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  •   Md. Democrats Celebrate Good Fortune as Inaugural Week Begins

    Promises to Programs

    During his campaign last fall, Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening (D) promised action on a number of initiatives this year. Since his reelection, the governor has indicated he will scale back some of those plans, working to get some done this year and others later in his term. Following are the priorities Glendening has identified and when he hopes to accomplish them.

    Abortion
    Campaign promise: Vowed to veto any legislation banning "partial birth" abortion unless it allows exceptions to protect a mother's health.
    Current position: Same.

    Economic Development
    Campaign promise: Vowed to increase his budget for economic development initiatives.
    Current position: Same.

    Accelerated Tax Cut
    Campaign promise: Said he wanted to expedite a half-implemented 10 percent reduction in state income taxes.
    Current position: Does not intend to speed up the program this year.

    Smart Guns
    Campaign promise: Said he would introduce legislation requiring new handguns to have safety devices that would prevent anyone but the owner from firing them.
    Current position: Has postponed the proposal for a year, in part to lobby legislators on the issue.

    New Cigarette Tax
    Campaign promise: Pledged to support a $1.50-per-pack increase in the state's cigarette tax.
    Current position: Says he will sponsor a $1-per-pack increase instead because cigarette companies recently raised prices by nearly 50 cents a pack as a result of the states' tobacco suit settlement.

    New Teachers
    Campaign promise: Planned to hire 1,100 new teachers within four years, including 278 with this year's new state budget.
    Current position: Says the first teachers will not be hired until next year, giving counties time to devise plans for using them.

    Education
    Campaign promise: Vowed to push for $250 million in annual school construction aid for the next four years and spend more money on preschool programs and higher education.
    Current position: Same.

    Gay Rights
    Campaign promise: Said he would introduce legislation banning discrimination against gay men and women.
    Current position: Same.

    By Robert E. Pierre
    Washington Post Staff Writer
    Monday, January 18, 1999; Page B09

    Maryland Gov. Parris N. Glendening kicked off inauguration week in grand style last night with a festive party that drew 1,100 friends, business and community leaders and Democrats still gloating over November's victory.

    Glendening, his wife, Frances Anne, and Lt. Gov. Kathleen Kennedy Townsend greeted well-wishers for hours, smiling for photos and chatting briefly with each one. And while they may have tired of the monotony of it all, they didn't let it show. After all, these are good times for Maryland Democrats. Glendening posted a 10 percentage-point victory over Republican Ellen R. Sauerbrey, and Democrats recaptured six seats in the General Assembly from Republicans.

    "Spirits couldn't be any higher in the party than they are now," said Peter Krauser, a Prince George's County lawyer who heads the Maryland Democratic Party, as he mingled among revelers.

    Last night's "pre-inaugural reception" at the University of Maryland at College Park kicked off a busy week for Glendening, who will be inaugurated for his second four-year term on Wednesday, an affair complete with a parade in Annapolis and a formal ball in Baltimore. Partygoers paid $75 each last night to munch on crab balls, chicken and spinach pastry, and, of course, to get a few seconds of face time with Glendening and Townsend.

    There were no speeches and few discussions of public policy as revelers listened to jazz and swing bands and were entertained by troupe of mimes. But Townsend said the week's gatherings, while mostly for fun, serve an important purpose.

    "We're celebrating a terrific campaign and getting energized for the next four years," Townsend said. The parties "give you a chance to say thank you to all those who have really helped."

    To those who have been around the political scene for a while, last night's party was a lot different than the one four years ago. At the time, Glendening had squeaked out a 6,000-vote victory over Sauerbrey. But in November, Glendening won handily, giving him broader authority to implement his policies.

    "I think Glendening has a mandate to get the things done he talked about in the campaign," said Gil Weidenfeld, the former mayor of Greenbelt.

    Del. Peter Franchot (D-Montgomery) agreed, saying that Glendening will likely see less resistance to his policies among lawmakers in Annapolis.

    "In Annapolis, power is 90 percent of the game, and Parris has undisputed power because of his election victory," Franchot said. "He will find a lot more cooperation. There will still be tension and institutional rivalry between the executive and legislative branches. But the dynamic which said that 'Parris is weak and we can criticize him freely and oppose him free' is over."

    That remains to be seen, as Glendening has been forced for four years to fend off challenges to his authority from legislative leaders, as well as some back benchers. And it is unclear what kind of relationship Glendening will have with Democratic leaders like Prince George's County Executive Wayne K. Curry and Baltimore Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke, who both backed a rival Democrat in last summer's primary race. Curry did not attend last night's soiree because he was a keynote speaker at a Martin Luther King celebration at the same time.

    Another wild card is Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan (D), who was critical of Glendening throughout much of his first term. The two men patched things up for the election, but Duncan, who did not attend last night's party, has been sniping at Glendening recently to ensure that he lives up to campaign promises in his upcoming budget.

    But answers to those questions were reserved for another day. Last night was reserved for partying. "This is a great gathering of friends and family," Townsend said, before returning to shake more hands.

    © Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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