"In Prince George's, all eight state senators are men. Eighteen of 23 delegates are men. Nine of 11 council members are men," Joanne Becker said. "And when you go to a fundraiser, like we had recently, and they all get up on stage, the visual impact of seeing them all in one place makes me angry."
Becker, a Democratic candidate for the House of Delegates in the 24th District, was telling the 55 women and five men at a forum held by the Women's Political Caucus of Prince George's just what she thought of the fact that relatively few women hold political office in Maryland.
"I cannot believe there are not more qualified women in the county, equally articulate and well-informed," Becker said.
She and 20 other owmen vying for sformed," Becker said.
She and 20 other women vying for stem while promoting their own candidacies.
A feisty, self-assured group, the women presented extensive perosnal credentials for office. Most have been members of state and county panels and commissions, presidents of parent-teacher associations and community associations and candidates or campaign workers in political campaigns.
Yet only a few had ever reached elective office. Several blamed the "bosses" - the "power structure" in the Democratic Party.
"Stop prostituting your spirits to curry favor with the political bosses," Claire Bigelow told them. Bigelow, running as a Democrat for state senator in the 22nd District, is pitted against Jack Garrity, a party regular and favorite.
"Prince George's County has not traditionally welcomed women in political life," Bigelow said. "But we cannot accept the good 'old boy leaders who can choose the people who work in the county."
Kay Bienan, who ran against the Democratic Party's Blue Ribbon Ticket in 1974 and won, said she "wouldn't be (in office) without the support of the women's caucus."
This year as an incumbent, however, Bienan also has the support of the "good 'old boys" and will be on the party regulars' "Democrats '78" ticket in her bid for reelection to a delegates seat in the 21st District.
She, along with Del. Paulene Menes and council member Darlene White, appeared to be playing "godmother" roles for the novice candidates in the audience, praising them for their "vigor" and "determination" to win elected office.
"Annapolis needs women," Bienan said. "And women in Annapolis are by far the best legislators because the commitment (to their office) is there. Because they have had to work harder to get there."
One candidate offered the women another road to political success. Ella Ennis, candidate for the House of Delegates in the 28th District and a Republican, told the largely Democratic audience, "There's another party out there and it's not dominated by a political machine. Its got a woman head and 50 percent women membership. We invite you to join us."
But most of the women there knew that acceptance by the powerful "Democrats '78" ticket would be a prerequisite to winning the primary. Yet few of the women candidates are likely to be accepted into the fold.
So for most, the coming primary election will be an uphill battle - a battle for name recognition, for money and ultimately for votes. And while the Women's Political Caucus will not endorse a candidate until after the primary, last week's meeting proved a beginning for some candidates who are still new to political speechmaking.
Shirley Mohr, candidate for House of Delegates in the 26th District summarized the mood of the meeting when she told the audience, "Some of us will lose. But some of us are also going to win."
Del. Kay G. Bienen, 40, of 12411 Radnor Lane, laurel, has filed for re-election to a second term in the Maryland House of Delegates.
Bienen, a Democrat, represents the 21st district. She said she plans to "work all summer on the Gubernatorial Commission to Study Public Service Law." She is a member of the Governor's Commission to Study Residential Needs of the Mentally Retarded, the Advisory Committee of the Prince George's Office for the Coordination of Services to the Handicapped and is chairman of the Prince George's Child and Adolescent Abuse Advisory Committee. She is also vice chairman of the Prince George's Delegation's County Affaris Committee.
Bienen has been involved in various civic interests and problems. She is a member of the board of directors of the county Mental Health Association and is a member of the county League Of Women Voters.
A resident of Laurel for 11 years, Bienen is married and has two daughters.
Robin Ficker, 35, of 7526 Glennon Dr., W. Bethesda, has filed as a candidate for the Maryland House of Delegates in District 15B.
Ficker, a Republican, is an attorney for the Computer Network Corporation. He ran unsuccessfully for Congress in 1976 against Newton Steers. He was voted "Montgomery County Citizen of the Year" in 1977 by the Allied Civic Group. Ficker, an avid runner, was also voted "Runner of the Year" by the Potomac Valley Senior Track Club.
Ficker is married to Dr. ANnette Ficker, a pediatrician with Children's Hospital. He has a daughter and a son.
Jay S. Bernstein has been sworn in as a delegate to the Maryland General Assembly representing District 15B. Bernstein replaces Arthur Drea who left his seat after being appointed counsel to the Maryland National Park and Planning CommissioN.
Bernstein, 36, of 9104 Shad Lane, Potomac, is a native of the metropolitan Washington area and has lived in Montgomery County for the past 20 years. He was a member of the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee. He has also been active in community and political affairs as a Democratic precinct official, former president of the Young Democratic CLub of Maryland, chairman for Plowman and Fisherman for the Democratic Party of Montgomery County, an executive board member of the Eastern Montgomery Kensington - Wheaton Democratic Club and a member of the Western Suburban Democratic Club.
Bernstein is married and has three sons.
Davis J. Tomasin (D), 25, has announced his candidacy for the U.S. House of Representatives in Maryland's 5th congressional district.
Although this is Tomasin's first political campaign, he has been active in politics for some time. He worked with Gov. Jerry Brown (D-Calif.) during the 1976 presidential campaign in Maryland and was a member of the late Sen. Hubert Humphrey's staff. He recently was an assistant to Maryland Secretary of State Fred Wineland and also worked with Prince George's County Executive Winifield Kelly.
Tomasin said that voters should "send a message to Congress that the answer is not more taxes but tax cuts." He will "work to reduce the current tax rates of 14 to 70 percent, to 10 to [WORD ILLEGIBLE]percent," Tomasin said.
Tomasin, of 9314 Cherry Hill [WORD ILLEGIBLE]College Park, is a graduate of the University of Maryland with a degree in government, politics and international affairs. He is single and has lived in Maryland for the past six years.