Howard legislative races

October 23, 2002

Howard County is growing more wealthy, diverse and conservative. The challenge for the county's new legislative delegation will be to work across party lines to represent a changing electorate.

District 9A: West Howard has sent Del. Robert L. Flanagan, a determined conservative known for doing his homework, to Annapolis four straight terms. A voice for budgetary restraint, Mr. Flanagan deserves a fifth term.

In the race for this district's second delegate seat, Democratic challenger Tony McGuffin, a teacher and party activist, has raised critical environmental and growth issues. But incumbent GOP Del. Gail H. Bates, an accountant appointed in February, brings lengthy, potentially useful budget experience as former County Executive Charles I. Ecker's aide.

District 9 Senate: Republican Robert H. Kittleman, who has earned a reputation as an independent thinker, is running unopposed.

District 12B: Two-term liberal Democratic Del. Elizabeth Bobo is running without opposition for the single seat in this west Columbia district.

District 12 Senate: The Democratic incumbent, Edward J. Kasemeyer, is worthy of re-election because he tackles tough but unglamorous issues, such as pensions. He's been the senator from this district, covering parts of Howard and Baltimore counties, since 1995.

District 13: Three delegate seats are up for grabs in this district, which stretches from Elkridge through East Columbia to North Laurel and Highland. We recommend the re-election of two-term Democrats Frank S. Turner and Shane Pendergrass. Mr. Turner, rising in the House Appropriations Committee, has earned high ratings on environmental and senior citizen issues. Ms. Pendergrass, a former county councilwoman, questioned CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield's plan to convert to a for-profit company.

In competing for this district's third seat, a Republican newcomer, Mary Beth Tung, is an intelligent addition to the political scene. But Democratic challenger Neil Quinter warrants endorsement for his experience as a counsel for the state environmental agency and congressional committees.

District 13 Senate: The incumbent, Sandra B. Schrader, appointed in January, has a decade of experience as legislative aide to former Sen. Martin G. Madden. But we believe C. Vernon Gray, a county councilman for 20 years and at times an innovative legislator, offers more experience. As past president of the National Association of Counties, he also ought to be able to bring a wider perspective to regional and state issues.

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