4 years later, it's a different inaugural

No doubts or sentiment as Glendening takes oath

January 20, 1999|By Michael Dresser | Michael Dresser,SUN STAFF

When Parris N. Glendening takes the oath of office as governor of Maryland today, there will be some noteworthy differences from his first inaugural four years ago.

There will be no lingering doubts about the results of the election. There will be no "Wind Beneath My Wings," the sentimental ballad that prompted snickers in 1995. For the first time in more than a half-century, Louis L. Goldstein will not attend the inauguration. And a new chief judge, whose appointment was a milestone in Maryland history, will administer the oath.

If weather forecasts are accurate, the weather will be improved. In 1995, Glendening was inaugurated on a cold, rainy Jan. 18. This year, Inauguration Day temperatures could creep into the mid-50s; no rain is expected.

For the most part, the inaugural will proceed in a manner prescribed by Annapolis tradition.

Unfortunately for motorists, one of those traditions is a horrendous traffic tie-up. Transportation officials predicted heavy traffic on highways leading into Annapolis, and many roads in the city will be closed for much of the day.

The ceremonies begin at 11 a.m., when Glendening and Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend leave Government House and cross State Circle to reach the State House. They will wind their way through the ranks of white-gloved State Police officers to the historic front entrance -- used by George Washington in 1783 when he came to Annapolis to resign his commission.

Entering the State House, they will cross the Rotunda beneath the massive dome and ascend the marble staircase to the second-floor Reception Room.

William Donald Schaefer will be there again. But instead of playing the role of outgoing governor, Schaefer will attend as an ex-governor and the incoming state comptroller. Goldstein died in July at age 85 after four decades as comptroller.

At 11: 40, the governor's party will descend the staircase and make its way to the Senate chamber where, at noon, Townsend will take the oath of office.

Lt. Gen. James F. Fretterd, commander of the Maryland National Guard, will then announce the governor. Chief Judge Robert Bell, whose 1996 appointment by Glendening fulfilled a long-held dream of African-Americans, will administer the oath before a packed house of senators, delegates and other guests.

Unlike four years ago, Glendening will take the oath with no shadow over his victory. His first inaugural came only two days after Ellen R. Sauerbrey dropped her court challenge to his 5,993-vote victory without conceding defeat. This year, with 55 percent of the vote in his column, Glendening's title is undisputed.

After the ceremony, the governor will proceed to a stage constructed over the steps on the newer side of the State House, overlooking Lawyers Mall.

Michelle Byrnie, Glendening's deputy press secretary, said his inaugural address will focus on his "vision for the 21st century" and leave policy details for tomorrow's State of the State address.

While the governor appears just as fond of first lady Frances Hughes Glendening as he was four years ago, there are no plans to serenade her with "Wind Beneath My Wings" again, Byrnie said.

The inauguration ceremony will be covered live on Maryland Public Television starting at noon. It also will be carried on the Internet at www.gov.state.md.us

Pub Date: 1/20/99

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