Term: 4 years
QUESTION: How would you balance statewide interests with the specific needs of your constituents?
Gary R. Alexander (Democrat)
Ronald R. Austin (Republican)
John Mitchell Brown (Republican)
James E. Proctor Jr. (Democrat)
David A. Tibbetts (Republican)
Joseph F. Vallario Jr. (Democrat)
Gary R. Alexander (D)
1200 Swan Harbor Circle, Fort Washington
Member, House of Delegates, 1983-present, and lawyer, Alexander and Cleaver; member, Appropriations and Economic Matters committees; chairman, Bi-County Committee; chairman, special joint committee investigating oil company price increases; former People's Counsel, representing consumers before state Public Service Commission; member, Prince George's County Drug Advisory Council; chairman, Boy Scouts fund-raising campaign; coach, Fort Washington Recreation Council teams; represents church, citizen associations; awarded 100 percent for environmental voting record, League of Conservation Voters, 1986-90; BA, University of Virginia; LLB, George Washington University Law School; married to Carole; two teenage children; lived and worked in Fort Washington for 25 years.
A: For the past eight years, as a member of the House of Delegates, I believe that I have been able to represent the people of southern Prince George's County keeping in mind a statewide perspective. Our problems are substantially similar to those around the state, including crime, traffic, education and environmental concerns affecting the quality of life. I have sponsored and supported bills in all of these areas. I was honored to receive a 100 percent voting record endorsement from the League of Conservation Voters during the entire last term (1986-90). I have strongly supported consumer rights and citizen participation in the zoning process. Road improvements are another major concern. I feel as though I understand these problems because I am a real part of the community, having lived, worked and raised my family here for many years.
Ronald R. Austin (R)
9302 Fairhaven Ave., Upper Marlboro
Executive director and general counsel, Overseas Education Association, a state affiliate of the National Education Association, 1978-present; legal officer, Marine Corps, Air Force, 1956-78, retired colonel, awarded Legion of Merit; BA, JD, St. John's University and law school; member, VFW and American Legion; admitted to practice law, Washington, D.C., and New York; married, six children.
A: As a candidate for state delegate, I am concerned with issues beneficial not only to Maryland, but also to Prince George's County. First is the requirement of a vital two-party system. Without it, we suffer abuse of power and self-enrichment at both state and local levels. Second, we continue to graduate functional illiterates from our schools, requiring teachers to "teach to the test"; burdening them with ever-increasing duties and paperwork; and, most reprehensibly, requiring inflated grades to pass almost everyone. It's a system bound to fail and take our children with it. Third, the "Outer Beltway" must be stopped. It will emerge as nothing but a truck route for out-of-state traffic, destroying neighborhoods, upsetting ecological balances and bringing dangerous truck accidents into unspoiled areas. Why do politicians continue to offer nothing but taxes and unbridled growth? Why not consider innovative mass transportation, such as light rail lines? New thinking is imperative for our state and county.
John Mitchell Brown (R)
12601 Westover Ct., Upper Marlboro
President, Michael Brown Analytics Inc.; Realtor; retired Army major general, 1955-88; awarded, Distinguished Service Medal, Bronze Star for ground combat in Vietnam; budget, management and efficiency consultant; people's advocate; experienced military liaison with Congress and state and local governments; member, Masons, American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars; community activist in Prince George's County and metropolitan area; BS, West Point; MBA, Syracuse University; member, National Association of Retired Federal Employees; married, with four children.
A: I have deep roots in the local constituency and my primary focus will be representing local interests. There is a need to balance specific needs to statewide interests. My approach can best be described by addressing specific important issues. Drug use is threatening a whole generation of young people and more than 60 percent of committed crimes are directly attributable to drugs. I would fight for funds to fight drugs, statewide. I would push hard to raise pay of police and firefighters who protect us every day. As a member of the Metropolitan Education Coalition, I have a strong interest in education. Teacher pay must be raised, per-pupil spending must be increased, bureaucracy must be reduced. Real estate transfer taxes must be reduced in Prince George's County. Infrastructure (roads and transportation) in southern Prince George's County must be improved. Tax relief for the elderly must be provided. Senior citizen and retiree benefits must be protected. I would be responsive to the constituents.
James E. Proctor Jr. (D)
11204 Cedarville Rd., Brandywine
Educator, Transportation Department, Prince George's County Public Schools; principal, 17 years; president, Cedarville Citizens Association; vice chairman, Prince George's Landlord Tenants Commission; member, Southern Maryland Health Systems Agency, NAACP, House of Delegates Environmental Matters Committee, National Education Association, Maryland State Teachers' Association, Prince George's County Education Association, Association of School-Based Administrators and Supervisors; served, United States Air Force; Sierra Club, Environmentalist of the Year; officer, American Legion; married; two children; little league, CYO coach.
A: The specific needs of my constituents would be the benchmark of all of my decisions. My vote or input on any issue or bill affecting another district or the state would be directed by the impact it would have on the 27th District. As a state delegate, I realize that there will be issues that directly impact on all of the residents of Maryland and will require my support. However, this also means that their voices will have been heard on those issues.
David A. Tibbetts (R)
14616 Brock Hall Dr., Upper Marlboro
Administrative officer, Maryland Department of Agriculture; part-time self-employed lawyer; member, Dorchester County Republican State Central Committee, 1982-86, Dorchester County Human Resources Committee, 1975; Jaycees Outstanding Young Man in America, 1981, 1982; former director, University of Maryland-Baltimore County Alumni Association; president, UMBC Student Government Association, 1972-73; national committee member, Maryland Young Democrats, 1977-79; State of Maryland senatorial scholarship, 1969; member, National Association of Environmental Professionals; environmental specialist, state health department, 1980-85; member, Lutheran Church; married, two stepchildren; BA, political science, UMBC, 1974; MA, government and politics, University of Maryland, 1981; JD, University of Baltimore Law School, 1987.
A: I would represent my constituents on all issues to the best of my ability. I would use a balancing test of fundamental interest versus fundamental harm. In other words, if it were of vital local interest, I would fight and vote for it above the overall state interest, if the issue were not a vital one at the state level. If it were a vital issue to the whole state and unimportant locally, I would vote for what is best for the whole state. In case of a tie, I would vote for local interests first. What is important to realize is that most controversial issues are those of statewide impact, with identical local impact. For example, I am pro-choice and would vote that way regardless of local or statewide pressures because that is an issue of conscience. There are no specific local impacts apart from the state as a whole. If an issue were not an issue of conscience, I would vote on the merits, if it did not involve a vital interest of my constituents. Most bills are not "big ticket items," and should be voted on by a delegate on the merits.
Joseph F. Vallario Jr. (D)
8116 Rosaryville Rd., Upper Marlboro
Member, Maryland House of Delegates, 1975-present; lawyer, Vallario, Collins & Chappelle; ranking member, House Judiciary Committee; member, Maryland and American bar associations; chief sponsor of the Stephanie Roper Committee crime victims bills; former member, painters local 1773; member, Sons of Italy; chief sponsor, funding for the Equestrian Center in Upper Marlboro; member, citizen groups and Democratic clubs in southern Prince George's County; longtime resident of Upper Marlboro;married to Lisa; six children.
A: I am of the opinion that the needs of my constituents and those statewide correspond in many cases. South Prince George's County residents are hard-working, industrious people who give their fair share to state coffers. Correctly, they expect that the services they receive as a result from their taxes should be of high quality. Therefore, this must be our first objective statewide, to provide services that correspond with the financial sacrifices our homeowners make. As a legislator, I have fought hard to keep property taxes at affordable rates, as well as encourage young couples to invest in our communities by attempting to offer quality, affordable housing. I fought successfully this year to place limits on how much new home buyers have to spend as a result of impact fees and will continue to work to ensure that everyone has the opportunity to purchase the home they desire.