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October 14, 2002

At The Expense of Lennie Thompson, Republicans Prefer Reeder

John P. Snyder

You donít have to be the local version of Nostradamus to predict that Bruce Reeder will be garnering a good share of the rank and file Republican vote for commissioner on November 5th.

Bruce Reeder is liked and respected by the moderate to conservative Republicans for the same reasons moderate Democrats support him. Although his father was a Republican precinct captain, he registered to vote as a Democrat at the behest of his sister. He has remained a loyal Democrat even when his views are at odds with the leftist, socialist views of the current Democratic Party in Frederick County, and in Maryland.

He served on the Democratic Central Committee from 1978-1990. He has close ties with Senators Paul Sarbanes and Barbara Mikulski and even Governor Parris Glendening. Republicans like him for his enduring honesty and pragmatic approach to the issues that face our county.

From his previous experience working in the private sector, at Airpax in Frederick, for 35 years, he understands the need to make a profit. Having raised a family in Frederick, and now a proud grandfather, he has long understood the need to bring quality jobs to Frederick County. He is justly proud of his efforts to bring Bechtel to Frederick. It is not often that companies with an average salary of $61,000 move into our area.

He understands the importance of education in our county, but is not one to equate large infusions of tax dollars with success in the system. Interestingly, Mr. Reeder, through extensive research, has long intended that the stateís formula for aid to local schools has shortchanged Frederick County terribly. Had he served a third term, he would have taken his case to the governor, to seek fairness in school funding. Regrettably, he did not win a third term. He did pass the information to Delegate Sue Hecht, who promptly dropped the ball. This was a disappointment to Mr. Reeder, who intends to rectify the inequality should he return to office.

Mr. Reeder feels that the no-growth policies on the current Board of County Commissioners have resulted in unhappy circumstances. He notes that teachers moving to Frederick are hard-pressed to afford the rents charged in Frederick on their salary. Employers are reluctant to relocate to Frederick, because they want their workers to live near their facilities. No growth means fewer housing opportunities for relocated workers.

Mr. Reeder likes to be effective quietly. His day is not wrecked if his name does not appear in the newspaper. Many times he used his relationship with Governor Glendening to get things done for Frederick County. Unlike some elected officials, who called news conferences to proclaim their importance, he has avoided the limelight and gotten things done.

If he is elected county commissioner, he will have to resign from his position on the State Lottery Board. Itís a job he truly loves and he proudly points to the increased revenues the lottery has provided for the state over the last four years.

Interestingly, he is not opposed to slots. He feels the state should not prohibit its citizens from spending their money at the endeavor of their choosing. He has also worked tirelessly on the behalf of the Penn Laurel Girl Scout Council to establish a campsite of their own in Frederick County.

Many will recall Ilona Hoganís emotional farewell speech to Mr. Reeder as he left the Board in 1998. She spoke of the pleasure she derived from working with him, who always sought to understand both sides, develop good resolutions and work towards the common good of the county.

With the state nearly bankrupt, aid to the counties will be negatively impacted, and the current commissioners have increased spending to such levels that it will be difficult to fully fund everything in years to come. Tough decisions will need to be made.

Republicans generally do not have a strong litmus test for their candidates. However, they do prefer that their candidates be pro-business, respect private property rights and respect free speech. This criterion, in the minds of many Republicans, eliminates Lennie Thompson from consideration.

It will be with great pleasure that they will look to the other side of the ballot to select Mr. Reeder, a Democrat, for county commissioner. The Board of County Commissioners will be served in no better fashion than with Bruce Reeder back in office.

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