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Another Republican slate

June 24, 2005

Even though it didn't work well in the Hagerstown City Council race, a group of Western Maryland delegates to the Maryland General Assembly has decided to run as a slate in the 2006 campaign.

If the effort forces the candidates to stake out clear and firm positions, that would be a good thing. If it is only a mechanism to raise enough money to bury their foes in a mound of dollar bills, that would not be so good.

Like their counterparts in the city, the members of this slate are Republicans. Their roster, at this point, includes: Del. Richard Weldon, R-Frederick, Washington; Dels. Patrick Hogan and Joseph Bartlett, R-Frederick; Del. LeRoy Myers Jr., D-Allegany, Washington and Dels. Robert McKee and Christopher Shank of Washington County.

Weldon told The Frederick News-Post that running as a slate will "help us get our act together as a group."

In a group statement, slate members said they hope to build a veto-proof majority for Gov. Robert Ehrlich and elect a "100 percent Republican legislative team for our region."

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The Herald-Mail backed Ehrlich in his bid for office and has supported his initiative to legalize slot machines at the state's race tracks. The so-far-successful effort by House Speaker Michael Busch to block that bill has left the state without a vital revenue source needed to reduce the state's structural deficit.

As top Democrats push a probe of the Ehrlich administration's hiring practices, we believe Republicans would score points with voters if they campaigned for protections for career state employees.

We understand that certain appointments are political, but an expert in the field of water quality, for example, shouldn't be subject to dismissal just because control of the governor's office goes to another party.

It would be a travesty if such workers' jobs were at risk every time there is a change in the party affiliation of Maryland's governor. If Ehrlich is not re-elected in 2006, the people hired under his watch should not be shown the door without good cause.

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