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Local residents attend inauguration

January 16, 2003|by LAURA ERNDE

laurae@herald-mail.com

ANNAPOLIS - Washington County residents voted overwhelmingly to elect Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., so it was fitting that a few local residents were in Annapolis on Wednesday as Ehrlich was sworn in to office.

Sen. Alex X. Mooney, R-Frederick/Washington, who often was relegated to the back bench during his first term, had a front-row seat for the inauguration along with other Republican state senators.

Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington, has served in the legislature for 28 years. But not until now has he had the opportunity to work with a Republican governor.

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"It'll be nice to go knock on his door and see him, hopefully whenever I want," said Munson, whose guest for the ceremony was Gidget Maffitt of Hagerstown.

Del. Robert A. McKee, R-Washington, said he remembers campaigning for the last Republican governor, Spiro T. Agnew, who took office in 1967.

"It's a new day, and Bob Ehrlich deserves his day in the sun," said Del. John P. Donoghue, D-Washington.

About 25 county residents came to watch the Boonsboro High School marching band in the Parade of Counties that followed the inaugural.

"We're mostly here for our kids," said Lorie Cunningham, 36, whose two daughters, Heather and Kayla, are members of the band.

"And the school. And the county," added Jeff Leggett, 43. Leggett's son Aaron plays drums.

The Republican Ehrlich-Steele ticket got 69 percent of the vote in Washington County.

But some Ehrlich supporters decided to stay home rather than face the crowds and below-freezing temperatures for the outdoor ceremony.

Mildred "Mickey" Myers, who chaired the Washington County Republican Central Committee during the election, said she would have a better and more comfortable vantage point from her living room.

The inauguration festivities were paid for with nearly $1 million in private contributions.

Magnolia Management Inc., Allegheny Energy and Wayne Alter of Hagerstown each contributed $1,000, according to a list provided by the governor's transition team.

Magnolia president and chief executive officer Peter E. Perini Sr. attended the inauguration.

"I certainly hope he's successful for all of our sakes. The state needs him at this juncture," said Perini, a Democrat who tried to unseat McKee during the election.

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