Mrs. Klima said Ms. Mikulski is out of step with the average voter, who feels that taxes are too high, that state and federal spending is excessive and that elected officials are not doing enough to turn around the nation's ailing economy.
"We're at a point where we can't continue on with business as usual," she said.
Mrs. Klima, who was elected in 1983 and serves on the House appropriations committee, said Ms. Mikulski has gotten low ratings from the National Taxpayers Union and the National Tax Limitation Committee and that her "tax-and spend policies" have hurt Maryland.
She said that Ms. Mikulski is too close philosophically to Gov. William Donald Schaefer, who she said should look harder for ways to cut spending rather than increasing spending by $700 million as he proposed Jan. 9.
"Martha Klima, if she's elected to the Senate, is going to be William Donald Schaefer's worst nightmare," she said at a press conference in Towson yesterday.
She said that more money for school construction will have to come from the jurisdictions that need the schools, and that the General Assembly should not be increasing aid to education at a time when the state is in such dire straits.
She added that federal spending could be reduced by reforming Medicaid, a federal program with costs that have shot up from $14 million in 1980 to $52.5 billion in 1991.
Mrs. Klima, 53, said she supports President Bush's proposal to reduce the amount of taxes paid on capital gains, and a proposal by U.S. Sen. Robert W. Kasten Jr., R-Wis., to give tax credits to middle-class parents.
"I think the bottom line is that the citizens of Maryland would rather have a paycheck than an unemployment check," she said.
Mrs. Klima was joined yesterday by Dels. Ellen Sauerbrey, R-Baltimore County, and A. Wade Kach, R-Baltimore County, who said they were glad to see their Republican colleague enter the race.
"I think that she would be a breath of fresh air," said Mrs. Sauerbrey. "She's much more representative of the people of this state than who we have now."
Mrs. Klima said she does not expect to buy television time before the March 3 primary, but hopes to win statewide support through the network of Republican elected officials.
Mrs. Klima and her husband, James Patrick Klima, have three children and live in Lutherville. She is among 15 Republican candidates running for the Senate seat.