Campaign notes

September 28, 1998

The Maryland Democratic and Republican parties squared off on education last week, sniping at each other's nominees for governor.

First, the Democrats attacked Ellen R. Sauerbrey, pointing to a grade given by the Maryland State Teachers Association: "F."

The Democrats, in a series of statements, said Sauerbrey compiled an "antieducation" record during 16 years in the General Assembly. They said she voted against teacher standards in the legislature, including:

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> a 1991 vote against creating professional standards and a teacher education board.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> a 1990 vote against creating the Professional Standards and Teacher Education Board, which would have changed the board from advisory status to a partnership with the State Board of Education in determining teacher certification and recertification.

For good measure, the teachers union also weighed in on Sauerbrey's record, criticizing her for missing a 1994 vote on a resolution endorsing children's right to a good, quality school.


"Ellen Sauerbrey lacks credibility on the issue of educating our children," said Peter B. Krauser, chairman of the state party. "She is not a friend of Maryland's children and that makes her an enemy of Maryland's future."

The state Republican Party could hardly have painted a more different picture.

The GOP blasted Gov. Parris N. Glendening's "abysmal record" on education. In a statement, the Republicans criticized Glendening for low test scores in urban areas and for spending $300 million on "multimillionaire sports owners for new stadiums" - money that could have gone to education.

The GOP also pointed to several pro-education votes Sauerbrey cast:

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> A 1987 vote to increase state aid to education by $10.1 million.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> A 1987 vote to increase public school construction by $53.9 million.

HEIGHT="6" ALT="* " NATURALSIZEFLAG="0" ALIGN="BOTTOM"> Several votes to increase funding for the Distinguished Scholar Program.

Improving relations

The relationship between the Washington County Commissioners and the county's delegation in the Maryland General Assembly is considered crucial because the county, which has no home rule charter, needs most of its laws and regulations to be approved in the legislature.

But sometimes that relationship hasn't been rosy, such as last year when the legislative delegation, against the commissioners' wishes, pushed through a bill that required the county to restore collective bargaining status to a union they had just decertified.

It was no surprise, then, that the topic of commissioner-legislator relations was a big topic last week at a forum for commissioner candidates sponsored by the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce.

"It seems to me that we have an opportunity to improve our relationship," said John P. Corderman, a Republican candidate.

"We must eliminate barriers that exist and eliminate turf battles," said Paul L. Swartz, a Democratic candidate.

Candidates offered varying ideas on improving the relationship with the delegation, including regular meetings between the two groups all year long.

County Commissioner Ronald L. Bowers, a Democrat, suggested that the commissioners and delegation members meet in the communities, so the legislators can see exactly what the problems are that need to be addressed.

"Many of them do not have a clue what we are talking about when the legislative proposals are taken to Annapolis," Bowers said.

Fortune cookies

Linda C. Irvin-Craig appeared before the Washington County Commissioners last Tuesday to accept a resolution on behalf of the Western Maryland Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse.

Irvin-Craig is executive director of the nonprofit organization. But she is running for County Commissioner, and that fact was not lost on the commissioners.

During the ceremony, Irvin-Craig passed out fortune cookies with messages proclaiming the group's goals.

When Commissioner James R. Wade, who is not running for re-election, broke open his cookie, he pretended to read the fortune: "Vote for Linda Irvin. Just kidding."

- Guy Fletcher and Brendan Kirby

The Herald-Mail Articles