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Bird seeking state Senate seat

July 14, 1998|By GUY FLETCHER

For several years Ronald S. Bird has watched as more and more state money was being channeled into roads, schools and other projects for the Baltimore and Washington metropolitan area.

"Western Maryland has been getting slighted, as far as I'm concerned, in a lot of things," said Bird, a Democrat who is running for the state Senate in District 3, which includes parts of Washington and Frederick counties.

That's the main reason Bird, 53, a teacher and retired police officer, said he is seeking the seat currently held by Sen. John W. Derr, R-Washington.

Bird said he will also campaign on working with Democratic leaders in the General Assembly, preparing the area for continued growth and making schools more secure from violence.

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Bird now teaches law enforcement at the Frederick County Career and Technology Center and said his various career experiences have served him well in seeking public office.

"I like working with people and for people, and I like listening to people," said Bird, who lives near Frederick, Md.

Bird is an Allegany County native who once worked at the Kelly-Springfield tire plant in Cumberland, Md., before becoming an officer in the Montgomery County Police Department, where he worked for nearly 17 years. He moved to Frederick County 10 years ago.

During his time in Montgomery County, he ran unsuccessful campaigns for the County Council and House of Delegates - as a Republican.

Bird said he considers himself a fiscal conservative Democrat who also believes in firm law-and-order principles. But, having been involved in unions, he also embraces the idea of organized labor.

"I consider myself a working man," he said.

He said his main problem with Derr is what he considers a lack of decisiveness on certain issues - such as when Derr voted against a bill that would have banned a type of late-term abortion in the state. Derr said the bill was unconstitutional and could have opened the door to banning all abortions.

Derr later supported another late-term abortion bill that failed.

"I'm not afraid to talk to people. I'm not afraid to tell people what I feel," Bird said.

District 3 covers most of the western part of Frederick County, including the city of Frederick, and the northeast section of Washington County, including areas such as Smithsburg, Cascade and Maugansville.

Bird is the lone Democrat filed in the race. He will face the winner of the Republican primary, to be held Sept. 15, between Derr and GOP challenger Alexander X. Mooney.

The general election is Nov. 3.

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

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