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Anne Arundel endorsements [Editorial]

2:11 PM EDT, June 18, 2014

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The Sun makes endorsements in the following races in Anne Arundel County:

District 30-A

Voters in this Annapolis area district have the rare privilege of being represented by incumbent House Speaker Mike Busch, and Democrats should avail themselves of the opportunity to nominate him for an eighth term. His record in leadership has been commendable, and he has done much for the district as well.

But the redrawn district also affords Democrats the chance to capture a second seat in the two-person district. That privilege should go to Cheryl Miller, 61, of Annapolis, a commercial property manager who led Barack Obama's 2008 campaign in Anne Arundel County. Ms. Miller wants to focus on education and the achievement gap in school and would be only the second African-American to represent the county in the State House and the first since the late Aris T. Allen, a Republican, who died in 1991.

District 31-A

In the Democratic primary in District 31A, former Anne Arundel County School board president Ned Carey is vying with John Moran, a University of Maryland Baltimore County police lieutenant, and business owner Robert Haynes to fill the open seat now held by Delegate Schuh.

Mr. Moran and Mr. Haynes are both political newcomers. By contrast, Mr. Carey, who works as the chief administrative officer at Baltimore Washington International Thurgood Marshall Airport, won the county's Democratic-leaning northern precincts when he ran for state Senate in 2010.

In addition, he has compiled a long record of public service as a former member of the Anne Arundel County Spending Affordability Committee, where he served two terms as chairman, and on the boards of Medstar Harbor Hospital, the Chesapeake Arts Center in Brooklyn Park, Opportunity Builders Inc. and other local institutions. He is easily the best qualified by experience to represent voters in the new District 31-A, and we are pleased to endorse his candidacy.

District 31-B

In the two-seat District 31-B we support Stan Janor, an attorney in the Anne Arundel County Public Defender's Office, and Jeremiah Chiappelli, who practices family law in Pasadena. Both are determinedly moderate Democrats whose views on middle-class tax relief, gun control, public safety and other issues are more in line with the libertarian, conservative bent of the district's voters.

In the Republican primary, voters have an opportunity to make a real statement on where they stand. Step one would be to re-elect House Minority Leader Nicholaus "Nic" Kipke of Pasadena to a third term. Mr. Kipke assumed his leadership post just last year but has already proven himself more effective, and less abrasive, than his predecessor — convincing Democrats, for example, to accept an amendment banning casinos from accepting Maryland's electronic "Independence" welfare benefit cards.

Voters should be just as pleased to finally retire incumbent Del. Don Dwyer, who holds the painful distinction of having been convicted of both drunk driving and drunken boating over the last two years. He should have resigned from office after his most recent conviction, a charge of drunken boating for which he was found guilty and sentenced to 30 consecutive weekends in jail beginning last October.

Choosing from a crowded field of candidates anxious to replace Mr. Dwyer is not easy, but we believe the nod should go Gus Kurtz, 50, a familiar name to many in Anne Arundel who might have held their wedding reception at Kurtz's Beach, the family-owned waterfront banquet facility in Pasadena built by the candidate's grandparents. A home builder and car dealer, he would bring a local business owner's perspective to the job.

District 32

With the development of the Maryland Live casino at Arundel Mills and other changes, the northwestern end of the county is evolving, attracting new jobs and new residents, and its representation in Annapolis ought to change with it. Democrats should, however, retain the services of two-term incumbent Pamela Beidle, the legislature's well-regarded "condo queen" as she's often called for her expertise on matters of commercial management and homeowners association law.

Mary Ann Love, who served in the House since 1993, has chosen to retire, and Theodore "Ted" Sophocleus, 75, should have, particularly after a bout of pneumonia sidelined him for an extended period during the last legislative session. Mr. Sophocleus, a former county council member and onetime candidate for county executive, has served with honor, but his strongly conservative views — he has opposed every tax increase and voted against marriage equality legislation — are no longer in keeping with his party's contemporary sentiments.

In their place, we recommend Democrats support Spencer Dove, 27, of Severn, an employee of the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights and onetime intern for Delegate Beidle. He would like to focus on public education and college affordability, small business growth an entrepreneurial opportunities. We also give the nod to Mark Chang, 37, a manufacturing consultant who is widely known as a former liaison to county government for the northern portion of the county. He wants most to work on the areas of job creation and stimulating the economy. Mr. Chang, who has been candid about his switch from the GOP to the Democratic Party two years ago, would be the county's first Korean-American in elected office.


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