4 candidates seeking open delegate seat

Republican committee to make recommendation

July 04, 2004|By Hanah Cho | Hanah Cho,SUN STAFF

With the appointment of former Del. Carmen Amedori to the Maryland Parole Commission, jockeying for the District 5A House of Delegates seat has begun with four candidates expressing interest to the Carroll County Republican Central Committee.

The committee, which is in charge of recommending replacements to the governor, began receiving inquiries before Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. named Amedori to the 10- member parole commission Friday. Rumors had been circulating for at least a month that the former journalist and paralegal would be appointed to fill a vacancy.

"We're so very proud of Carmen and happy for her," said Michelle Jefferson, chairwoman of Carroll's central committee.

Expressing interest in the seat are Carroll County school board President C. Scott Stone; Westminster Fire Chief Kevin R. Utz; David Roush, former manager of the Lehigh Portland Cement plant in Union Bridge; and Tanya Shewell, former president of the Republican Women's Club of Carroll County, Jefferson said.

The nine-member GOP committee - which is scheduled to meet Tuesday to discuss procedures on the selection process and qualifications - has set a Friday postmark deadline on receiving resumes from candidates.

The group has about 30 days to interview candidates, deliberate and make recommendations to the governor. The state constitution calls for the governor to fill the legislative vacancy within 15 days with a person from a list of candidates recommended by a central committee.

The committee has yet to decide whether to make the selection proceedings open to the public, allowing residents to observe, but not participate.

Amedori, who was elected to the House of Delegates in 1998 and re-elected in 2002, said she would like to be involved in the selection process as much as the central committee allows her. She represented northeast Carroll County, which includes Westminster, Hampstead and Manchester.

She outlined a list of qualifications that she would like to see in the candidate who would fill her seat, including dedication to constituents, commitment to Ehrlich's and the Republican Caucus' agendas, and support for conservative issues such as Second Amendment rights.

"I think the person who fills this seat needs to understand that this is really a 24-7, 365-days-a-year job," Amedori said Friday from Ocean City.

State Sen. Larry E. Haines, chairman of the county's all-Republican delegation, echoed similar sentiments for Amedori's replacement.

"I want to see someone conservative, pro-life, pro-business that will represent our conservative constituency well," Haines said. "Most importantly, it has to be someone who could mount an aggressive campaign to be re-elected in 2006."

Stone, who was first elected to the school board in 1992, said he has experience in representing residents in Carroll County.

"I think I've done that well for 11 1/2 years, and I'd like to take that experience and my desire to continue representing them on the state level," Stone said.

Utz, a retired state trooper, has been a volunteer firefighter for 26 years, the last two as chief of the Westminster Fire Engine and Hose Company No. 1.

"When I retired from the state police, I had decided I didn't want to give up being in public service, so I thought about running for this legislative seat," Utz said. "Being chief of the Fire Department, I got involved in political issues, and I knew I could make a difference."

Roush and Shewell, both of Westminster, could not be reached for comment Friday.

Amedori, who resigned from the legislative seat Wednesday, is expected to be sworn in Tuesday.

Amedori's appointment is subject to confirmation by the Senate during next year's legislative session. She will serve a six-year term, set to expire Dec. 31, 2009, and be paid about $81,000 annually.

As a member of the parole commission, Amedori will hear cases such as those involving inmates convicted of murder or manslaughter.

Last week, Amedori sat in on a revocation hearing. "It was at that point that it really dawned on me that it would be an awesome responsibility."

Staff writer Athima Chansanchai contributed to this article.

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