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April 23, 2003

Our Lone Democrat In Annapolis - Del. Galen Hecht

John P. Snyder

How is it that a man generally regarded as a moderate, pro-business Democrat arrives in Annapolis and is suddenly transformed into a screaming Montgomery County-style liberal?

Just ask Delegate Galen Hecht, a.k.a. Galen Clagett.

Not much has been written about his sudden transformation. But given the leftward bent of the Democratic Party leadership in Annapolis, it shouldn't surprise anyone.

No doubt about it, you have to do the liberal two-step to exist within the Democratic party statewide and in Annapolis. When it comes to party discipline, not even the communists in the old Soviet Politburo had it this good. And for those in Frederick who miss Sue Hecht there is no need for dismay. State Delegate Galen Hecht has filled her pumps quite ably.

Here in Frederick, charter schools is not a dirty word. Governor Robert Ehrlich presented sensible legislation to get Maryland moving to qualify for some of the expected $200 million in federal money to create these schools. The liberals opposed it, and so did Del. Galen Hecht.

The liberals in Annapolis, not wanting to offend anyone, voted to allow illegal immigrants to obtain a Maryland drivers license. They also allowed them to obtain in-state tuition breaks at state schools. Do you think a referendum in Frederick would uphold that legislation?

I say no. But State Del. Galen Hecht voted with the liberal Montgomery County delegation on all three votes.

It's really a shame. You may have years of political and local government service, as Mr. Clagett has. You may have built a commercial real estate and property management company from the ground up, as Mr. Clagett has. But once he arrived in Annapolis, his instructions were to check his brain and heart at the door. His thinking had been done for him by the party leadership.

He was told how to vote and what to say. He was allowed space on the liberal plantation and, should he stray off the plantation, he would have been ostracized, ridiculed and found himself eating alone.

Del. Clagett-Hecht has two choices. He can tow the liberal line for all four years and then claim, as Sue Hecht did , that he is conservative and hope everyone forgets his record.

Or he can bravely decide to think for himself and vote the way his constituents would want.

Either way, it is unlikely that in four years he will square off against the Republicans weakest link as he did in 2002. One less liberal in Annapolis won't hurt anything.

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