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Governor salutes Troop 243

February 17, 2000

Mock debateBy LAURA ERNDE / Staff Writer

photos: RICHARD T. MEAGHER / staff photographer




ANNAPOLIS - A smiling JenniLynn Hughes handed Maryland Gov. Parris Glendening a green box of thin mints and an orange box of oatmeal peanut butter Girl Scout cookies Thursday.

cont. from front page

One box was for his wife, Frances H. Glendening, who is recovering from a partially collapsed lung.

"We hope she gets better," Hughes, 13, said.

Nearly 60 Washington County Girl Scouts got a close-up look at state government, and had a chance to express their opinions on the floor of the House of Delegates.

Hughes and five other members of Troop 243 from Hagerstown had a special meeting with the governor in his State House office.

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Trooper leader Janet Hughes said she called and faxed the governor's office last week to arrange the five-minute meeting.

"I begged. That's the majority of a Girl Scout leader's job," she said.

Glendening shook the girls' hands and thanked them for their work at a Hagerstown homeless shelter. He told them he recently met with poverty advocates.

"The economy's doing so well, people sometimes forget that there are poor people," he said.

Glendening told the girls he grew up poor and now marvels that he is working in the same rooms where George Washington and Thomas Jefferson made history.

He asked them about their plans for the future.

Meeting with Gov.JenniLynn Hughes said she has political aspirations. Amber O'Kane, 13, wants to be a journalist. Melissa Bosley, 14, plans to go to cosmetology school. Danielle Grant, 13, wants to be a pediatric surgeon. And Katie Buchanan, 14, wants to be a fashion designer.

Glendening encouraged them to be teachers, a profession he said he loved for 27 years. But he told them to take their time deciding.

The girls were nervous before the meeting and excited afterward.

"He was nice," JenniLynn Hughes said.

"He smelled good, too," O'Kane said.

The troop was formed when the girls went to Pangborn Elementary School together. Now, most of them go to different schools.

Glendening offered to pay for the Girl Scout cookies, but the Scouts insisted they were free.

In all, 58 Girl Scouts and 17 chaperones from the Shawnee Council visited the state capitol, said coordinator Carol Diehl.

In the morning, Washington County Delegation Chairman Del. Robert A. McKee, Del. Louise V. Snodgrass and Del. Christopher B. Shank explained the legislative process.

Later, with the help of microphones on the floor of the House of Delegates, the girls got to "debate" on issues such as school uniforms and metal detectors in schools. The Scouts defeated both measures.

One girl suggested lowering the driving age to 12.

"Some girls who never speak out and share with their peers were willing to get up and share their ideas," Diehl said.

Terrika Hodges, 14, of Hagerstown, said she wouldn't want to be a lawmaker, but enjoyed the experience.

"It's an educational field trip and I learn a lot. Sometimes educational field trips are better than being in school," she said.

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