Proposal to reach out to independent votersAs a...


May 02, 1999

A GOP proposal to reach out to independent voters

As a two-time Republican nominee for governor, I thought it important to share my views on a proposal that would allow independent voters to participate in Maryland's Republican presidential primary next March.

If adopted by the State Central Committee at the party's May convention, this proposal would be implemented on a trial basis for the March 2000 primary. Its goal is to expand the party and broaden our appeal to the growing number of Marylanders who are unwilling to affiliate with a political party.

I am proud to say that I won Maryland's independent vote in last November's gubernatorial election, according to exit polls analyzed by pollster Glen Bolger. This proved to me that independent voters are increasingly rejecting Maryland's Democratic Party.

It also suports our view that Maryland is becoming an increasingly Republican state. Voter registration numbers continue to move in a Republican direction. However, the number of independent voters is also increasing, especially in the state's fastest growing areas.

Maryland Republicans cannot afford to take independents, or any voters, for granted. This proposal would be a first step in encouraging them to feel welcome in our party.

I believe that if we give people a chance to vote for the Republican of their choice in the primary, they will likely vote Republican again.

To advance GOP goals, we must elect more Republicans in Maryland. That requires reaching out to those who share our beliefs but have not thought of themselves as Republicans or, in this case, to independents who have elected not to join the Democratic Party.

Ellen R. Sauerbrey


The writer is a Republican National Committee member and former Republican nominee for governor of Maryland.

Kosovo strategy deemed a disgraceful failure

Congratulations to President Bill Clinton and NATO for bombing a television station in Belgrade and killing a few young employees ("Survivors decry strike on Serbian TV," April 24). As if to emphasize the mindlessness of this bombing, the station returned to the air within six hours.

Thus far our strategy in Yugoslavia has succeeded in accelerating the flight of Albanians from Kosovo, solidifying Serbian support for Slobodan Milosevic, alienating the Russians, killing many innocent civilians on both sides and squandering billions of dollars in weaponry.

Our leaders and the direction they have chosen are a disgrace.

Alan V. Abrams


Logistics, not racism, kept us out of Rwanda

Although I am personally opposed to the NATO intervention in Kosovo, I take issue with Paul Delaney's argument ("Race colors west's rush to help Kosovo refugees," Opinion Commentary, April 25) that race played a role in the decision to intervene there but not in Rwanda.

Although Albania may be less than an ideal staging ground for an eventual invasion of Kosovo, from a tactical and logistical standpoint the situation there is vastly superior to the one in East Africa. Distances from bases to the military targets are shorter and the geography is more favorable.

The geography of land locked Rwanda indeed creates enormous obstacles to military intervention there. That region's infrastructure is poor by comparison with Europe's -- there are few permanent roads and no navigable waterways.

The hard truth is that, given the amount of time it would have taken to build a credible force in Africa, there was little we could have been done to prevent the massacres in Rwanda.

Also, Kosovo is in Europe and NATO is a European alliance. African countries could have intervened in Rwanda (Morocco and South Africa come to mind), but chose not to. Could they know something about the geography of Africa that Mr. Delaney has overlooked?

John Louis Busch


In search of a safe place to live

Judy Kinshaw-Ellis' letter, "To avoid farm chemicals, don't buy near farms," April 25) has the solution to the conflict between farmers who use chemicals and concerned parents: Don't live near farms. I certainly agree, so we'll find a place to live that's at least 20 miles from a farm.

And we want pollution-free air to breathe, so we'll find a place that's not downwind from any urban center or coal-burning plant or industrial facilities. (This pretty much eliminates the United States' East Coast as a place to live.)

And we want clean water, so we'll find a place miles from anyone who uses chemical fertilizers or pesticides on a lawn, any of which might pollute our well.

And we like to walk in a warm summer rain, so we'll have to stay at least 3,000 miles from any pesticide-sprayed crops because Swiss scientists have shown recently that pesticides evaporate, are absorbed by clouds, and return to Earth in rainwater at dangerous levels.

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