GOP panel nominates Shewell for delegate

Carroll woman is choice to fill out Amedori term

July 26, 2004|By Mary Gail Hare | Mary Gail Hare,SUN STAFF

The Carroll County Republican Central Committee has unanimously recommended a woman familiar with GOP issues to fill the recently vacated District 5A seat in the House of Delegates.

Tanya Thornton Shewell, 60, has never held political office but has been active in the Republican Party and an officer in the county Republican Women's Club for many years.

The committee interviewed eight prospective candidates in an open session Saturday evening, an event that drew about 40 people. Members deliberated for about an hour before choosing Shewell.

"Tanya is really the best candidate for the position," said Michelle Jefferson, central committee chairwoman. "She interviewed well, gave the best answers to our questions, and then gave us the reasons why. She is experienced in campaigning, fund raising and Republican issues."

Shewell said she was both flabbergasted and humbled by the committees decision.

`Good candidates'

"There were a lot of good candidates who have contributed to the community and the party," she said. "It was not an easy decision. I am overcome by the unanimous decision."

The recommendation will go to Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. today and he is expected to approve it, party officials said. Shewell would serve the remaining two years of the term of Carmen Amedori, who resigned June 30 to accept an appointment to the Maryland Parole Commission.

Along with her husband, Ralph, a Westminster High School history teacher, Shewell co-chairs the Bush '04 Campaign for Carroll County. As state membership chairwoman for the Maryland Federation of Republican Women, she works closely with 42 clubs in the state. When the federation held its annual convention in Westminster in April, more than 150 women - a record - attended, she said.

"The convention gave me a good thumbnail sketch of what it takes to be a delegate and how women can run for office and win," she said. "Republicans are actively seeking women and minorities."

A Towson University graduate, she has worked for the State Department of Education as a rehabilitation counselor and as executive director of Granite House, a residential mental health counseling program in Westminster. She also manages the family property rental business from her home in Wakefield Valley, in the legislative district that includes Westminster, Manchester and Hampstead.

"I like to say that I am a full-time professional volunteer, she said. I will definitely have the time to meet the needs of my constituency."

Supports governor

She has spoken extensively with the Carroll delegation and feels she has a good grasp of what the job entails, she said.

"I will support the governor wherever and whenever I can," she said. "I worked for his election in 2002 and I will work for his re-election in 2006."

She would like to serve on the House Ways and Means Committee. She sees malpractice insurance, slots, the county commissioners proposed transfer tax and mandated all-day kindergarten as major issues.

Shewell added, "I am a realist and I know the state and county need other sources of revenue. I want to give local people as much control as possible over decisions."

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