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Del. Shank files for re-election

June 23, 2006|by TAMELA BAKER

ANNAPOLIS

So far as Del. Christopher B. Shank was concerned, there couldn't be a better day to file for re-election.

The Washington County Republican was in Annapolis Thursday to watch Gov. Robert Ehrlich sign a comprehensive bill to tighten up penalties and monitoring for sex offenders, a piece of legislation Shank had worked hard to get the General Assembly to approve. It had died in the final moments of the legislature's regular session in April; last week's special session on utility rates afforded another chance to get the bill passed, and when the score was tallied, the bill won unanimous approval in the House and received only five negative votes in the Senate.

Watching Ehrlich sign the bill gave Shank "a big sense of accomplishment," he said. Afterward, he went over to the state elections office and signed up for another four years.

After eight years of representing District 2B, which encompasses an area stretching from just east of Hagerstown through most of southern Washington County, Shank said, "I still wake up every day and love doing my job."

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So far, Shank has no challengers in his bid for a third term in the General Assembly.

Shank defeated former Del. D. Bruce Poole by fewer than 250 votes to win the seat in 1998, then trounced Democratic challenger David Russo by better than a 2-to-1 margin in 2002.

From his position on the House Judiciary Committee, Shank has championed a number of bills aimed at "protecting children, protecting families and public safety," he said. Those include bills to crack down on Internet pornography and online predators, as well as this year's sex offender bill.

He also sponsored a companion bill this year to Senate legislation to provide confidentiality for victims of domestic violence. Sen. Alex X. Mooney, R-Washington/Frederick, had attempted for three years to get the bill passed, but until this year, it stalled in the House.

But Shank said there remain unresolved issues he wants to tackle in a new term, such as relief for physicians facing mounting medical malpractice insurance charges.

"We have got to readdress this and we've gotta get it done," Shank said.

Shank currently serves as chairman of the Washington County Delegation. In that role, he said, he's concerned about continuing challenges posed by development.

"I've been hearing a lot of quality of life concerns" from constituents, Shank said, adding that he wants the county to "stay a unique place to raise a family, and a safe place to raise a family."

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