Democrats in Howard County's councilmanic District 4 have a difficult choice to make in the Sept. 13 primary. The two candidates, James B. Kraft and Mary C. Lorsung, boast impressive credentials, not to mention fairly similar views on the issues. Both also have the backing of other prominent county Democrats; Councilman C. Vernon Gray is supporting Mr. Kraft and departing Councilman Paul R. Farragut endorses Ms. Lorsung.
Because of her extensive experience with direct community service, The Sun's endorsement also goes to Ms. Lorsung.
A resident of her West Columbia community for 22 years, Ms. Lorsung has served since 1989 as special assistant to Mr. Farragut, who decided not to seek re-election in District 4. Prior to that, Ms. Lorsung was an assistant to Del. Virginia M. Thomas, was a founding member of five local community service groups and volunteered for 11 others.
Her endorsement by Mr. Farragut, who was regarded as fair and independent on the council, is considered a plus in her Columbia community, which includes the oldest and most rapidly growing parts of the city. As the former village manager for the Harper's Choice Community Association, the 56-year-old Ms. Lorsung possesses the community ties and background in constituent service that are ideally suited for her district.
Mr. Kraft's experience is also impressive, including the chairmanship of several local organizations and membership in the Howard County Chamber of Commerce. The 45-year-old attorney formerly was an assistant public defender in the county and currently runs his own law office in Columbia. His background in local party politics is extensive, including chairmanship of the Howard County Democratic Central Committee.
On the Republican side, three relative unknowns are running. We favor Mary Ann Wilkerson, a nursing instructor for the University of Maryland Baltimore County with expertise in local health-related organizations. She is opposed to raising taxes and is a proponent of school-based management.
Her opponents, Riaz H. Rana and Robert E. O'Brien, have run extremely low-key campaigns.
Tomorrow: Council District 5 endorsements.