Council hopefuls outline goals

GOP's Vitale defends seat against local businessman

Race for 5th District

Democrat Maloney focuses on countywide issues

October 24, 2002|By Laura Loh | Laura Loh,SUN STAFF

A savvy businessman and a good listener - that's how the two Anne Arundel County Council candidates for the 5th District are pitching themselves to voters.

Democrat George Maloney said his 25 years of experience in the contracting and construction management industry will come in handy as the county faces difficult economic times.

"As a business owner, it would be very easy for me to just sit back and continue to do the community and civic service that I already do," Maloney said. "But I think I have a very valuable asset. I can bring business sense to the County Council, and I think that's needed."

Incumbent Cathleen M. Vitale, a Republican attorney who was appointed in 2000 after the death of Councilman Cliff Roop, said she has gotten positive feedback on the job she has done so far. Her passion for the work stems from the people she serves, she says, even if they're calling her at home at 11 p.m.

"It's not glamorous, and it doesn't bring headlines," Vitale said. "I do this job because [elected officials] forget about the `people' component."

District 5 includes Severna Park, Arnold, Millersville and part of the Broadneck Peninsula.

Maloney, 48, is the president of Helix Construction Services Inc. of Severna Park. Born in Baltimore and raised in Severna Park, he attended Severna Park High School and Anne Arundel Community College.

A supporter of County Executive Janet S. Owens, he was a member of her transition team and later was chairman of the county personnel board. He also headed the re-election campaign of Sheriff George F. Johnson IV until March, when he decided to run for the council seat.

Vitale, 38, moved to Severna Park at age 10. She attended Severna Park High and later earned a law degree from the University of Baltimore. A family and civil litigator, she was chairwoman of the county Republican Central Committee when the council appointed her to fill Roop's vacancy.

Maloney's top campaign issues are finding alternative revenue sources - primarily through commercial taxes - so that the county may be less dependent on state funds, and promoting commercial growth in areas such as the Baltimore-Washington International Airport, Arundel Mills and Odenton.

He also wants a greater portion of educational resources to be spent on modernizing school facilities.

Vitale's campaign literature focuses on her accomplishments, which run the gamut from getting air conditioning for two schools in her district to speeding up the funding process for the Broadneck Trail. She opposes increasing commercial development to get more taxes and prefers a re-examination of how the county spends its existing pot of money.

Vitale said she wants to increase the county's public transportation options and vocational and alternative education opportunities for students.

Perhaps the biggest difference between the two candidates is their approach to the job. Maloney talks about change on a countywide level. "My goal is to try to do the things that will bring the greatest amount of good to the greatest number of people," he said.

Vitale plans to keep her ear close to the ground. "I do it for the people in this district who feel they have no one to go to," she said. "If the only thing I can offer is a referral or an ear, that's more than they thought they could get from the county government."

According to the most recent campaign finance report, as of Aug. 30 Maloney had raised $66,773 and Vitale had raised $53,901.23.

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