Ex-legislator endorses Brochin for Senate

Boozer breaks with GOP in backing Democrat, says Klima is too right wing

October 18, 2002|By Andrew A. Green | Andrew A. Green,SUN STAFF

In an unusual break with the party line, former Republican state Sen. F. Vernon Boozer of Towson endorsed Democrat Jim Brochin for Senate yesterday and criticized the GOP nominee, Del. Martha S. Klima, as an ineffective legislator and right-wing ideologue.

Klima dismissed Boozer's criticism, suggesting he is bitter from his primary loss to Sen. Andrew P. Harris four years ago. She also defended her record, pointing to recent endorsements from the National Federation of Independent Businesses and Marylanders for Better Transportation, and an award from the Maryland Taxpayers Association.

Brochin and Klima are running for the open Senate seat in the 42nd District, which includes Towson, Lutherville, Timonium and a piece of Pikesville.

Boozer said his endorsement has nothing to do with his loss to Harris. He said he has long watched Brochin and believes he will make an effective senator who can work with people of all political persuasions.

"Martha is hard right, hard right, difficult to compromise [with]," Boozer said. "People, I don't think, want gridlock in government, and I think that's what you get when you get legislators like Martha Klima."

Boozer pointed to her vote in the last legislative session against the Thornton Commission's plan for a $1.3 billion increase in education funding and to what he says is a poor record on environmental issues. Klima said she voted against the Thornton plan - which was passed by the legislature - because the state didn't have the money to pay for it. She has also criticized many of the state's environmental efforts, saying money spent for land preservation could be better used to help people in need.

Klima said one of her top priorities has been providing assistance to the mentally and physically handicapped. Wednesday, the Baltimore County Commission on Disabilities recognized her at its annual luncheon for her efforts.

As for political endorsements, Klima said she has the most important one: the backing of Republican gubernatorial nominee Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.

"Clearly, people need a legislator like me to take on the governor like I have and to say we are spending too much," Klima said. "That's been Mr. Ehrlich's case, and he clearly endorses me, and I think that's a very important endorsement and one I'm very proud of."

Brochin said he is proud to have the support of Boozer, who he sees as a moderate.

"I am equally as proud that both Republican state Sen. Vernon Boozer and Democratic Mayor Martin O'Malley [of Baltimore] have endorsed my candidacy," Brochin said. "I think that shows more than anything what my state Senate race is all about."

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