Republicans have 4 finalists for Towson delegate seat

Appointee likely to run for term in 2002 election

November 19, 2001|By Andrew A. Green | Andrew A. Green,SUN STAFF

Baltimore County Republicans have picked four finalists to fill Towson's seat in the House of Delegates, left vacant in August when Del. James M. Kelly took a job with the Bush administration.

Kelly's wife, Melissa, now holds the seat, but county Republicans plan for her to resign and be replaced for next year's legislative session by someone they choose after soliciting applications, reviewing resumes and conducting interviews.

The finalists are Corinne D. Becker, 41, a county government employee and community activist, and three lawyers: Edwin S. MacVaugh, 46, who ran against Kelly in the 1994 primary; Emil B. Pielke, 59, who has worked on many Republican campaigns; and Francis A. Pommett III, 32, who moved to Essex to run for the House of Delegates four years ago and moved back to Towson after he learned of the vacant seat.

County Republicans expect redistricting to carve up the district in favor of Democrats, but central committee members are looking for someone who will run for the seat in 2002 and who would be willing to move to do it, if necessary.

Of the four finalists, Pielke has the strongest pedigree in the party. He worked on his first campaign as a law student in 1968 and has worked with the central committee since that time, stopping only when he was on active duty in the Air Force.

He said his main interests would be working on the state budget to control spending and deal with declining revenues. He's also interested in transportation issues, particularly in widening the Baltimore Beltway and improving public transit and the rail system.

Becker has the strongest record of community involvement - most recently as a vocal opponent of jail expansion in Towson - but admits she has little experience in state-level issues.

A lifelong Towson resident, she said her work with community groups has made her aware of residents' needs and helped her establish strong working relationships with elected and appointed officials. As for state issues, she said that she's a quick learner and that her experience in county government would help her navigate the state's bureaucracy.

MacVaugh could not be reached for comment, but in his interview with the central committee he said he is interested in making sure the business community has a strong connection to Annapolis, serving his constituents and encouraging economic development.

He said the three most important state-level issues are the economy, health care and the environment.

Pommett, who has moved twice to be eligible for House seats, pointed out that he lived in Towson before moving to Essex and that he is familiar with the community from his work.

If selected, his priority would be to cut off state funding for the expansion of the Baltimore County jail. He said he would also like to work on increasing security against terrorism.

The candidates have been asked to attend a reception at the state party convention at the Sheraton Baltimore North in Towson on Dec. 7, said Michelle Duffy Orr, chairwoman of the county central committee.

The timetable for choosing a delegate is not set.

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