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Donald Munson says he's ready for four more years

June 08, 2006|by TAMELA BAKER

ANNAPOLIS

He's been a member of the Maryland General Assembly longer than some of his legislative colleagues have been alive, and after nearly 32 years as a lawmaker - and despite the occasional rumor to the contrary - Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington, is ready for four more.

"I like my job," he said Wednesday. "I get up in the morning looking forward to it."

He recently made it official by filing for re-election.

And so far, he has no opposition.

First elected to the House of Delegates in 1974, Munson served four terms in the House before successfully challenging former Sen. Patricia Cushwa in 1990 for the seat formerly held by her husband, the late Victor Cushwa, D-Washington.

Since 1992, Munson has served on the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee, where this year he backed bills to enhance benefits to correctional officers and other public safety officers, including expanded death benefits to their families if the officer is killed in the line of duty.

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"If I am fortunate enough to come back, I anticipate returning to the budget committee," Munson said. Being on that committee allows him to help secure funding for the University System of Maryland at Hagerstown, Potomac Center, Western Maryland Center and other state-supported agencies "that provide services and jobs in Washington County," he said.

Munson said he's committed to further growth at Hagerstown's university campus.

"We need to build the university," he said. "What we've got now is a night school it's got to become a day school."

Citing a Herald-Mail editorial about the need for more local students to pursue higher education, he said, "the more available we make higher education, the more opportunities we can provide."

Though he spends more time in Annapolis than other local legislators, Munson said his focus is Washington County.

"My reputation over the years has always been about personal service," he said. "My focus will continue to be Washington County. It's a changing county with a lot of challenges."

He credited the Washington County Delegation for working together for the county's greater good.

"Many delegations do not; they're very competitive," he noted.

When first elected to the General Assembly, Munson was one of a handful of Republicans in the legislature. But in recent years, the number of Republican lawmakers has risen with each election. This year, the GOP hopes to win 14 more House seats and five more in the Senate. One of the seats targeted is occupied by Del. John P. Donoghue, D-Washington. And one of the Republican candidates is Paul Muldowney, a former delegate, a former Washington County Delegation chairman and a former Democrat.

Munson and Muldowney have had disagreements in the past, but Munson vowed to stay neutral during the Republican primary race between Muldowney and former Hagerstown City Council candidate Scott Hesse, and to work with whoever wins.

"The bottom line is this is about Washington County," he said. "I'll certainly do my part."

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