Mayor, 4 on council challenged in Sykesville elections May 1

Plans for revitalization depend on return of incumbents, they say

March 27, 2001|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

Six residents are challenging four incumbents for seats on the Sykesville Town Council, and the mayor faces a challenger in the town's elections May 1 after all candidates for elective office declared their intentions at a council meeting last night.

"This is a great town, and I like being part of it," said Mayor Jonathan S. Herman, who is seeking a third term. "We are all going to try to run together. There are so many things going on that we want to finish."

Ted Campbell, a self-employed contractor, will run against Herman. "I am looking forward to bringing issues up for public debate," Campbell said.

Council incumbents Jeanie Nichols, Russ Vreeland, Debby Ellis and Eugene Johnson are seeking re-election.

Connie Higgins, Kathleen Hider, Garth Adams, Frank Robert, Brian Beck and Maxine Wooleyhand will challenge them. Higgins lost in a close council race two years ago. Wooleyhand unsuccessfully challenged Herman in 1995 and also has sought county office.

The incumbent council has worked for months on plans to revitalize downtown and restore the Warfield Complex, a 130-acre property where the town hopes to create a business and academic center.

"There are so many things I like being part of, and I want to be part of getting them done," said Nichols, vying for her first full four-year term after she ran for a two-year term. "If we don't get everyone back, it could be difficult, especially if there are philosophical differences. The next four years are critical with projects in the works. We should keep the same team."

The incumbents have said they will devise a strategy and campaign door to door, trying to meet nearly 2,000 registered voters.

"We all believe in each other," Nichols said. "It is important to all of us to be re-elected and to bring back the people we have been working with."

Ellis said she expected challengers and a hard-fought campaign.

"There are more people with strong feelings on the issues, but it shows there are more people who want to be involved in the decisions that affect them," said Ellis, who is seeking a second term.

Adams, who served on the council several years ago, said, "A lot of people running means a lot of people are interested. I think we'll have a record turnout."

At 64, Johnson, the council president, is the voice of experience on the council. He has said he would like to retire from municipal politics but has opted for a fourth term for the reasons his colleagues have stated and another, more personal one. Johnson is the only African-American holding town office and one of the few black elected officials in Carroll County.

"Diversity on the council is important to me," Johnson said. "There are very few African-Americans holding office anywhere in Carroll County."

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