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Glendening for governor

October 21, 1998

When Herald-Mail editors and reporters met with Gov. Parris Glendening last month, the polls showed him a dead heat with Republican opponent Ellen Sauerbrey, despite what seems to us a solid record of achievement for Maryland and Washington County. He seemed genuinely puzzled by the lack of affection many in the state have for him, saying that he guessed he just didn't have the "warm and fuzzy personality" that people seem to be looking for.

We suggest that people look beyond Glendening's stiff manner and focus on his record. Unlike the financial roller-coaster Maryland faced under William Donald Schaefer, the Glendening administration has been fiscally prudent, enacting a tax cut only after the governor was sure funds were available. The welfare rolls have been cut, and a new health care program enacted to take care of youngsters whose parents' jopbs don't provide medical benefits.

To battle crime, Glendening's administration put together the "HotSpots" program, which features additional parole and probation officers to counsel and check up on ex-offenders and bi-weekly drug testing for former addicts. A report issued earlier this month shows the program has reduced violent crime in Hagerstown's "HotSpots" by 20 percent in the first half of this year.

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On the environment, Glendening put together a program called "Smart Growth" that discourages sprawl by directing state aid to those governments which agree to direct development to older urban areas. In contrast to programs like "2020" which attempted to punish jurisdictions that didn't go along with the state's plans, this one provides rewards for doing the right thing. It is the shot in the arm Hagerstown desperately needs to improve the percentage of home ownership here.

We also agree with Glendening's stand on gambling. There is plenty of gambling already available in Maryland, and to introduce more would encourage those prone to addiction to gamble away the rent and grocery money. New gambling might also reduce the proceeds from Washington County tip jars, which contribute a great deal to charity and local fire/rescue budgets. If Maryland's horse tracks are in trouble, it's because their owners haven't tried hard enough to get a state full of animal lovers interested in their sport.

Finally, we have to look at what Glendening has done for this area. His administration provided money for one interestate interchange that will allow Allegheny Power to develop a new business park and another that will cut congestion near Valley Mall and improve access to the Hopewell Valley industrial area. In the last session, when sponsors of a milk price-support bill to aid local dairy farmers thought all was lost, Glendening stepped in an helped them pull victory from the jaws of defeat.

To back Ellen Sauerbrey, we would have ignore her less-than-inspiring record on the environment and believe that she's actually going to be able to find the funds to give every retiree in the state a tax break, add 1,000 new teachers and reduce taxes at the same time. Glendening may not stir citizens' hearts, but he's the steady hand on the rudder that Maryland needs now and we back his bid for re-election.

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