Voter's Guide 
Voters Guide: 
Queen Anne's County races 


WINNER  - Republican: Benjamin F. Cassell

NAME: Benjamin F. Cassell

AGE: 55

BIOGRAPHY: Mr. Cassell has a bachelor's degree in marketing and works as a logistics executive for Guardian Services Group, a transportation and warehousing firm in Baltimore.

He lives near Goose Point with his wife, Nannette. They have one grown son.

ISSUES: Mr. Cassell wants to keep the growth rate at no more than 400 new homes a year and develop fair procedures for granting growth and sewer allocation to protect local businesses.

He would also like to set a limit on the size of big-box stores such as Wal-Mart. He does not believe the county has the infrastructure in place to handle rapid residential growth, but says some commercial development can help produce county income and create local jobs.

He wants to keep the tax rate flat by reducing government and focusing spending on education and emergency services.

He also wants the Board of County Commissioners to regularly attend community association meetings and hold quarterly "county accountablity" meetings in which the public can participate.


WINNER -  Republican: Joseph F. Cupani

NAME: Joseph F. Cupani

AGE: 51

BIOGRAPHY: Mr. Cupani is a private accountant with a master's degree in administration from Johns Hopkins University.

He and his wife, Jean, live in Church Hill and have two grown daughters.

ISSUES: Mr. Cupani supports limiting the county's rate of growth to protect its rural character. He wants to create a task force to study building permit caps to prevent large developers from monopolizing allocation of the sewer system capacity.

He is also a strong advocate for the environment, emergency services and education.


WINNER - Republican: Rodney Niedomanski

NAME: Rodney "Nemo" Niedomanski

AGE: 66

BIOGRAPHY: Mr. Niedomanski has an engineering degree from Montgomery College and retired from Washington Gas Co. as director of government relations. Today he owns Nemo's General Contracting.

He served as secretary of the MD-DC Utilities Association and fire commissioner for Montgomery County.

Mr. Niedomanski and his wife, Ruth, live in Grasonville and have five children.

ISSUES:Mr. Niedomanski does not like caps, but he is willing to limit the number of building permits and sewer allocation granted annually if it would reduce the county's rapid growth.

He supports the massive Four Seasons project on Kent Island as long as it is developed gradually - 175 homes a year.

He also believes the county needs to spend more money on emergency services and education. He thinks he can get more help on this from the state.


WINNER - Democrat: Gene M. Ransom

NAME: Gene M. Ransom

AGE: 30

BIOGRAPHY: An attorney who lives with his wife, Nicole, in Grasonville and runs a private practice in Chester, Mr. Ransom was elected to the Queen Anne's County Democratic Central Committee in 1998, is president of the county's United Way board, and has served on several county and state advisory committees.

ISSUES: Mr. Ransom says if elected, he would keep growth at an annual rate of 400 homes built per year with the implementation of sewer allocation caps and a strong adequate public facilities ordinance.

He would use money generated by that ordinance, increased impact fees and future "developer's rights and responsibilities agreements" to pay for improvements to the county's infrastructure.

He would spend money from the county's surplus to improve education by reducing class sizes and increasing salaries and affordable housing for teachers, and to improve public safety by increasing deputies' salaries and creating a fire liaison


WINNER - Republican: Michael S. Koval

NAME: Michael S. Koval

AGE: 44

BIOGRAPHY: Mr. Koval attended two years of college and now owns Koval Construction, a general contracting company that builds residential homes.

He is the vice president of Kent Island Defense League and has been fighting the 1,350-home Four Season project.

He lives in Chester with his wife, Nancy, and son.

ISSUES: Mr. Koval aims to limit growth by reinstating a county law that limited the amount of sewer allocation granted annually to developers. He also wants to limit municipal annexations and dissolve the Comprehensive Plan's designated growth areas, especially the two which direct growth onto Kent Island.

He believes the county should have an ethics policy that is enforceable and be more fiscally responsible.

Mr. Koval says that if the county paid better attention to its finances, it could eliminate more debt and better control its spending.


WINNER - Democrat: Frank Kratovil

NAME: Frank Kratovil

AGE: 34

BIOGRAPHY: With a law degree and 12 years of law experience, Mr. Kratovil has served as an assistant state's attorney in Prince George's and then Queen Anne's counties, where until 2001 he was the only full-time prosecutor. Last October, he became a criminal justice adviser for the Governor's Office of Crime Control & Prevention and served on numerous county committes including the Domestic Violence Coordinating Council and the Combating Underage Drinking Coalition.

He currently serves on the county Local Management Board and the Queen Anne's County Arts Council. He lives in Stevensville with his wife, Kim, and three young boys.

ISSUES: Mr. Kratovil says he will lead by example using his criminal law and trial experience; hire qualified and full-time prosecutors; establish a proactive and aggressive prosecution policy regarding juvenile offenders; create a Victim Services Unit that ensures victims are kept informed of case progress and advised of legal procedures; establish a pre-trial screening process for felony and serious motor vehicle cases; and improve communication with law enforcement and participate in the legal training of officers to ensure appropriate case outcomes.

Results coming soon...


Democrat: Winsie Cannon

NAME: Winsie Cannon

AGE: 58

BIOGRAPHY: A graduate of Centreville High School who has taken courses in probate law and computer technology, Mrs. Cannon, the Democratic incumbent, worked for the county Board of Elections for eight years before being elected register of wills 16 years ago.

She lives with her husband, Vernon, in Church Hill and has three children and nine grandchildren.

ISSUES: Mrs. Cannon says she is running for her fifth term because she enjoys helping residents through the difficulties of administering a will. She wants to continue to provide "professional, compassionate and courteous" service to the community and believes her vast knowledge of the job is "invaluable." She says her door is always open to residents. If elected, she plans to improve the office by holding workshops throughout the county for residents to learn about creating their wills.

Republican: Marirose Capozzi

NAME: Marirose Capozzi

AGE: 45

BIOGRAPHY: After several years working as nurse and as a sales manager for a county building corporation, Mrs. Capozzi is now working on getting her mortgage broker's license.

She lives in Stevensville with her husband, John, and has three children.

ISSUES: Mrs. Capozzi believes the Register of Wills' office needs to change along with the Board of County Commissioners, a message she said was made clear in the primary election. She says the office needs to be upgraded to handle this growth, but would take a good look around before making any changes.


Democrat: David Clark

NAME: David M. Clark Sr.

AGE: 71

BIOGRAPHY: Mr. Clark is a graduate of Centreville High School who is retired from farming. He sat on the county Orphans' Court from 1986 to 1998, serving as chief judge the last four years. He lost a bid for re-election in 1998.

He and his wife, June, live in Centreville and have three grown children, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

ISSUES: Mr. Clark is running again because he enjoys serving his constituents and believes public service is the best way to give back to the community.

Democrat: Catherine Clevenger

NAME: Catherine Clevenger

AGE: No comment

BIOGRAPHY: A high school graduate, Mrs. Clevenger says she acquired most of her education by running several businesses with her late husband, W.E. Clevenger, including a campground, real estate business and Clevenger's Oil Co. She has served on the Orphans' Court for six terms.

She lives in Chester and has four children and 12 grandchildren.

ISSUES: Mrs. Clevenger is running because "somebody has to represent the deceased. Everybody else has lawyers." She enjoys making sure a will is executed fairly and strives to put residents at ease during the court proceedings and have them leave satisfied.

Republican: Joseph DiPietro

NAME: Joseph DiPietro

AGE: 69

BIOGRAPHY: A retired attorney, Mr. DiPietro has 40 years of experience in corporate and government relations and once issued arrest warrants as a court magistrate in Baltimore County. The position that was eliminated by the creation of the District Court. He has done legal work for large financial services corporations and is a member of the Republican Central Committee.

He lives in Chester with his wife, Theresa. They have three children and five grandchildren.

ISSUES: Mr. DiPietro says that in today's "complex legal environment," judges of the Orphans' Court should be attorneys. Mr. DiPietro says he has the ability to research and better understand the laws that are used to protect clients and their heirs from tax liability.

He also believes he can fairly apply Maryland estate laws to the families of county residents.

Republican: Penelope Ann Keating

NAME: Penelope Anne Keating

AGE: 61

BIOGRAPHY: Ms. Keating trains thoroughbred race horses and is a data collector for the Maryland Agricultural Statistical Service. She lives in Centreville and has three grown children.

ISSUES: Ms. Keating became interested in law during her more than 20-year marriage to a lawyer. She believes she is a good candidate for Orphans' Court judge because she is comfortable making decisions yet is fairly flexible. She wants to give back to the community, and believes she is most qualified to do that by becoming a judge.

Republican: Robert Morris

NAME: Robert Morris

AGE: 71

BIOGRAPHY: With business adminstration and law degrees from Georgetown University under his belt, Mr. Morris, the sole Republican incumbent, is retired from Marriott Hotels, where he worked for 37 years and served as corporate vice president.

He lives in Chester with his wife, Florence. They have five children and 11 grandchildren.

ISSUES: Mr. Morris believes he has the education and the experience as a one-term incumbent to best do the job.

Note: Photograph not available.

Democrat: Jeffrie Zellmer

NAME: Jeffrie Zellmer

AGE: 60

BIOGRAPHY: A graduate of Georgetown University, Mr. Zellmer once served as special assistant to former state senator Laurence Levitan. He was also president of the McKenna Group, a business strategy consulting firm, and before that co-owner of Mimi Selig Homes, a real estate brokerage company.

He is now is the legislative director of the Maryland Retailers Association in Annapolis.

Locally, he has served on United Way of Queen Anne's County Board of Directors, as president of the Queenstown Lions Club and as board chairman Queen Anne's County Democratic Club.

He lives in Grasonville and has two daughters.

ISSUES: Mr. Zellmer, who was appointed in May by the governor to the Orphans' Court after the death of Judge Frances Ashley, says his legislative and business experience as well as his time on the court makes him a good candidate. His goal as judge is to make impartial, fair decisions to uphold the integrity of the court.


Republican Write-in: Earl Beville

NAME: Earl Beville

AGE: 47

BIOGRAPHY: Sgt. Beville, an assistant division commander with the state police, has a degree in criminal justice and has taken additional courses in administration, management, child abuse, investigation, child abuse and illegal drugs. He has two grown sons.

ISSUES: In light of the recent sniper shootings in the Washington, D.C., area, Sgt. Beville says he would keep residents informed of what the county is doing to keep the public safe.

He says he would also work with the county commissioners to increase pay and pensions. But he said better management of the Sheriff's Office is the best way to retain officers.

Republican: Charles F. Crossley

NAME: Charles F. Crossley

AGE: 54

BIOGRAPHY: With an associate's degree in criminal justice, Sheriff Crossley, the incumbent, has 30 years law enforcement experience, including 12 as sheriff. He lives in Sudlersville with his wife, Connie, and has four grown children and six grandchildren.

ISSUES: Sheriff Crossley says he will continue to approach the Board of County Commissioners and state for money to increase staffing as well as deputies' salaries and pensions. He recently implemented a five-year plan to increase salaries and pensions, but says much more money is needed to be competitive with adjacent police agencies so the county doesn't continue to lose employees. 

Voters Guide: Congressional races


Republican: Wayne T. Gilchrest

NAME: Wayne T. Gilchrest

AGE: 56

BIOGRAPHY: A native of New Jersey, Mr. Gilchrest earned an associate's degree from Wesley College in Delaware and a bachelor's from Delaware State College. He served in the Marine Corps and earned the Purple Heart, Bronze Star and Navy Commendation Medal for service during the Vietnam War.

He taught American history, government and civics in New Jersey, Vermont and Kent County, and worked for the U.S. Forest Service in Idaho.

Elected to Congress in 1990, he lives with his wife, Barbara, and their three children in Kennedyville.

ISSUES: A strong defender of the environment, Mr. Gilchrest fought to stop open-bay dumping at Site 104. Last month, he co-sponsored the National Aquatic Invasive Species Act of 2002, which would regulate ballast discharge from commercial vessels, create a national database on invasive species and fund state eradication efforts.

He voted for the Medicare Modernization and Prescription Drug Act and opposed the No Child Left Behind Act, which he thought would weaken local control of schools.

Democrat: Ann Tamlyn

NAME: Ann Tamlyn

AGE: 78

BIOGRAPHY: Mrs. Tamlyn has been a grassroots activists for many years, and has worked to improve the environment and child welfare. She is a member of the Queen Anne's County Democratic Central Committee and theQueen Anne's County Chamber of Commerce and is a Grasonville Community Center board member.

She lives in Centreville with her husband Thomas. They have three grown children.

ISSUES: Mrs. Tamlyn supports education for all, environmental protection and health care reform. She believes everyone who wants an education should be given the assistance to do so.

Mrs. Tamlyn says she will seek government money to improve sewage systems and protect the Chesapeake Bay, which is threatened by nitrogen pollution that can come from outdated sewage systems.  Mrs. Tamlyn also supports health care for all.


Democrat: Walter M. Baker

NAME: Walter M. Baker

AGE: 75

BIOGRAPHY: A senator since 1979, Mr. Baker is chairman of the powerful Judicial Proceedings Committee and a member of the Rules Committee, Legislative Committee, Executive Nominations Committee and Special Committee on Gaming.

A retired attorney, Mr. Baker has a bachelor's degree from Washington College and a law degree from the University of Maryland. He served in the Army from 1950 to 1953 and as state's attorney for Cecil County from 1963 to 1966.

He lives in Elkton with his wife, Jean, with whom he has two children.

ISSUES: Mr. Baker wants to improve funding for education. He also supports making health insurance more available and affordable to residents and making the medical profession more accountable by penalizing them with higher insurance premiums for poor care or medical mistakes. 

He advocates reducing crime by enforcing stronger penalties for crimes and prosecuting criminals more swiftly.

Republican: E.J. Pipkin

NAME: E. J. Pipkin

AGE: 45

BIOGRAPHY: Mr. Pipkin launched the fight against Gov. Parris Glendening's plan to dump dredge spoil from the Port of Baltimore's shipping channels into Site 104, just off Kent Island in the Chesapeake Bay. 

He recently ended his 16-year career in investment business to devote himself to his campaign. He lives in Stevensville with his wife, Alisa, and their three young children.

ISSUES: Mr. Pipkin supports more school funding, a new school testing system to ensure accountability and an elected county school board. 

A well known environmentalist, Mr. Pipkin wants to work to improve the quality of the Chesapeake Bay by discouraging high-density development in the Critical Area and requiring infrastructure to be in place before development. If elected, he says he will increase government accessibility by creating four senatorial offices in each of the four counties in his district. 


Democrat: Wheeler R. Baker

NAME: Wheeler R. Baker

AGE: 55
BIOGRAPHY: A delegate since 1995, Mr. Baker is vice chairman of the Public Safety and Administration Subcommittee, chairman of the Oversight Committee on Personnel, and a member of the Appropriations Committee.

He graduated from Centreville High School, attended Chesapeake College, and now owns Baker's liquor store and deli in Chester. He lives in Chester with his wife, Holly, with whom he has three children.

ISSUES: Mr. Baker plans to ask the state to review the Thorton Commission's formula for dispersing money generated by the cigarette tax to counties for education. Queen Anne's received the least amount of funding from the commission earlier this year. 

Mr. Baker says he will also continue to work with the State Highway Administration on projects to improve Route 50 and 301 and the Maryland Department of Transportation to build a second bridge to the Eastern Shore. 

He also intends to continue efforts to use dredge material from the shipping channels of the Port of Baltimore to rebuild Parson Island, a small private island south of Kent Island which is washing away.

Republican: Richard Sossi 

NAME: Richard Sossi

AGE: 59

BIOGRAPHY: After earning a bachelor's degree from the University of Colorado, Mr. Sossi owned a collectibles shop in Annapolis selling toy soldiers, ship models and large scale trains. After 20 years, he recently scaled the business down to mail orders and trade shows. In 1990, he was elected to the Queen Anne's County Republican Central Committee and served as its chairman. He stepped down in 1998 to make an unsuccessful run for the House of Delegates. He lives in Stevensville with his wife, Flora, with whom he has a daughter and a grandson.

ISSUES: To address the teacher shortage, Mr. Sossi is calling for a $1,000 tax credit per teacher, which he proposes to pay for with slots at the race tracks. 

He wants the state to increase its financial aid, grants and loans to local and county governments to assist them in increasing the pay and benefits of county and municipal police, an effort he says he knows will have to come over time in light of the state budget crunch.

He wants to reduce or eliminate the tax on pensions, which he believes is forcing many older residents to move out of state to escape it.

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