Shank announces run for delegate

May 29, 1998|By GUY FLETCHER

SHARPSBURG - Chris Shank, a former aide to Washington County's legislative delegation to the Maryland General Assembly, did the expected Thursday and announced he is seeking the Republican nomination for a seat in the House of Delegates.

"We need new leadership in Washington County. The days of politics-as-usual must stop. The people deserve better," he said.

Shank, 25, made the announcement at Sharpsburg Town Hall before a group of about 30 relatives and friends, including Del. Robert A. McKee, R-Washington, and Sen. John W. Derr, R-Frederick/Washington.

Shank is running for a seat in District 2B, which covers the southern and eastern parts of Washington County, including Sharpsburg, Boonsboro and Keedysville.

Another Republican, David M. Russo, president of the state Board of Pharmacy, already has filed for election to the seat held by Del. D. Bruce Poole, a Beaver Creek Democrat who is seeking re-election.


Shank emphasized his plan to run on core conservative values, such as less taxes and less government.

"As a conservative, I believe you know how to spend your money better than government does," he said.

And while he said he doesn't intend to campaign negatively, he took some jabs at Poole, mentioning that the incumbent doesn't have an office in the district. He also suggested Poole was using his House seat as a springboard for higher office.

"The people of this district deserve a delegate who actually wants to represent them, not someone who is constantly climbing to the next rung on the political ladder," Shank said.

Poole declined to comment, saying it is too early to respond to Shank's charges.

"I just think it's a little presumptuous to be talking about general election issues when both of us haven't gotten through the primaries yet," Poole said.

Shank, for the past four years, has been the county delegation's legislative assistant, a post that included tasks such as arranging delegation meetings and organizing county bills filed in the legislature.

"I have enjoyed every minute of helping the citizens of Washington County," he said.

When the legislature began its annual 90-day session in January, Shank was at the center of a dispute in which Poole said he should either announce he was running for office and resign as legislative assistant, or announce he wouldn't seek office and keep the job.

Keeping the job, while considering a run for office, would have given Shank an unfair advantage during a campaign, Poole said.

Shank, who had the support of the majority of the delegation, stayed on the job throughout the session, which ended April.

But with the chance of a run for office seeming likely, he announced his resignation last week.

Members of the House of Delegates make $29,700 a year, but are scheduled to receive a raise of $1,809 over the next four years.

The filing deadline is July 6.

The primary election is Sept. 15 and the general election is Nov. 3.

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