Bay Reflection
Old Business in Washington;
Fresh Faces in Annapolis
by M.L. Faunce

As the 106th Congress convenes in Washington this month, for the first time in nearly 30 years I won't be commuting to the Capitol. Now, I'll meander along Muddy Creek Road in southern Anne Arundel County toward Maryland's Capital (and our nation's first) in Annapolis.

I didn't intend to trade in one political workplace for another when I retired as a staffer from the U.S. Senate six months ago. But somewhere along the way, between a peaceful retirement spot in Maine and November's mid-term elections, I started looking homeward to Maryland.

I only had to recall my last months working in Washington to think of the reasons why. Then, I had watched commentators and television crews risk life and limb chasing witnesses alighting from downtown limos. The scene was always the same: booms, cameras, pads of paper flying on a beach dubbed 'Monica' outside the U.S. Courthouse. All this in full view of amazed tourists from Akron to Anchorage, Boise to Boston.
Meanwhile, up on the Hill, partisan politics played on. There, visitors to our Nation's Capitol witnessed emperors who wore no clothes. How else could you describe career politicians whose motives and antics were so transparent as to render themselves naked? Consider the image. Now that's a scandal.

Visitors to Washington return home as voters, of course. And from the elections of 1998, moderates and minorities, men and women, the young and the senior emerged with a collective voice. "We care about education and health, our families and jobs, transportation and suburban sprawl - and not about scurrilous scandals," they seemed to say. Their message sent, now they wait as Congress in Washington and state assemblies around the country prepared to convene.

In Annapolis, my new boss will be a fresh face from Montgomery County. He seems on the right track - before he casts his first vote. Having taught school in the inner city, he advocates quality public education. A believer in public service, he's worked to establish a leadership camp for teenagers in Maryland. Listening to his constituents, he will study transportation problems in a rapidly expanding county.

As this first-term delegate takes office, he need only look up to the top of the State House for inspiration. There, an acorn perched on top - symbol of Maryland's ancient Wye Oak - stands for wisdom and strength.

Wisdom and strength. Now that's something Congressional lawmakers in Washington could use as they take up old business first, in January. Then, they should get on with the business voters have spoken for loudly and clearly in the mid-term elections.

Contributing editor M.L. Faunce will share news of Maryland's 413th General Assembly, which convenes this week in Annapolis for its 90-day session.

| Issue 2 |

VolumeVII Number 2
January 14-20, 1999
New Bay Times
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