New county GOP chairman to lead referendum effort

As they gear up for an election referendum campaign to limit tax increases, Howard County Republicans have chosen Howard Rensin, a 60-year old Glenwood resident and party activist, to replace Louis M. Pope as party chairman.

The party is mailing about 7,000 letters this week seeking support for the independently sponsored signature drive to place on the November ballot a charter amendment that would make it harder for county government to raise income or property taxes.


The measure would require four of the five County Council members to approve any increase and also would force the county executive to get approval from the council before submitting an increase. The effort was sparked by the 30 percent income tax rate increase County Executive James N. Robey, a Democrat, pushed through last year.

Pope, who left his post after more than seven years to become the party's Maryland national committeeman, said the GOP plans to mount a full-scale campaign to collect the required 10,000 signatures and ensure passage of the charter amendment.


Rensin, owner of North American Investment, a commercial lending firm, said he has lived in Howard County for 10 years and has served on the party central committee for two years. He was chosen unanimously at a meeting Wednesday night, Pope said.

"I want to revitalize our precinct organization and have it more focused on a grass-roots effort, not only for 2004, but for 2006," he said.

For the record

An article published in Friday's Howard County edition of The Sun about the selection of a new county Republican Party chairman inaccurately attributed a quote about preparations for elections this year and in 2006 to Louis M. Pope, the former chairman. The comment was made by Howard Rensin, the party's new central committee chairman.The Sun regrets the error.