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Gubernatorial candidate Ecker visits Hancock

July 24, 1998|By LAURA ERNDE

HANCOCK - Charles I. Ecker visited Western Maryland on Thursday to let people know there's more than one Republican in the state who wants to be governor.

"People don't want the same choices in '98 as they had in '94," he said, referring to the showdown between Republican Ellen R. Sauerbrey and Democratic Gov. Parris Glendening.

During a stop at Weaver's Restaurant for a slice of coconut cream pie, Ecker said he's collecting the concerns of voters in his "Chuck Wagon" tour across the state.

Ecker, 69, spent much of Thursday in Allegany County, where he heard concerns that varied from the building of the $55.6 million Rocky Gap Lodge & Golf Resort to eliminating telephone poles dangerous to traffic in Lonaconing, Md.

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Although Ecker admits he's the underdog, the governor's race is still young. Some people he met on the campaign trail Thursday didn't know the date of the primary is Sept. 15, he said.

Ecker is running on his record of leadership as Howard County Executive since 1990.

Education also is important to the Carroll County native who was a teacher and administrator in various state school systems for 36 years.

Rather than spending more money on education, Ecker favors raising expectations for students.

"We've had this attitude that it's more important for a child to feel good about themselves than learn. We have to expect them to learn," he said.

Before he launched his gubernatorial bid, Ecker was asked to run for lieutenant governor with Sauerbrey.

He turned down that job, as well as offers to run for state comptroller both before and after the death of longtime Comptroller Louis Goldstein earlier this month.

"I want to be governor. I want to win, but I don't want to run for something just to win," he said.

Ecker's running mate, Barbara Windsor, is a businesswoman from Frederick County, Md., who is new to politics.

She said the state has not been very friendly to business, and this has hurt its economic development.

For example, a loophole in the state's unemployment insurance rules required her family's company, Hahn Transportation Inc., to pay unemployment to an employee who resigned.

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