Harford County

August 31, 2006

Harford County, grappling with development pressures and school crowding issues, will see its roads, parks and other services further strained by the influx of new federal workers in the coming years. Its elected officials will need to be both disciplined and creative in providing for newcomers and protecting the quality of life enjoyed by their constituents.

County executive: Republican David R. Craig, appointed county executive last year to fill out the term of James M. Harkins, has had hands-on experience where it counts. A former state legislator, mayor of Havre de Grace and school principal, he knows how government works and where it can make a difference. He put the brakes on the County Council's comprehensive rezoning package, rejecting efforts to expand growth needlessly; he says the county's zoning law should be rewritten first. Mr. Craig deserves his own term in the job.

There is no Democratic primary.

Council president: The impact of the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) decisions on Harford County requires experienced, tested leadership. Republican Robert S. Wagner, the incumbent council president, has not been afraid to speak his mind. His outspokenness would serve as a good check on the executive's power. But he will have to work through differences with others and govern by consensus to ensure things get done. Mr. Wagner offers the experience needed at this critical time.

There is no Democratic primary.

Council District A: Incumbent Dion F. Guthrie took the right step in pushing to curb development around county schools. He is our choice among Democrats. In the Republican primary, The Sun endorses Christopher J. Biggs. A legislative policy aide at the state economic development agency, Mr. Biggs offers bright ideas on how the county can better recruit and retain police, spur homeownership for the working poor and boost opportunities for the underemployed.

Council District B: Incumbent Veronica L. "Roni" Chenowith likes to talk about her support of recreation and parks, improved services for the elderly and the need to use public facilities as community centers. But the Republican councilwoman counts developers among her biggest supporters. Her experience is proven, and she gets our endorsement, but it's time she considered community needs above development interests.

There is no Democratic primary.

Council District C: In the Republican primary, James V. "Jim" McMahan, a Bel Air town commissioner and retired radio broadcaster, says redevelopment of "tired" residential and commercial areas should be a priority over new development. That's the right way to go. He also supports raising the salaries and standing of county teachers.

There is no Democratic primary.

Council District D: Republican Chad R. Shrodes, a county planner for nearly a decade, has the professional expertise that will be vital in assessing the county's growth needs. The Norrisville resident also has a statewide perspective on preserving farmland. He should be the Republicans' choice for an informed, authoritative voice on zoning issues. In the Democratic primary, Terence Cox of Darlington works as a controller for an aerospace manufacturer. His financial background would be an asset in devising ways to gauge the needs of new business that BRAC may generate. He also is passionate about ensuring that the problems of renovating North Harford High School aren't repeated elsewhere.

Council District E: Republican Councilman Richard Slutzky, a retired high school department chairman, has championed the needs of teachers and helped fully fund the school system's budget. His focus on education is imperative in a burgeoning county. .

There is no Democratic primary.

Council District F: Democrat Mary Ann Lisanti knows how government works from the inside out. As a former city manager for Havre de Grace with county planning experience, she can help infuse the zoning code with the flexibility and creativity it needs. She knows what's required to make municipal agencies accountable. In the Republican primary, John P. Correri Jr., the mayor of Havre de Grace and a longtime City Council member, can apply the lessons learned from the city's redevelopment to the district as a whole, while ensuring that public improvements accommodate the expected growth in the Aberdeen area.

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