Anne Arundel County Council Chairman John Grasso to Run for State Senate

Term limits prevent Anne Arundel County Council Chairman John Grasso from trying for another four years on the council. But the outspoken Republican from Glen Burnie says he’s not ready to retire from politics.

Grasso recently announced he plans to run for Senate in District 32, mounting a likely challenge to incumbent state Sen. Ed DeGrange, a Democrat who has represented the northwest county district for nearly 20 years.

According to the Capital Gazette,

“As anybody’s seen, I’ve passed a boatload of legislation in Anne Arundel County, and there’s things I believe I can do in the state government,” Grasso said. “There’s certain things you can’t do as a county councilman that you can do as a state official.”

Maryland’s Republican party welcomed the news as another step toward its goal of identifying credible candidates to run in nine districts represented by Democrats where Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, won a majority of votes in 2014.

Grasso, who’s served twice as chairman of the council and once as vice-chairman, has broken with the party line before as a councilman. First elected in 2010, he’s developed a reputation as an occasional wild card.

An enthusiastic supporter of Donald Trump during the presidential election — he dubbed himself “the Trump of Anne Arundel County” — Grasso has also voted with Democrats on environmental issues, such as instituting a stormwater fee to pay for water quality improvements, and greater transparency in government.

“I’m not a political person,” he said. “I try to do what’s best for the people.”

A few ideas for legislation Grasso said he’s considering if elected include measures requiring judges to issue decisions on cases within 60 days, supporting school vouchers and finding a way to ensure child support payments are spent directly on children.

He said he thinks District 32, which represents parts of Glen Burnie, Fort George G. Meade, Jessup, Linthicum, Odenton and Severn, needs a new voice.

“You need people that are constantly going to move forward with new ideas, fresh ideas,” he said. “When you’re in there that long, you’ve got to go.”

DeGrange, who has not yet announced his intentions for 2018, said he’s proud of his record as a senator since 1999.

“I’ve been elected numerous times in the district and I’m not getting any sense that people are dissatisfied with the work and the representation that I’ve given them over the years,” he said.

The Democrat from Glen Burnie is no lightweight; he chairs the Senate’s capital budget subcommittee and has garnered 59 percent of the vote or more in all but his first election.

“I’ve always felt that the voters will implement term limits when they feel that people aren’t representing them properly,” he said.

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