QUESTION:How would you balance statewide interests with the specific needs of your constituents
Robert L. Flanagan (Republican)
Robert H. Kittleman (Republican)
Lloyd G. Knowles (Democrat)
James B. Kraft (Democrat)
Robert L. Flanagan (R)
6658 Windsor Ct., Columbia
Lawyer in private practice; member of House of Delegates since 1987, representing Howard and Montgomery counties, member, Judiciary Committee, and lead sponsor of legislation expanding the availability of family home day care, reforming the juvenile justice intake system and exempting the mentally retarded from the death penalty; commissioner, Howard County Human Rights Commission, 1985-86; Navy officer, Polaris submarine, 1967-71; BA in economics, Harvard University; JD with honors, Cornell University Law School, editor of Cornell Law Review; married; four children. A.
My job as a legislator is to be an advocate for the voters I represent. As such, I would be working for the best interest of my constituents while other legislators are working for their constituents. In doing so, I am well aware of the fact that the various districts are tied together as a whole and that unresolved problems in one area can be harmful to the entire state. Although some issues -- for example, the problem of chronic poverty -- may appear to be isolated to certain areas, such issues may raise fundamental moral considerations. In those instances, my constitutents could expect me to make a morally sound choice on their behalf. However, it is important for me to test proposals for solving social problems with hard questions and to support them only if the proposals are going to help solve the problems rather than throw money at them.
Robert H. Kittleman (R)
3105 W. Ivory Rd., West Friendship
Member of member of Economic Matters and Rules committees and past chairman of Howard County delegation; BS in mechanical engineering, University of Oklahoma; Navy officer in World War II; worked in design engineering and management at Westinghouse for 36 years; beef cattle farmer for 20 years; president, Howard County Citizens Association, 1980; president, Howard County Branch of NAACP, 1966; had leadership role in drives for charter government (1964 and 1966) and an elected school board (1974); council member in charge of districting (1976, 1980 and 1984). A.
I represent Howard and Montgomery counties. My constitutents pay far more in state taxes than is returned to them. I can honestly state, however, that I have never felt I faced the dilemma of voting "for" the statewide interests and "against" those of my constituents. The more difficult balancing that legislators face is voting against "special interest" when those interests are clearly counter to the general welfare -- and many legislators don't. On my committee, Economic Matters, special-interest groups frequently request special treatment. Members of these groups lobby their legislators; they know exactly how the legislators vote, and they defeat the legislators who vote "wrong."" "Special" interests are generally counter to the "general" interest of the public, but the public is unaware of most of these issues and consequently the public has no one to represent its interests -- except its elected representatives. My most difficult votes are those that involve representing my constituency against a special interest. But that's my job.
Lloyd G. Knowles (D)
10850 Green Mountain Cir., Columbia
Senior engineer, Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory; member, Howard County Council, 1974-86; member, Howard County Planning Board, 1969-74; Korean War veteran; BS, electrical engineering, Pennsylvania State University; MS, electrical engineering, University of Illinois; assistant professor, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; author of more than 40 technical papers in the field of nuclear medicine; vice chairman, Howard County Sierra Club, 1987-present; area vice president, Howard County Citizens Association, 1987-present. A.
As legislators, we all have to remind ourselves everyday that we're all in this together, that different parts of the state have different needs and a "grand balance" needs to be struck. Each delegate has the responsibility to ensure that the particular needs of his or her district are met, but cannot forget that the state is no stronger than its weakest subdivision. My district, which combines parts of Montgomery and Howard counties, is the fastest growing in the state. We need state aid for new schools and public transportation. Other, more stable areas need the state to support farmland preservation and, in many instances, small-town renewal. I would have to effectively communicate to my constituents my vision of this dual responsibility. My 12 years as an at-large member of the Howard County Council has provided me with invaluable experience in developing strong working relationships among diverse interest groups.
James B. Kraft (D)
10538 East Wind Way, Columbia
Founder, attorney and managing partner, Kraft, Balcerzak and Bartlett; board president, Citizens Against Spousal Assault, 1989-90; member, Howard County Democratic Central Committee, 1982-90; president of parish council, Church of the Resurrection, 1985-87; president, Howard County Citizens Association, 1978-79; president, West Friendship Elementary PTA, 1981; president, Columbia and Ellicott City Democratic clubs for three years; soccer coach for 15 years; father of three children who attended Howard County public schools. A.
Constituent service is one of the primary responsibilities of a legislator. There is, however, a significant difference in the role of a state legislator as opposed to a county legislator. Our primary responsibility is to govern the state. In that role, we must look at the big picture. In the short term, Howard and Montgomery counties have carried more than their share of the state's financial burden; however, they are the economic engines that run the state. Once we are successful in addressing the state's major issues -- quality education for all, women's reproductive freedom, efficient transportation systems and a clean aand healthy environment -- the demands on our counties will decrease. Then the increased ability of our sister jurisdictions to pay their respective shares of the cost of government will make more funds available to us locally. Until that time, I would strive to provide the best possible constituent service while meeting our commitment to the state as a whole.