Governor's wife visits

Ehrlich speaks to CASA gathering

Ehrlich speaks to CASA gathering

March 13, 2003|by MARLO BARNHART

While praising CASA's volunteers and staff for their work combating domestic violence in Washington County, the wife of Maryland's governor said Wednesday night she fears the agency and others will face cuts if her husband's call for slots fails.

"The governor needs his budget to balance and it won't without slots," Kendal Ehrlich said as she addressed CASA's annual dinner meeting at Four Points Sheraton on Dual Highway.

She said her husband, Gov. Robert Ehrlich, was committed to his promise not to increase sales or income taxes in Maryland.


"So if the budget isn't met, cuts will happen," she said.

"If you are opposed to gambling, you are not going to be in the gambling venue anyway," Ehrlich said, noting that the plan is to introduce slots only where gambling is already occurring.

"Believe me, my husband isn't thrilled about balancing his budget on gambling, but he doesn't want to cut and he doesn't want to tax," she said.

On the issue of domestic violence, Ehrlich said she learned a lot when she was a prosecutor in Harford County, Md.

"I was looking at CASA's statistics - we think of this problem as urban-based but it's not, obviously," she said.

Kendal Sibiski Ehrlich is a Maryland native who earned her law degree from the University of Baltimore. Although she isn't practicing law now, she urged CASA staff and volunteers to stress education to their clients as one way to work themselves out of abusive situations.

"We really need to work on how we bring up our girls," Ehrlich said. "It is up to us to instill in women the need to be able to take care of themselves and any children they have."

All too often, the victims of domestic violence stay in the abusive relationship because they feel they can't support themselves and their children on their own, she told those from CASA - Citizens Assisting and Sheltering the Abused.

Ehrlich said her father told her that once she had her law degree, no one could take that away from her.

"I can always fall back on that," she said.

Several awards were handed out at Wednesday night's dinner including:

  • Heather Collins, outstanding board member

  • Dona Nikirk, outstanding staff member

  • Jesse Witmer, outstanding volunteer

Lt. Jack Hall of the Hagerstown City Police Department was elected the new president of the CASA board of directors, succeeding Sharon Leatherman.

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