Three newcomers to Howard County politics are joining a race with two incumbents for the at-large seats open next year on the county school board.
Incumbents Deborah Kendig and William T. Manning filed for reelection before the deadline Monday. Also seeking the two open seats on the school board are Dana F. Hanna Sr., an operations manager with Bode Flooring Corp.; George Bush II, a law clerk and retired Los Angeles police sergeant; and Leslie Phillip Breden, manager of the library store at the University of Maryland.
Because there are five candidates, a vote will be held on the March 8 primary. The top four vote-getters will square off in the November general election.
The two incumbents in the nonpartisan election said they plan to run on their records, emphasizing experience and the need for continuity on the school board. Kendig, 48, and Manning, 53, are serving their first six-year terms on the board.
Kendig said a second term would give her more time to complete projects she supports, such as implementing the TTY 2000 report, a citizen task force's blueprint for school services through the next decade. "Bureaucracies move very slowly," she said. "Five years is not enough time."
Manning said he is "very confident" of being reelected because of his efforts to improve teacher salaries and establish a staff development center.
Bush, 43, a former schoolteacher and federal narcotics agent, moved to the county in July.
He said his lack of political experience may be a benefit for his campaign. "It gives me greater perspective and more objectivity," he said. "I feel I have the ability to be a good manager. The system needs board members who can manage."
Bush, who is not related to Vice President Bush, works as a clerk in the Columbia law office of Fredric Antenberg and expects to take the Maryland bar exam in February.
Hanna, 34, is also new to the county. He said the reputation of the county's school system persuaded him to move his family "eight miles across the Paxutent River" 18 months ago.
Hanna said he wants to improve the board's relationship with the county government after the "petty disagreements" that grew out of the County Council's decision to cut the school board's budget request last year.
Breden, the youngest candidate in the race at 25, said he decided to run because he fears school crowding if construction lags behind increased enrollment.
"I would like to see more schools built," said Breden, who expects to graduate in May with a degree in law enforcement from the University of Maryland.
Breden, a 1980 graduate of Centennial High School, said he also wants the school board to increase computer training for students and put more emphasis on drug awareness programs.
The four board members are paid $6,000 annually; the chairman receives $6,800.