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Baltimore County endorsements

42nd District

Dr. Tim Robinson is giving Sen. Jim Brochin the toughest challenge he's faced since the Democrat was first elected to the legislature 12 years ago. Dr. Robinson, an anesthesiologist and long-time friend of U.S. Rep. Andy Harris, is running a vigorous campaign and benefits from a district that was re-drawn by State House Democrats to favor a Republican challenger to Senator Brochin. Dr. Robinson talks up the lack of philosophical competition in a General Assembly dominated by Democrats and points to the increased taxes and spending of the O'Malley years as proof that the state needs a change. His strongest issue, though, and one on which his views are not particularly partisan, is his ability as a physician to bring expertise about the health care system that has been missing a doctor's voice since Mr. Harris was elected to Congress. As he correctly notes, the state's medical system will see great changes in the years ahead as a direct and indirect result of the Affordable Care Act, and it would be useful to have a doctor in the Senate to help parse the choices ahead.

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However, that's not enough to outweigh Senator Brochin's service to the community and his record of independence. Though his party affiliation may not suit many of those in his new district, he has shown a tremendous willingness over the years to stand up to the powers-that-be in Annapolis and Towson when it's in the interests of his constituents. He has been a particularly effective voice on education issues, most notably in pushing through the legislature a bill providing Baltimore County with a hybrid elected/appointed school board — a long-time wish of county parents who were fed up with an unresponsive school administration. He was an advocate for Hereford High School parents on the issue of block scheduling and has fought for additions to relieve overcrowding at district schools. His record on environmental issues is impeccable, and although we do not always agree with him on issues like his opposition to Maryland's Dream Act, his views reflect those of most of his constituents. He has our endorsement.

District 42A

Voters will get to select one candidate from this Towson-area district. The Republican challenger, Mike McAllister, who works as a prosecutor in Prince George's County, is an appealing newcomer with relatively liberal views on social issues. However, we endorse the incumbent, Democratic Del. Steve Lafferty. His record of engagement with the community is peerless, and his views on education and the environment are closely aligned with those of the voters in his newly redrawn district.

District 42B

Republican Del. Sue Aumann is the lone incumbent in this two-member district. She is a thoughtful and experienced lawmaker who demonstrates real caring for those she serves. She has our endorsement. Democratic newcomer Robert Leonard has shown some guts in his willingness to explain his support for the unpopular stormwater management fee, aka the "rain tax." But we endorse Republican Chris West, a first-time candidate who combines socially moderate and fiscally conservative views with expertise on pension issues and education policy.

County Council District 3

The sprawling North County district features a tough match-up between Republican Del. A. Wade Kach and long-time schools activist Laurie Taylor-Mitchell, a Democrat. Both espouse similar views about the need to conserve the rural areas of the county and to exercise caution in development. Both are strong advocates for the schools, and both want to bring more citizen input and transparency to county government. The difference is experience. Ms. Taylor-Mitchell's efforts to block an addition to Loch Raven High School and to bring attention to the lack of air conditioning at Ridgely Middle (and many other schools) are commendable, and she has certainly worked hard to acquaint herself with the workings of county government. But Mr. Kach's experience as a county math teacher and later as an auditor in the school system gives him insight into education issues while his decades in the legislature mean he knows how the political process works from the inside. He was able to get things done for his constituents even when he was at a tremendous partisan disadvantage in the General Assembly, and he would do the same on the County Council.

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