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School unions endorse commissioner incumbents


The unions representing Carroll County teachers and other school employees announced their endorsements Friday of candidates in six local elections. They chose incumbents for county commissioner and the school board, and newcomers in other races.

The endorsements by leaders in the Carroll County Education Association and Carroll Association of School Employees are meant to be recommendations to members. The two groups have about 1,600 members.

The groups did not endorse candidates who did not complete a written questionnaire or appear before a nine-member interviewing committee, said Jim Torretti, a South Carroll High School math teacher who co-chaired the committee.

Committee members asked candidates about school performance, how to handle growth in the student population, educational mandates and other issues.

The groups endorsed candidates in the following races:

* County Commissioner [three seats] -- Republican incumbent Donald I. Dell, Democratic incumbent Elmer C. Lippy and Republican David Duree.

"We feel the incumbents have treated the educational system and its employees well over the last four years. There were no layoffs in Carroll County. That was very important," Mr. Torretti said.

The unions also endorsed Mr. Dell and Mr. Lippy four years ago, he said.

The third incumbent commissioner -- Julia W. Gouge -- is the lieutenant governor candidate with Republican William S. Shepard.

Mr. Torretti said school employees were impressed with Mr. Duree, a businessman from New Windsor and a member of the county Planning and Zoning Commission.

"We think he has some wonderful ideas. He also has a history of working well with other groups of people," Mr. Torretti said.

Two Republican candidates -- Richard T. Yates and Charles L. Stull -- did not interview with the unions.

Other candidates in the race are Democrats David A. Grand, Rebecca A. Orenstein, Cornelius M. "Neil" Ridgely and Grover N. "Sam" Sensabaugh, and Republican W. Benjamin Brown.

* Board of Education (two seats open; four candidates in the nonpartisan race advance from the primary to the November general election) -- incumbent Carolyn L. Scott and newcomer Carole M. "Cyd" Pecoraro.

Mr. Torretti said of Mrs. Scott, "Overall, she's an incumbent who has treated us well."

The unions have endorsed her in the past, he said.

Mrs. Pecoraro was well-spoken and knowledgeable about educational issues and the political process, he said. The committee also was impressed that she has been attending school board meetings.

Candidate Laura E. Albers did not participate in the interview process.

Other school board candidates are: Michael R. Baker, Gary W. Bauer, Evelyn E. Butler, Wayne Cogswell, Kathleen P. Hamblet, Thomas G. Hiltz, Deborah J. Paisie and Deborah Jane Winter.

* District 5 Delegate (three seats) -- Democrat Ellen L. Willis and Republican Stephen R. Chapin Sr.

The committee did not feel strongly enough about any other candidate to endorse a third person, he said.

Four candidates -- incumbent Democrat Richard N. Dixon, who has been in office since 1983; and Republicans Thomas J. Cassella, Joseph H. Mettle and Francis X. Walsh -- did not interview with the committee.

Also in the House race are Democrats Philip R. Deitchman and Eric R. Hirtle, and Republicans W. David Blair, Joseph M. Getty, Nancy R. Stocksdale and Jerry L. Toadvine.

* District 5 Senate (one seat) -- Democrat Cynthia Huggins Cummings, who is the Carroll County Education Association president.

Mr. Torretti said the other two candidates -- incumbent Republican Larry E. Haines and Democrat Rachelle Feldman-Hurwitz -- did not interview with the committee.

* District 4B Delegate (one seat) -- No endorsement.

Committee members interviewed both candidates -- incumbent Republican Donald B. Elliott and Democrat Roy S. Pfeiffer -- but did not endorse either, Mr. Torretti said.

* District 4 Senate (one seat) -- Democrat George H. Littrell Jr.

The unions took the recommendation of their Frederick County counterparts, who interviewed Mr. Littrell and Republican Timothy R. Ferguson, Mr. Torretti said. Most of District 4 is in Frederick County.

If any of the endorsed candidates loses in the primary, the union would consider making other recommendations for the general election, Mr. Torretti said.

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