GOP candidate emerges from behind the scenes With party experience, Frazier is in her first race

Campaign 1998

October 20, 1998|By John Murphy | John Murphy,SUN STAFF

A potluck dinner of homemade main dishes, salads and desserts drew Robin Bartlett Frazier into Republican Party politics.

"They pulled us in with food," Frazier said, recalling how as a teen-ager she attended her first meeting of the Tri-District Republican Club on a date with her future husband, Donald C. Frazier.

But she left with more than a full stomach. Frazier developed an appetite for conservative Republican politics.

She volunteered for the party, twice becoming a delegate to the Maryland State Republican Convention. She worked on the campaigns of local state representatives, congressmen and commissioners. In 1990, she served on the Carroll County Republican Central Committee.

In 1994, she was appointed to the Carroll County Planning and Zoning Commission.

This year, Frazier's hunger for promoting her conservative agenda of smaller government and fewer taxes prompted her to make her first bid for elected public office.

"It was my turn to be the candidate," said Frazier.

The 38-year-old mother of three has raised almost $14,000, more money than her competitors. In the Republican primary, she emerged from 13 GOP candidates, receiving the second-highest number of votes after former Commissioner Julia Walsh Gouge.

Part of her success in raising money, she said, results from her modest fund-raisers -- "friend-raisers," she calls them. Two summer picnics, for which she charged $5 per person, attracted more than 550 supporters.

She also received endorsements from senior GOP leaders, state Sen. Larry E. Haines and 6th District U.S. Rep. Roscoe G. Bartlett.

Haines said he usually doesn't endorse candidates in local races but that in Frazier he found a candidate with "high moral principles" who could work well with the state delegation.

"I feel very strongly that Robin will be an effective and strong leader," Haines said.

In recent candidate forums, Frazier has presented herself as the strong conservative candidate, morally and fiscally.

Frazier said her most important goal in office would be encouraging the commissioners to work as a team, something the current board has been unable to do.

"I believe Donald, Julia and I could work well together," she said, referring to the other two Republican candidates, incumbent Donald I. Dell and Gouge. "I'd be able to say I disagree, but it wouldn't affect the next decision."

When the commissioners can move beyond political divisions, a priority list can be completed, Frazier said. At the top of her list is expanding the industrial base, reducing traffic congestion and preserving a family-friendly county.

"The first thing we need to do is make it better for the businesses we already have," she said.

She said she plans to investigate ways to reduce the tax burden on companies, which would require working with the state delegation.

While other candidates have focused on growth control, Frazier has said the county government should do a better job accommodating the demand for growth by building roads and schools.

Frazier said growth is controlled through the county's planning and zoning regulations, which encourage growth in developed areas. But she said the government has failed to prepare for the growth.

"The government's job is to produce adequate facilities," she said. "The government has not done its job."

Before resigning from the planning commission, Frazier voted for various aspects of the county's new master plan. But in a recent candidate forum, she criticized the proposed plan as a "book on 50 ways to raise your taxes and increase staff."

Frazier has volunteered at the Manchester Baptist Church, where she has led the Girl Scouts and other youth groups. She also sings in a gospel quartet.

Though the election has taken time away from fostering youth and family, she said her campaign has allowed her to promote family values to a wider audience.

"We need to promote family values because family is the root of all communities," she said.

Robin Bartlett Frazier

Age: 38

Residence: Manchester

Family: Married to Donald C. Frazier; three daughters

Occupation: Homemaker; former student loan administrator, commercial credit analyst and mortgage loan officer

Education: Westminster High School; courses in finance at the Johns Hopkins University

Political background: Elected to Republican Central Committee, 1990. Appointed to Carroll County Planning and Zoning Commission, 1994 (resigned in April 1998 to run for commissioner)

Pub Date: 10/20/98

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