Baltimore County executive C. A. Dutch Ruppersberger III yesterday threw his support behind state Sen. Delores G. Kelley for the 7th Congressional District seat, saying that he believes she will best represent both the city and the county.
Mrs. Kelley, a Randallstown resident, represents a senate district that includes Baltimore and Baltimore County. She is one of 27 Democrats competing for the seat being vacated by Kweisi Mfume, who resigned Sunday to assume the presidency of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Mr. Ruppersberger said Mrs. Kelley got his endorsement because she will promote a regional approach to solving problems. About one-third of the 7th District is in Baltimore County, with the rest in the city.
"It is very important that we work together. And I know that Senator Kelley is the only candidate that represents both the city and the county and has that experience," Mr. Ruppersberger said during a late morning press conference at the Woodmoor Shopping Center on Liberty Road.
Mrs. Kelley said she would take the same regional approach to representing the 7th Congressional District as she has during her year and a half tenure as state senator in the 10th legislative district. "Our communities have more in common than they have differences," she said.
Mr. Ruppersberger said he also appreciated Mrs. Kelley's support when he opposed Baltimore's public housing settlement with the American Civil Liberties Union, which involved shifting inner-city families to the counties. At the time, Mr. Ruppersberger, over his strong denial, was accused of opposing the settlement because it involved moving black families into the suburbs.
"I really needed to make sure that we talked and had communication with all of our African American leaders so they'd know where I was on the issue," he said. "And Delores was right there."
Kevin Kamenetz, chairman of the Baltimore County Council who represents the Randallstown area that is part of the 7th District, added his support. "I know her to be an individual who is hard working, sincere, dedicated, responsive and one who is interested in representing all parts of her district," he said.
Mr. Ruppersberger offered Mrs. Kelley the expertise of his own campaign staff. "We're going to do what we have to do to help her win," he said. "I don't like to support losers."