John Giannetti Jr. knew he wanted to be a state legislator before he entered the University of Maryland Law School a decade ago. He says he would look for mistakes in the laws he was studying so he could change them one day.
"I can probably show you notes from law classes that I've written down that say, 'must fix this when I'm in Annapolis,' " Giannetti said. "So it's something I've wanted to do for a very long time."
And it may be a longer time yet before the 33-year-old Laurel Democrat will be able to represent District 13B, unless his opponent, incumbent Republican John S. Morgan, is tapped to be Ellen R. Sauerbrey's running mate. When Giannetti faced Morgan in 1994, Morgan won by a wide margin, 57 percent to 43 percent.
Undaunted, Giannetti last night formally kicked off his second bid to unseat Morgan in the legislative district that represents pieces of Prince George's and Howard counties, including Laurel and parts of North Laurel.
Giannetti, a practicing lawyer who announced his candidacy in Laurel and is a member of the Laurel Board of Appeals, is 'D running on the campaign slogan, "Laurel First," saying he would pay more attention to his district than does Morgan.
"He's made no bones about saying he wouldn't mind being lieutenant governor if Sauerbrey picks him, so he's thinking about these issues on a statewide level, where I would be thinking about them on a local level," Giannetti said.
Morgan is interested in becoming Sauerbrey's running mate, and after two terms in the General Assembly, he is considered a serious contender for the ticket.
But Morgan says he has paid plenty of attention to his district. He says he worked to beat back a plan for a stadium in Laurel for the Washington Redskins, he's advocated allowing charity gambling again in Laurel, and he opposed Rouse Co.'s development proposal in North Laurel.
Giannetti says he will be more effective at helping his district because he is a Democrat and "Annapolis is run by the Democrats. You have to really work with the leadership and get bills passed," he says.
Morgan disputes that as "partisan politics," and points out that Republicans may take the governor's mansion this year.
Giannetti says he would seek legislation that would allow victims of domestic violence to get a divorce immediately rather than wait a year for it to be final, a bill that would require road builders zTC to repair any defects found within five years of construction of a road and a bill that would give the Laurel area its own three-member legislative district.
Giannetti might file another bill, one that he's been thinking about since law school, when he noticed one of those "mistakes" in the law he'd like to fix.
"I would like to see a landlord-tenant bill of rights," Giannetti said. He said the landlord-tenant law is too complex. "[Now] you'd have a tough time deciphering what your responsibilities are if you're a landlord or a tenant. I would help make the law easier to understand for individuals."
Pub Date: 5/22/98