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Referenda Results And The Vote In The Sixth District
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November 7, 2012
After the most expensive campaign in state history, Maryland voters appear to have approved a plan to expand the state's casino gambling program. Voters also agreed to extend in-state tuition rates at public colleges and universities to some undocumented immigrants. And the voters of a newly reconstituted 6th District turned out of office 10 term Republican Congressman Roscoe Bartlett -- replacing him with Democrat John Delaney. The WYPR News Team brings us this round-up of those stories.... starting with a look at the gambling expansion.
Karen Hosler: I’m Karen Hosler watching fireworks over the Potomac, where politicians and developers celebrated voter approval of a sixth Maryland casino headed for their mini-city at National Harbor. Victory wasn’t quite secure when Prince Georges County executive Rushern Baker greeted the gathering shortly before midnight. But it seemed clear that county voters had come through with their vital support.
Rushern Baker: “The people I want to thank the most are you, who voted for this. Prince Georges County, you made us proud tonight.”
Hosler: Yesterday’s vote marked a new milestone in a long battle that wreaked havoc on the General Assembly this year. Former opponents of expanded gambling, like Baker, came to be convinced that money from the venture is essential to county services. But two national gambling rivals—MGM Resorts and Penn National—waged a $90 million advertising war that planted doubts. Patrice Battle, 25, of District Heights, was among the many voters who got Penn National’s message.
Patrice Battle: “I didn’t think the money was really going to go where it was supposed to go, so I voted against it.” Hosler: The battle isn’t over. Results remain to be seen.
Mary Rose Madden: Supporters of Question 4 or Dream Act crammed into Arcos, a Mexican Restaurant in Fells Point. They were getting hyped for what they hoped would be a victory. And they were not disappointed. The Maryland Dream Act, which extends in state tuition benefits to the children of illegal immigrants, passed by a wide margin, 52 percent to 48 percent. Students would have to prove they have lived in Maryland for at least three years and that they or their family paid taxes. They would have to get 60 credits at a community college before they could transfer to a four year university. Governor Martin O’Malley, who supported the bill when itpassed the General Assembly during the 2011 session, praised the coalition of groups that brought the votes in.
Martin O’Malley: It’s a tremendous victory, not only for the children of new Americans, who are living here in Maryland, paying taxes in Maryland, it’s a victory for all of Maryland. From the bottom of my heart for how hard you worked. Let’s give it up for The Dream Act!
Madden: Marie Therese Bango was one of the people celebrating with a big smile on her face. She was there with her dreamer, her daughter, Cindy. They moved here in 2005 from the Ivory Coast when there was great unrest in their country.
Marie Bango: “I came here to America because I expected a better life for me and my daughter and a better education because my country was in a situation very bad and I said okay, we have to move.”
Madden: Dream Act opponents, who gathered 100,000 signatures to get it on the ballot, were feeling the pain of an election night defeat. Delegate Kathy Afzali, a Republican from Western Maryland, spoke from her home.
Kathy Afzali: Certainly I’m disappointed not just about the dream act about everything. We Republicans, we got our clocks cleaned. I’m disappointed – part of it is it’s hard to be Republicans getting our message out. We’re Republicans in the state of Maryland and we don’t have a lot of money to get our message out.
Madden: The Educating Maryland Kids Coalition – the pro-Dream Act group – spent 1.6 million dollars on the campaign. For 88-1 WYPR, I’m Mary Rose Madden in Fells Point.
Art Buist: And I’m Art Buist reporting on the 6th Congressional District. It was a happy crowd at the Bolger Center in Potomac that greeted newly elected 6th District Congressman John Delaney, who emphasized both his working-class roots and his business success as he outlined what he thought was important in his campaign.
John Delaney: “It was about standing up for women’s rights. It was about standing up for veterans who have served our country with such distinction and making sure that we take care of them in the way that they deserve to be taken care of. It was about putting aside partisan politics and talking about the good of the country. It will be about making our country more competitive so that we can create jobs and have a rising standard of living.
Buist: It was a much quieter scene at the Ayse Meza Lounge in Frederick where 86-year old Congressman Rosco Bartlett addressed his supporters from steps in a corner of the lounge.
Roscoe Bartlett: “I’ve had the great honor of serving the continuants of the 6th District for 20 years now. I called John Delaney to thank him and offer our help in transition.”
Buist: The single biggest factor in Bartlett’s defeat was redistricting. His safe Republican district was redrawn to take out Republicans and add Democrats. Bartlett said he is not bitter, he understands how the game is played.
Bartlett: “Democrats controlled redistricting in only 8 states. Republicans controlled redistricting in about 24 states. Democrats had few opportunities to pick up a seat. This was one of the opportunities. Oh no, no bitterness at all. This was not personal, this was not about Roscoe Bartlett, this was about picking up a seat for Democrats.”
Buist: That redistricting map was challenged in this election, along with several other acts of the Maryland legislature, including Same Sex Marriage and the Dream Act. Delegate Neal Parrott, of Washington County was the chief architect of those referenda. He said he was happy even though his efforts were turned back.
Neil Parrot: “I think it is fantastic. This is the first time in 20 years that Marylanders have been able to vote on a referendum question, and that’s the biggest victory for Maryland voters all across the state.”
Buist: Parrott says it is likely that referendum challenges to the actions of the legislature will become common in Maryland in coming years. With help from Gwendolyn Glenn in Potomac, I’m Art Buist, reporting from Frederick, for 88-1 WYPR.
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