Election might thaw interstate relationship

The Political Game

Governors: Virginia's new leader is a Democrat, which could make for renewed cordiality between Maryland and the commonwealth.

November 13, 2001|By David Nitkin and Howard Libit | David Nitkin and Howard Libit,SUN STAFF

GOV. PARRIS N. Glendening will have a pal across the Potomac for his final year in office.

Last week's win by Mark R. Warner in the Virginia governor's race means Democrats will control the executive branches of both states for the first time since 1994. That should translate into greater communication on environmental and transportation issues, among others.

"I believe that neighbors ought to be friendly," Glendening said in an interview last week. "There are many issues that Virginia and Maryland must cooperate on."

During the past seven years, relations along the Chesapeake have been strained because of policy differences between chief executives. Glendening is regarded as one of the nation's most liberal governors, and the administrations of Republicans George F. Allen and James S. Gilmore III (Virginia governors are limited to one term) have been among the most conservative.

Glendening said the new era of cooperation was evident on Election Night, when he placed a congratulatory call to Warner and was treated to a brief discussion of issues facing the two states.

"He started talking substantive issues with me," Glendening said. "We had a conversation during which we focused on subway transit in the Washington metropolitan area. ... We talked about environmental needs - not only about sprawl, but about protecting the Chesapeake Bay and coastal bays. We talked about the economy.

"I've got to tell you, I was really impressed," Glendening said. "Here's a man who spent four years working for governor, who won a huge victory. ... I called him and he started talking substantive policy. To me, that was exciting."

A day after the election, Glendening appeared at a Washington news conference with Terry McAuliffe, chairman of the Democratic National Committee. Democrats have won 12 of the past 16 governor's races, McAuliffe said. The national party spent $1.3 million in Virginia and $4.6 million in New Jersey, where Gov.-elect James E. McGreevey is a Democrat.

It will be up to Glendening to keep the streak alive. He is incoming chairman of the Democratic Governors' Association and has vowed to raise $30 million to assist his party's efforts to win the 36 governor's seats that will be filled next year. Republican governors outnumber Democrats 29-19. Two governors are independents.

Democratic Welcome Wagon paid Hogan a nice visit

State Sen. Patrick J. Hogan learned that it pays to be a Democrat in Maryland.

The Montgomery County Democrat - who was elected as a Republican in 1998 and switched parties just before the start of the 2001 session - was rewarded for his political change of heart by Maryland's legislative leadership.

In the campaign finance report Hogan filed last week, he reported a $1,000 donation from House Speaker Casper R. Taylor Jr. and a $6,000 donation from funds controlled by Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller.

"They were happy with my decision and wanted to support me for it," Hogan said. "I want to emphasize that the money came after - not before - my decision."

Women's award ceremony borrows Townsend's name

Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend has never been elected on her own. Her lone solo bid for office - an unsuccessful run for Congress in 1986 - was the first general election defeat ever for a member of the Kennedy clan.

Although she has worked in the State Department of Education and as a deputy assistant U.S. attorney general - not to mention seven years as lieutenant governor - some Marylanders view her as largely untested.

But not everyone. Townsend's record has impressed Maryland Women for Responsive Government, which meets tonight for an awards ceremony.

The 16 women who will be honored at Towson University will receive the Kathleen Kennedy Townsend Award of Excellence to Outstanding Women in Government Service.

Helen Dale, the group's founder, said the awards are given every two years. Since 1997, Townsend's third year in office, they have been named for the lieutenant governor.

Dale noted that in years when the Townsend award is not given, her group honors women ages 21 to 35 who show promise. What do they get? The Frances Hughes Glendening 21st Century Leadership Development Project Award, named for Maryland's first lady.

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