House race in new 33B draws 4

Education, health care key themes for 2 GOP, 2 Democratic hopefuls

Anne Arundel

September 03, 2002|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,SUN STAFF

The two Democrats and two Republicans vying for the single House of Delegates seat in newly created District 33B list education, health care, land use, the environment and transportation among the major issues in their district, which takes in most of southern Anne Arundel County and some Annapolis suburbs.

The new district includes territory from the former 33rd District, which was split in two under this year's statewide redistricting process. None of the former district's three incumbents is running in the new District 33B - all wound up in different districts under the new plan, and one is seeking the District 33 Senate seat.

The result is stiff competition for the lone House seat in 33B, a district almost evenly split between Democrats and Republicans, and made up of farmers, residents of South County's waterfront areas and affluent suburbanites in communities to the north and on the Severn River.

District 33B extends north from the Anne Arundel/Calvert County line and takes in Rosehaven, the rural communities of Lothian and Harwood, Tracey's Landing, Davidsonville and a portion of Edgewater. It also includes the communities of Rolling Knolls, Epping Forest and Sherwood Forest, all located north of U.S. 50.

Competing for the Democratic nomination in the Sept. 10 primary are Dotty Chaney of Lothian, a speech pathologist and former county school board member, and Annapolis attorney Thomas McCarthy Sr.

Chaney, 59, is a lifelong county resident, who has spent 25 years in the education field. She works with the county school system's Child Find program, which serves young children with delayed speech and language development.

In 1990, Chaney ran unsuccessfully for the 7th District County Council seat. She served on the county school board from 1985 to 1995. She now serves on the Maryland Higher Education Commission.

Chaney said her interest in education is one of the main reasons that she is seeking a seat in the General Assembly, where she would work for lower class sizes and higher standards for students and teachers. Improved health care benefits for seniors, the economy and the environment also are primary concerns in her district, she said.

Chaney, who is on the board of directors of Owensville Primary Care, a nonprofit health center, said she supports expanded prescription drug coverage for seniors. A self-described fiscal conservative, she backs tax relief for small businesses and government loans for farmers affected by the drought.

"I think we need to look at what we can do to make loans more accessible to help the farming community," she said.

She has received endorsements from the Maryland State Teachers' Association, the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters.

McCarthy, 66, is a father of six and 35-year resident of the Sherwood Forest community. Before earning his law degree at age 60, he installed computer systems throughout the United States and abroad. He works in a general law practice with three of his sons.

In the early 1960s, McCarthy said, he ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the Bowie City Council.

He lists education, land-use issues and the environment as his main motivations in seeking public office.

"We need to restore authority to the teacher in the classroom," he said. "Over the last 20 years we've reduced teachers' status to that of an employee."

Saying that county zoning officials frequently ignore the local adequate public facilities ordinance, McCarthy said he supports legislation that requires local jurisdictions to comply with such development controls.

He said he also would like to see stricter enforcement of state environmental restrictions, such as the Chesapeake Bay Critical Area regulations. McCarthy objected to the county's granting of environmental waivers in the redevelopment of Parole Plaza.

Facing off in the GOP primary are Bob Costa, a Deale resident and firefighter, and Larry Myers, a former legislative aide.

Elected to the Republican State Central Committee of Anne Arundel County in 1998, Costa became committee chairman a year later. He resigned when he began his campaign for the 33B seat.

A South County resident since 1985, Costa, 43, has been a career firefighter with the county for 17 years and was a volunteer firefighter for 10 years.

As a delegate, Costa said his top priorities would be to work for income tax cuts for those over 60 and for affordable health care for seniors.

On the education front, he supports improved work training programs at the high school and community college levels, and a partnership between the private and public sectors on school construction projects.

"I'd like to see a plan where a private business builds schools and leases them back to the county at 10 percent of the building cost," he said. "The savings could free up more money ... [for] the classroom."

Costa also said he would like the see the county and state work together to develop public transportation, with feeder systems from South County to commuter destinations.

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