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Former mayor in District B Delegate's race

June 01, 2002|by LAURA ERNDE

laurae@herald-mail.com

A former mayor of Burkittsville, Md., who has been active in land preservation issues has declared his intention to run for the Maryland House of Delegates.

Paul Gilligan, 55, a Democrat, wants to represent residents of newly formed District 3B, which covers southern Washington County and Frederick County.

Small towns and rural areas often get overlooked by the state, but Gilligan said he has the contacts and the knowledge to tap into state money sources.

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"You need that kind of aggressive representation," he said.

During his three-year term as mayor, which ended when he lost the election in 1998, Gilligan said he purchased park land and secured state money for town improvements.

Gilligan said he convinced state and federal authorities to invest about $12 million to protect the pastoral views in and around Burkittsville.

Getting state money is more than a matter of filling out an application, he said.

"It's the ability to schmooze, in terms of being able to get things done. They have to have the confidence in you or you're just a piece of paper," he said.

As president of the Mid Maryland Land Trust Association, Gilligan oversees the Rural Legacy program for Frederick County in cooperation with county government.

Through Rural Legacy, the state buys development rights from people who own land that is significant for historical, agricultural or environmental reasons.

Gilligan has applied for a Rural Legacy grant for his 25-acre farm, but he said he doesn't think it's a conflict of interest because he has recused himself from the association's discussions and voting.

He would not disclose how much money he will receive until the state Board of Public Works gives formal approval, which is expected in July.

Gilligan said he doesn't want to become known as a one-issue candidate. He also is interested in issues of public education and affordable health care.

Before he retired from the government as a U.S. Public Health Service officer, Gilligan said he watched the development of health maintenance organizations.

HMOs were supposed to increase health care access to keep people healthy so they wouldn't need more expensive treatment programs. The result has been the opposite, he said.

Gilligan has a bachelor's degree in psychology from Loyola College and a master's degree in health sciences from the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health.

He developed and is chief executive officer of the Edgewood, Md.-based Chesapeake Kidney Centers, which runs dialysis facilities.

Two other Democrats have filed for the seat although one of them, Charles Smith of Knoxville, has said he will withdraw due to lack of time.

Democrat Lisa Baugher, 48, of 5150 Tuscarora Road in Tuscarora, Md., filed her candidacy papers last week.

Republican Richard B. Weldon Jr., 43, of Brunswick, Md., filed May 3.

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