporter. Maryland's school reform effort has been nationally acclaimed. But the Democratic Party has no conclusive proof that the state has the most rigorous standards nationwide, other than several newspaper articles describing Maryland's program as pioneering. Referring to the MSPAP results, the ad claims that "test scores are up 10 percent." That's true since 1993, but MSPAP scores increased just 2.2 percent since 1995, when Glendening took office.

Maryland's Office of Business and Economic Research says 123,000 jobs were created during the first three years of the Glendening administration and predicts 150,000 by year's end. But some critics argue job growth could be greater if Maryland had less regulation and a better prepared work force. Republican Ellen R. Sauerbrey frequently notes the faster pace in neighboring Virginia.

Perhaps most subjective is Townsend's assertion that Maryland is better off today than four years ago. The state's economy continues to be robust, crime has fallen, and the income tax rate has been lowered. For all the gains, however, 10 percent of Marylanders live in poverty, including as many as one in seven children.

Analysis: Produced for the Democratic Party by Glendening's ad consultant, the commercial features upbeat and fast-moving footage. The claims are essentially true, but some are exaggerated. Still, the ad shows a united front in support of Glendening by several of Maryland's best-known Democrats. A highlight is Mikulski's energetic praise for Glendening -- who needs all the allies he can get in his tight re-election battle against Sauerbrey.

Pub Date: 10/16/98

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