Perry expected to start race for 7th District council seat

Harwood farmer is 1st on Democratic ballot

September 16, 2001|By Lynn Anderson | Lynn Anderson,SUN STAFF

One of the first to throw his hat in the ring for the Anne Arundel County Council, South County resident and tree farmer Peter M. Perry is expected to announce his candidacy for the 7th District seat at a reception in Harwood today.

Perry, who served on the Small Area Planning Committee that created a long-term development map for South County, is a Democrat and longtime resident of Harwood.

He is president of the South County Coalition, a collection of civic and neighborhood groups, and has worked to preserve and protect the Jug Bay Wetlands Sanctuary.

Perry, 60, could face at least one opponent in the September 2002 primary. Former Department of Recreation and Parks Director Bill Rinehart, also a Democrat, has said he might run for the council seat. Rinehart could not be reached for comment Friday.

Republican candidates in the 7th District could include Dirk Haire, a Crofton lawyer who has worked on Capitol Hill; David E. Wayson, owner of a State Farm insurance agency in Dunkirk; and Ed Reilly, owner of Reilly Insurance Agency in Crofton.

Haire was not available for comment Friday, but Republican Councilman John J. Klocko III, who has represented the 7th District for the last eight years, said Haire will pursue the GOP nomination.

Wayson and Reilly also have not officially entered the race.

Reilly said Friday that he is weighing his options and considering a run for the General Assembly.

"All my options are open," said Reilly, 51. "But I won't run against a Republican incumbent."

Wayson, 58, said he is simply undecided.

"Several people have come to me and suggested that I run, but I haven't made a firm decision," said Wayson, who is a member of the county's Republican Central Committee. "But I am leaning toward it."

Although the primary is about a year away, Perry said, he was advised by state Del. Virginia P. Clagett, who has endorsed him, to make his candidacy official.

"I trust her wisdom, and that is what she said," Perry said.

The filing deadline is July 1. The primary will be Sept. 10, and the election Nov. 5, 2002.

Every seat on the seven-member council is up for re-election.

All council members - except Klocko, who can't run because of term limits - have expressed interest in running again.

County Executive Janet S. Owens, who is a Democrat, is also expected to run for a second term. Her husband and campaign manager, Baltimore lawyer David M. Sheehan, has organized several fund-raisers recently.

Owens could face competition in the primary from County Sheriff George Johnson, but the popular law enforcement official has been coy about making an official bid.

Perry, who is a retired astrophysicist, said Friday that he wants to talk to and gain insight from as many residents as possible about what they want from county government.

He said he has heard from residents in Crofton who say they want their own high school. Children now attend Arundel and South River high schools.

"If there's a will, there's a way," Perry said. "And we will put a high school there if that is what people want."

Perry said he is gathering information from residents to create a legislative agenda that constituents will be able to track for progress.

"I have always felt that people are willing to talk if you are willing to listen," Perry said.

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