New delegate aims to push for efficiency in government

Small-business owner to finish Boutin's term

July 24, 2005|By Josh Mitchell | Josh Mitchell,SUN STAFF

Small-business owner Sheryl L. Davis-Kohl said the state bureaucracy often takes 30 days to get back to her on whether a new hire owes child support.

That's evidence, she says, that the state could be run more efficiently. And as a newly appointed state delegate representing parts of Harford and Cecil counties, she said she will push for government efficiency.

"By reducing regulations and taxes, small companies will be able to employ people," said Davis-Kohl, who owns an employment agency in Aberdeen. "Through employment, people can contribute to society. They have income to spend, and the economy grows."

Davis-Kohl, 43, was named this month by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. to complete the term of Charles R. Boutin, who was appointed by the governor to the state Public Service Commission. Her term will run through 2006.

As the representative of District 34A, she will represent communities along U.S. 40: Edgewood, Aberdeen, Joppatowne and Havre de Grace in Harford County, and Port Deposit in Cecil County.

Davis-Kohl, who ran unsuccessfully for the House of Delegates in 1998 and 2002, has held one previous elective office, as a member of the Republican Central Committee of Harford County from 1994 to 1998.

The Republican committees of Harford and Cecil counties nominated Davis-Kohl for her current seat over four other candidates, including two lawyers, an accountant and Robert B. Thomas Jr., a former president of the Harford County school board.

William Christoforo, chairman of the Harford Republican Central Committee, said he favored Davis-Kohl's experience as a business owner.

"You hear sometimes complaints that the legislature doesn't understand how their legislation impacts business," Christoforo said. "Someone who runs a business certainly is going to understand the cost of health care and how that impacts a business."

He also noted her charity work - she is a board member of the local chapter of the American Cancer Society - and style: "She's a plain speaker. I think you'll know where you stand with Sheryl when you talk to her."

Born in Baltimore, she was raised by an entrepreneur father and a nurse mother in Harford County. Her parents were Republicans but not overly political, she said. She was inspired to get involved in politics partly by her 12th-grade government teacher at Fallston High School, who frequently led discussions of local and international issues.

She earned a bachelor's degree from Albright College in Pennsylvania and a master's degree in public administration from the University of Baltimore. She lives with her husband, James Kohl, a warehouse worker, in Abingdon.

Davis-Kohl said she believes in smaller government, business-driven growth and lower taxes.

The new delegate also would like to work with state transportation officials to extend the hours of bus service in Harford and Cecil counties. She plans to talk with transportation officials about a route that would cross the Thomas J. Hatem Bridge, which carries U.S. 40 over the Susquehanna River.

She said she supports Ehrlich's push for slot-machine gambling, which could come to Harford if legalized.

"We've got enough competition from surrounding states" where Marylanders and tourists go to gamble, she said. "Why not let them do it here in Maryland?"

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