Election attracts many new faces

Incumbents try to defeat challengers both old and new

November 04, 2007

(* denotes incumbent)

Mayor

Michael E. Bennett

Bennett is a political newcomer running for his first elected office. A resident of Aberdeen since 1958, Bennett is a retired Maryland State Police lieutenant, having served 31 years. He now is a civilian employee who oversees the Maryland State Police's electronic systems, handling communications, telephone and computer system.

Nicole V. Burlew

The Towson University junior who is studying political science hopes to become the youngest Aberdeen mayor. At 19, she has never run for political office, but says her youth and passion will make up for her inexperience. Her proposals for the city include charging all non-city residents a fee to work in the city and to use city roads.

S. Fred Simmons*

His critics call him arrogant while his supporters laud him as bold. After an eventful two years in office, marked by a failed annexation attempt and hands-on approach to confronting crime, Simmons is running for another two-year term. The insurance salesman has launched ambitious projects such as a surveillance-camera program and desalination of bay water to bolster the city supply.

City Council(The top four vote-getters will serve two-year terms)

Alfred E. Bell Jr.

A government contract employee who works at Aberdeen Proving Ground, Bell is making his first bid for public office. The Mississippi native moved to Aberdeen 10 years ago. A deacon at the Helping Hands Ministry in Aberdeen, Bell said his neighborhood and church community urged him to run.

Richard R. Denu Jr.

After working for the Aberdeen Police Department for more than a decade, Denu left the force to work for a government contractor and pursue a bachelor's degree in criminal justice. Since leaving the Aberdeen police, Denu has been a vocal critic of the Simmons administration. He and his wife have seven children.

Bernard DeWitt

DeWitt, who works for General Dynamics, a defense industry contractor at Aberdeen Proving Ground, is making his second bid for council. In 2005, he finished sixth out of seven candidates. DeWitt served 20 years in the Army, including a stint in the first Gulf War. He is married with two children.

Ruth Elliott*

A native of Aberdeen, Elliott served as the city's first elected mayor in 1992. She retired from Aberdeen Proving Ground and is finishing her seventh term on the council. She is frequently the lone dissenting vote in council decisions.

Bruce E. Garner

After living in Aberdeen for 34 years, the modular homes dealer is making his first bid for office. Garner said he has not accepted any donations or contributions to his campaign, because he wants to be independent. Garner became inspired to run because of city budget issues, including the recent scrutiny over the Ripken Stadium deal, increases in property tax and water rates.

Janice E.M. Grant

The civil rights activist has appeared on the Aberdeen ballot several times and finished last among the four mayoral candidates in 2005. The former Peace Corps volunteer and Freedom Rider led the county chapter of the NAACP for seven years. She remains active in missionary work.

Michael G. Hiob*

The lifelong Aberdeen resident is an environmental enforcement inspector for Harford County. Hiob became council president in the second year of his second term. In previous two elections, Hiob has received the most votes among council candidates.

Ronald Kupferman*

Now completing his 12th term, Kupferman was first elected to the council in 1978. Kupferman has worked in insurance and served as director for the Havre de Grace Chamber of Commerce.

David A. Yensan*

The councilman is completing his first term. An Army veteran who served as a helicopter pilot in Vietnam, he arrived at Aberdeen Proving Ground in 1977, when he was assigned as a safety pilot. After retiring from the Army in 1981, he began his own business as an insurance agent in employee benefits. Yensan frequently allies with Simmons.

Ruth Ann Young

A retired guidance counselor and elementary school teacher, Young regularly appears at City Council and County Council meetings. She frequently expresses her views during the public comment portion. Young has previously run unsuccessfully for City Council.

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