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The Howard County Times' choices for state races

District 9

County executive candidate Allan Kittleman's Senate seat in District 9 is being sought by Democrat Ryan Frederic, a business owner, and current state delegate Gail Bates, a Republican. Bates' 13 years of experience in Annapolis would serve her well in a move from the House to the Senate.

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In the House race for District 9A, which includes western Howard County and parts of Ellicott City and Carroll County, we are affirming our primary endorsement of incumbent Republican Warren Miller, and adding an endorsement of Wally Carson for the second seat.

Republican Trent Kittleman, a former county executive candidate, and attorney James Ward Morrow, a Democrat, are the other two candidates for these seats.

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A fiscal conservative who has served this part of Howard and Carroll County since 2003, Miller is focused on the need to maintain a business climate that doesn't scare aware business owners and won't harm the economy.

Carson would be a good representative from this rural area as land preservation and protection is among his top concerns. He is also in favor of clarifying referendum laws in Maryland and has said he will take a close look at any new taxes that might be proposed at the state level.

House District 9B, which is comprised mostly of Ellicott City, pits Republican and former House member Robert Flanagan against Democrat attorney and blogger Tom Coale. We endorse Coale, who has been a community activist for issues such as homelessness and, as a member of the Columbia Association board, was an early supporter of the Inner Arbor plan for Symphony Woods.

District 12

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With the district to be represented by three newcomers in the House of Delegates, veteran Ed Kasemeyer should get a chance to return to Annapolis over Republican challenger Jesse Pippy. Kasemeyer's 20-plus years of experience in the Senate and his chairmanship of the powerful Budget and Taxation Committee is an advantage to those he represents.

In the House race, District 12 will look completely different. Not only are incumbent delegates Liz Bobo, Steven DeBoy and James Malone not seeking re-election, but the district is no longer divided into subdistricts. This means voters start with a new slate in the selection of three delegates.

Vying for these three seats are Republicans Joe Hooe, Rick Martel and Gordon Bull and Democrats Eric Ebersole, Terri Hill and Clarence Lam.

While the Republicans rightly tout the benefits of making Maryland less of a one-party state, we believe Ebersole, Hill and Lam will provide wide-ranging representation for their constituents in Baltimore and Howard counties. Ebersole, a life-long Catonsville resident and educator, along with Hill and Lam, both medical doctors from Columbia, bring different perspectives to the table.

At the same time we would encourage them to become a dependable presence at community association meetings and continuing to keep education and economic development as top priorities as they represent this newly formed district. We believe residents of District 12 will find their views are being represented in Annapolis, no matter what side of the county line they live on.

District 13

The Senate seat in District 13 is open thanks to the retirement of incumbent Jim Robey. Vying to take over for Robey are Republican newcomer Jody Venkatesan and current delegate Guy Guzzone, a Democrat.

Venkatesan, an auditor from North Laurel, has run a spirited campaign and has decried the Democratic-controlled legislature and, by extension, Guzzone, over spending issues and the health exchange rollout. It's a common theme for Republicans and one that is resonating in many races. But Guzzone's years of service to Howard County is hard to deny. He's served two terms on the Howard County Council followed by two terms in the House of Delegates. Guzzone is a pragmatic politician who has been chair of Howard's House delegation and most notably has been an advocate to those with disabilities as well as the environment. Guzzone receives our endorsement.

In the 13th District House race, Democrats Shane Pendergrass and Frank Turner are seeking re-election. Also running are newcomers Democrat Vanessa Atterbeary and Republicans Danny Eaton, Jimmy Williams and Chris Yates.

Pendergrass has continually been an important advocate for health care and senior issues and receives our endorsement. So does Turner who has represented the district well and now holds the important post of vice chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. Of the non-incumbents, we support Vanessa Atterbeary, who says job creation and schools will be her top priorities.

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