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In 2B race, agreement on issues, but not qualifications

September 08, 2010|By ANDREW SCHOTZ
  • Ted Brennan
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Republican state delegate candidates Ted Brennan and Neil Parrott have similar political perspectives.

They're both presenting themselves as conservative replacements for Del. Christopher B. Shank, who is running for Donald F. Munson's state Senate seat instead of seeking re-election in Subdistrict 2B.

Brennan said he and Parrott -- opponents in Tuesday's primary -- think alike on the state's budget deficit, government overregulation of business and social issues, such as gun ownership.

Brennan, a Keedysville resident with Capitol Hill experience, said he and Parrott differ in qualifications.

"Neil talks about it," Brennan said. "I've actually done it."

Parrott, who lives near Hagerstown, said his main concerns are reducing taxes and the size of government, leading to more jobs.

He said Brennan's time is spent inside the Beltway, not in Washington County.

"As a lobbyist in D.C., he's really out of touch with this community," Parrott said.

The winner of Tuesday's Republican primary will face Democrat Brien J. Poffenberger in the Nov. 2 general election.

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Brennan has worked in Washington, D.C., for the House Committee on International Relations and the Senate International Narcotics Control Caucus, as well as former U.S. Rep. Cass Ballenger, R-N.C.

With the firm Tew Cardenas LLP in D.C., he worked on national security, counterterrorism and other topics, according to his resume. He was a legislative assistant in D.C. for the American Legislative Exchange Council, a nonprofit organization that supports conservative lawmakers.

Brennan is assistant director of government relations for the D.C.-based ONE Campaign, which fights poverty and disease, particularly in Africa.

Parrott owns Traffic Solutions Inc. in Hagerstown, a traffic-consulting business.

He formed the Hagerstown TEA (Taxed Enough Already) Party, a local offshoot of a national movement, and has led several trips to D.C. to join rallies.

Brennan pointed to his time holding elected office as an advantage over Parrott.

Brennan was elected in 2002 to a one-year term on the town council in Emmitsburg, Md.

Parrott said Brennan voted to raise the property tax rate as soon as he took office.

In April 2002, the town council agreed to raise the rate from 30 cents per $100 of assessed value to 36 cents, meeting minutes show.

However, in June 2002, just after Brennan took office, the council had to vote again on the increase to fix a technical error. According to meeting minutes, Brennan said he usually wouldn't vote for a tax increase, but the previous council approved it.

On Wednesday, Brennan said the new council was "boxed in" and had no chance to debate the increase.

Parrott also said Brennan voted to raise water and sewer tap fees.

Brennan responded that those were fees for service, not taxes. The town had to raise fees to pay for a new water pressure tank, the town manager is quoted as saying in meeting minutes.

Parrott said he has comparable experience as an office holder while serving on the board of his housing development, the Hamptons at Brightwood.

He said the management company suggested an emergency hike in the fees, but he and the rest of the board cut spending dramatically and prevented the increase.

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