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Steele forming committee to explore possible Senate run

June 16, 2005|by TARA REILLY

HAGERSTOWN

tarar@herald-mail.com

Maryland Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele said Wednesday night that he is considering a possible run for the U.S. Senate to "offer something new" to the American people.

"It's once in a lifetime," Steele, a Republican, said before giving a speech to a group of Leadership Hagerstown graduates at Fountain Head Country Club.

Steele announced Wednesday morning that he is forming an exploratory committee to help him determine whether he should run for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Sen. Paul Sarbanes, D-Md.

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"How can I continue to serve? How can I continue to offer something new?" Steele said. "We're just very pleased to be in this position right now."

Steele said in a written statement that he believes the Senate has gotten bogged down in "partisan sniping."

"We need more senators who are focused on giving people an equal opportunity for success," he said.

He said the decision-making process could take several months, but in the meantime, he plans to begin raising money for a potential Senate race, The Associated Press reported.

Republican leaders at the state and federal level have been urging Steele to run for the Senate, and the GOP nomination appears to be his for the asking, the AP reported.

Steele, 46, is the first Republican elected as lieutenant governor of Maryland. He spent three years preparing for the priesthood before beginning a law career.

"Our country has a tremendous need for leaders in the United States Senate who can bring people together," Steele said in a written statement.

Steele didn't mention the possible run for U.S. Senate in his speech to Leadership Hagerstown, a program that offers leadership training to area professionals.

Instead, he offered the graduates two pieces of advice to become effective leaders - shut up and follow.

"The first thing you have to do is shut up and listen," Steele said. "You don't know how well you have to do it until you know what needs to be done."

In instances when leaders don't know what needs to be done, Steele said they should follow someone else who knows what does.

"When you walk in the room and you're at the meeting ... first, shut up and listen," he said. "And then if the moment's right ... allow someone else to lead, and if necessary, follow. A good leader allows others to rise up and be successful."

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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