For Marylanders, Glendening Takes On Cancer
Too often, our elected leaders are remembered for what they do to us rather than for us. That's been the case with two recent Maryland governors convicted of crimes. That probably will be the case with President Bill Clinton who, despite keeping us on the path to prosperity, sacrificed the dignity of our White House.
So it's refreshing to see that Maryland's present governor, Parris Glendening, is accumulating some tangible successes that will stand the test of time. Most notable are his purchases of threatened Chesapeake country lands, among them on our side of the Bay Franklin Point and Chapman's Landing.
Now, Glendening has proposed another bold stroke for Maryland's future - setting aside for cancer-fighting about half of the $1.7 billion the state will receive from the tobacco settlement over the next 10 years.
The governor's plan, which the General Assembly must approve, would invest $500 million in cancer research, prevention and treatment. Another $300 million would be devoted to anti-tobacco efforts. In addition, $200 million would be spent on drug treatment programs and aid for tobacco farmers to convert to other crops. (The biggest chunk, $700 million, would go for education.)
Maryland is the only state to have charted such an aggressive cancer-fighting drive. Many states will be pouring more concrete for cars to drive on and giving tax breaks that go disproportionately to people who already have the most wealth. Glendening has a wiser approach by looking out for the health of Marylanders.
Maryland has the fifth highest cancer rate in the U.S., behind only the District of Columbia, Delaware, Louisiana, Kentucky and Maine. Every year, 25,000 Marylanders get the cancer diagnosis and 10,000 of us die from it, over 700 in Anne Arundel County alone. We know smoking is a cause, but what else is killing us? Could it be the radium and other impurities found in many of Anne Arundel's 45,000 private wells? Are some of our colon cancers related to all the junk-food we eat that is laden with preservatives and empty calories?
These are the sorts of questions that Maryland researchers, equipped with another half-billion dollars, should answer for us. We also believe that the General Assembly and state agencies should watch how this money is spent. We should demand answers and results and not abide excessive salaries and frills.
Speaking of the General Assembly, we were disappointed to hear House Republican Whip Robert Flanagan deride Glendening's plan as "an effort at self-promotion." This is the sort of pettiness that belongs in Maryland's past, not in our future, which all of us hope to enjoy for many healthy years.
| Issue 39 |
Volume VII Number 39
September 30-October 1, 1999
New Bay Times
| Homepage |
| Back to Archives |