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Many ex-leaders say they will not seek public office again

Bruce Poole, Richard Roulette and others say they are happier with thier lives now that they don't have to deal with unhappy con

Bruce Poole, Richard Roulette and others say they are happier with thier lives now that they don't have to deal with unhappy con

February 17, 2003|by TAMELA BAKER

tammyb@herald-mail.com

Among them, they have some 76 years of experience as political leaders. But many former Washington County officials defeated by political newcomers took their election losses as a sign that voters "thought it was time for a change," as former House Majority Leader Bruce Poole put it.

"I think I'm done with Washington County politics," Poole said. "I love my life right now. I have a great family, my law practice is booming and I have a great church. And I can go to the gun club and shoot, and nobody comes over to bend my ear."

"I'm happy now," said former Washington County Commissioners President Richard Roulette. "There's a reason for everything - I might be happier now than where I might have been."

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Roulette ran for the House of Delegates in 1998. His loss to Robert McKee was his first election defeat.

"I was so consumed by all the duties that when I look back on it I don't quite understand how I did it," Roulette said. "And I know I couldn't do it again."

Former state Sen. Jack Derr said his last campaign convinced him not to seek elected office again. Although he said he enjoyed the 16 years he served Washington and Frederick counties in the Senate, the 1998 campaign with successor Alex Mooney "was so rotten and so negative that I promised my family, especially my wife, 'I will not put you through this again.'"

Sometimes former officials believe voters don't appreciate their efforts.

"You put in a lot of hours and do your best to make fair decisions, and when you've done that and put your best foot forward and then you lose, it hurts," Roulette said. "It really hurts."

Former House Speaker Casper R. Taylor Jr., upset last year by Republican opponent LeRoy Myers, may not be ready to hang up his political hat.

"Certainly, the door is open," he said. "As long as this legislator is in good health, I would not rule it out."

Former Del. Paul Muldowney did run again - for several offices. In 1994, he was the Democratic nominee for the House of Representatives seat now occupied by Roscoe Bartlett. He has since switched parties, and said he hasn't ruled out seeking office in the future.

He and Poole have found other ways to put their expertise to use. Muldowney served for a time on the Washington County Gaming Commission, and Poole sits on the state Ethics Commission.

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