Rejected pair file for state offices

Snider, Gilleland, passed over for school board, to run for Senate, House

July 09, 2002|By Stephen Kiehl | Stephen Kiehl,SUN STAFF

Gov. Parris N. Glendening wouldn't put them on the county school board, so two Anne Arundel County residents are asking voters to put them in the State House.

Severna Park resident Jim Snider filed papers yesterday to run for the House of Delegates, and Linthicum resident Terry R. Gilleland Jr. filed to run for the state Senate.

Both men wanted to be on the school board, and they were a community panel's top choices for the board's at-large seat. But neither got the nod after County Executive Janet S. Owens persuaded the governor, a fellow Democrat, to appoint Konrad M. Wayson.

Both candidates hope to capitalize on the public outrage over that appointment to propel their own candidacies. But they differ when it comes to the issues: Snider is a Democrat, Gilleland a Republican.

Snider, 43, is a fellow at the New America Foundation, a public policy think tank in Washington. He said his key issues will be education, health care, transportation and the environment.

"There is a ferment of public policy ideas bubbling in my head," said Snider, who has three children in county schools, "but I have to figure out which ones are most salient to the public."

He plans to spend the next few months talking to people in District 33A, which elects two delegates. One of the seats is open because the incumbent, Republican Del. Janet Greenip, is running for the state Senate. Snider is one of two Democrats running in the district; four Republicans have also filed to run.

The district's two seats have been under Republican control, but county Democratic leaders saw an opening this year, and they saw Snider as well positioned to step in. Many in the community - especially in the Severna Park and Crofton areas covered by 33A - rallied around him after he did not win the school board appointment.

"There was a lot of frustration that all the work had gone to naught and the appointment came from out of the blue sky," said Sen. John C. Astle, who along with Sen. Robert R. Neall helped persuade Snider to run. "I think he's a quality candidate. He's a bright guy."

Snider holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a master's degree in political science from Northwestern University. He was twice elected to the school board in Burlington, Vt., in the early 1990s, and he has worked as a congressional fellow.

His wife, Terra Ziporyn Snider, led a coalition of parents that successfully challenged the county school board last year when it tried to reduce the time for electives, such as fine arts, and double the time for reading in middle schools.

In the spring, Jim Snider ran for the school board and received the most votes of the five candidates from the School Board Nominating Convention, a group of about 150 community leaders. Gilleland was the second-highest vote-getter for the at-large seat.

Gilleland, 25, is just old enough to run for state Senate, but he said he's ready. He is chairman of the county's Republican Party and served as the school board's student member in 1994-95, when he was a senior at North County High School. He holds a bachelor's degree from Loyola College and an MBA from the University of Baltimore.

He said his top three issues are education, fiscal responsibility and opposition to Maglev, the high-speed train that the Maryland Transit Administration has proposed to run through Linthicum. He wants to make school boards more accountable to the state, provide incentives for teachers to stay in Maryland and find ways to reduce the state income tax.

"We need to spend our money more wisely," Gilleland said. "The tax burden is just immense."

An account manager for the educational testing company Thomson Prometric in Baltimore, Gilleland will probably be unopposed for the Republican nomination for the Senate seat in District 31, which covers northeastern Anne Arundel County.

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