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Trent Kittleman enters race for District 9A

The Twitter feed from Trent Kittleman's 2010 campaign for County Executive is filled with tweets about waving signs along the roadways of Howard County.

Three years later, she's ready to pick up where she left off, this time in support of her run for a seat in the state's House of Delegates.

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Kittleman, a Republican from West Friendship, has filed as a candidate in District 9A, which encompasses most of western Howard County and part of southern Carroll County.

Kittleman says sign-waving is one-half of the "famous formula" of her late husband Bob Kittleman, who represented District 9 in the House for 19 years and as a senator for two years before his death in 2004.

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The other half of the equation, she said, is knocking on doors. And she's excited to start campaigning and meeting voters.

"I'm looking forward to talking to people who share similar beliefs," she said.

Because of recent district changes, there may be more of them. Before redistricting last year, District 9A included a portion of Ellicott City that is now represented by District 9B. The addition of parts of southern Carroll County, including the towns of Eldersburg and Sykesville, make for what many think will be a more solidly Republican district.

In District 9A, constituents are concerned about state government spending and regulation, according to Kittleman, who has been involved with the Republican Party for 40 years.

"My sense from everything that's happened in the last session is that most of the people in the district are concerned that the government in Maryland — not only is it spending way, way more than it should but that it is passing some very bad bills, things that overregulate," she said, citing last session's gun-control bill and the stormwater fee, passed in 2012, as examples.

"There were other bills that were brought up and passed without much effort because it's a one-party state," she added.

But Kittleman says she is hardly a party-line ideologue. She says she has a career history of transcending political divisions. When she worked at the Maryland Transportation Authority during the administration of former Gov. Bob Ehrlich, first as deputy secretary and later as president and CEO, she cultivated relationships with legislators, many of whom were Democrats.

"I developed a very good rapport with a lot of people down [in Annapolis] on very, very important issues and I think that's an important quality for a legislator," she said of her time at the MTA.

"My approach is that in general Democrats and Republicans have the exact same goal as to what kind of a world we would like it to be," she said. "But the difference is how do we get there? My approach is not based on philosophical purity."

Kittleman says she shares this pragmatic attitude with her stepson, Allan Kittleman, a Republican who represents District 9 in the Maryland Senate and recently announced a bid for County Executive. Gail Bates, who along with Warren Miller currently represents District 9A in the House, is expected to run for Allan Kittleman's Senate seat.

The opening of a seat long held by an incumbent should attract many new contenders to the race. So far only Kittleman and Miller have filed, but Miller said he expects four to eight more candidates to enter the running before the primary.

"It's rare that we have one of these openings," Miller said. "The last time we had openings was when Gail [Bates] and I got our seats, and that was over 10 years ago."

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For now, Kittleman is gearing up for the fall, when she will launch her campaign.

"I have my campaign pretty planned out," she said. "I'm almost ready to knock on doors."

And wave signs, too.

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