Gray's day

National post: Howard councilman's rise to head of county trade group benefits voters at home.

July 24, 1999

IN C. VERNON GRAY'S Howard County, officials are wrestling with Smart Growth, economic development, the Y2K bug, farm preservation, improving education and fighting crime.

As they are in Lake County, Ill.

And Johnson County, Kan.

And Leon County, Fla., too.

Mr. Gray's elevation last week to the presidency of the National Association of Counties is valuable because the problems that counfront Howard County, where he's in his fifth term on the council, aren't unique.

Mr. Gray's part-time appointment may presage a trade-group trifecta in Maryland government. Gov. Parris N. Glendening, a former NACO president, has expressed interest in running for chairman of the National Governors Association next month. And Prince George's County Executive Wayne Curry is in line to lead the County Executives of America.

Show us a politician who doesn't think he can learn from others, or who responds to every problem by trying to reinvent the wheel, and we'll show you an ineffectual representative.

Mr. Gray obviously gains personally by his rise in NACO, but anyone who has followed the councilman's 17-year career knows he is driven by serving constituents, not by the prospect of sharing a dias with President Clinton.

One can sometimes disagree with the Columbia Democrat's political philosophy, but the value of gathering information and making contacts is undeniable.

Pub Date: 7/24/99

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