The Maryland League of Conservation Voters endorsed Maryland Senate candidate Jim Brochin in the 42nd District yesterday, praising his views on preserving open space and protecting the Chesapeake and deriding his opponent, Del. Martha S. Klima, as having one of the worst environmental records of any state legislator.
Susan Brown, executive director of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters, said she believes Brochin, a Democrat who has never held elective office, would be an effective advocate for environmental issues. Klima, a Republican delegate since 1983, has a lifetime rating of 24 percent on the organization's annual scorecards,, nearly 40 points lower than the average legislator, Brown said.
Brochin and Klima are unopposed in their primaries in the 42nd District, which covers the greater Towson area.
"We are confident [Brochin] will be a great voice for us in Annapolis. He will stand up for everything people here care about: open space, clean air, clean water and the Chesapeake," Brown said.
In contrast, the group provided three-page handouts listing what it calls Klima's "anti-environment votes." The league listed her opposition to the creation of the Office of Smart Growth, the establishment of the Community Legacy program, a water quality bill designed to address the Pfiesteria crisis, among dozens of other environment-related bills.
The group also criticized her for attempting to eliminate mandatory vehicle emissions inspections and for supporting the Intercounty Connector road project in Montgomery and Prince George's counties.
"Real fans of mine, aren't they?" Klima said.
She said many votes the league criticized reflected her belief that programs dealing with "critical human needs" are more important than conservation.
"If you ask me, 'Delegate Klima, do you think it is more important to have Smart Growth or lead paint abatement programs and substance abuse programs to better the lives of human beings,' absolutely I stand on my record," she said. "I'm delighted with my record, and I think my constituents are, too."
Brochin said he also supports those sorts of programs and backs allowing slot machines at racetracks in hopes that with the revenue they generate the state can afford both.
"I think the environment is so important because it's a quality-of-life issue," he said. "You can't just keep developing or there's not going to be anything left."