Police endorse Smith for executive

County union announces picks in state, area races

July 01, 2002|By Andrew A. Green | Andrew A. Green,SUN STAFF

The Baltimore County police union has unveiled its slate of endorsements for several county and state races and is pledging to campaign hard for the candidates it is backing.

For county executive, the group is supporting Democrat James T. Smith Jr., a former Circuit Court judge from Reisterstown.

Cole B. Weston, president of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge No. 4, said that when Smith was a councilman in the late 1970s and early 1980s, he showed a willingness to vote for issues important to police and to take the lead in promoting them.

Smith also has been endorsed by Ironworkers Local No. 16, the Teachers Association of Baltimore County, the Baltimore County Professional Firefighters Association and a host of Democratic legislators.

The police union chose Smith over Republican Douglas B. Riley, an attorney and former councilman, despite Riley's pledge to work for legislation to allow officers to take patrol cars home. Neither candidate supports binding arbitration for police officers or firefighters, a provision both unions are seeking in a charter amendment on the November ballot.

In the 42nd District state Senate race, the union endorsed Democrat Jim Brochin of Towson. Weston said the union was impressed with Brochin's knowledge of Baltimore County issues, his commitment to law enforcement issues and his focus on reducing taxes.

Republican Del. Martha S. Klima, who has served parts of the district in her 23-year career, has also filed to run for the seat.

The union endorsed Councilman Vincent J. Gardina, a Perry Hall Democrat and former police officer, in the 7th District state Senate race. He faces Del. Diane DeCarlo and east-side community activist Jerry Hersl in the Democratic primary. Republican Sen. Andrew P. Harris is also running in that district.

In the County Council race in the 5th District, which runs from Towson to Perry Hall, the union is endorsing Councilman Wayne M. Skinner over Del. James F. Ports Jr., a fellow Republican.

In the 3rd Councilmanic District, which covers the north county, the group picked challenger Daniel E. McKew over Councilman T. Bryan McIntire for its endorsement. Both men are Republicans, though McKew ran for the House of Delegates as a Democrat in 1990 and 1994.

Weston said McIntire has worked well with the union, but members think McKew would be more accessible.

"Danny McKew is the guy for the future there," Weston said.

The union has not made an endorsement in the seven-person race in the new 4th District on the county's west side. Weston said the group hasn't had a chance to interview all the candidates.

The group has endorsed three candidates for the House of Delegates. In District 12A, it backed Del. James E. Malone Jr. and Steven J. DeBoy Sr., both Democrats. In the 8th District, it endorsed Tim Caslin, a retired police officer and the former president of the lodge.

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