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Delegate District 2B: Chris Shank

October 30, 2002|By

If nothing else, one has to admire the moxie of Hagerstown druggist David Russo, who, when Washington County is getting more Republican by the minute, changed his voter registration to Democrat and challenged popular GOP Del. Chris Shank in District 2B.

Russo has made some good sense in this campaign, particularly in his stands on land use, which are well-reasoned and balanced. Shank, on the other hand, has sided strongly with the anti-growth contingents to the point of refusing to meet with developers to hear their side of the story.

That's not to say Shank's ideas on growth are bad ones. Washington County is still experiencing little growth to speak of, but that could change if more counties to the east enact building moratoriums. It's an issue that should be dealt with now, while there is still time.

However, if the no-growth people put Shank in office, they will no doubt try to call in the chips this winter by pressuring Shank to champion some sort of impact or transfer tax. Shank has also run on anti-tax platforms, and this could cause him some sticky moments.

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Could, but won't. Shank is as savvy as they come, and is probably already one jump ahead of us. In fact, Shank's willingness to tackle tough issues that would send a more timid lawmaker scurrying is one of the main reasons we're endorsing Shank in his re-election bid.

More than any other resident lawmaker, Shank has demonstrated a hunger to move up the ladder and become a player in Annapolis. At age 30, he's already a minority whip and appears headed for a place where his voice is respected among his fellow delegates. We believe Shank is the best bet to fill the leadership void that has plagued Washington County over the past half-dozen years.

Shank's energy, intelligence and command of the issues, along with his tireless constituent work, have earned him the right to return to Annapolis, where hopefully he is ready to take the next big step toward becoming both a leader in the delegation and a player in state politics.

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