Grosfeld: ‘I won’t run for re-election’

Longtime state lawmaker and breast cancer survivor plans to travel, teach

Friday, April 21, 2006

Sen. Sharon M. Grosfeld’s decision not to run for re-election surprised many of her colleagues this week, but the first-term senator made it clear that she hopes Del. Richard S. Madaleno Jr. will succeed her in the state Senate.

Her announcement caught friends and colleagues off guard, although Grosfeld (D-Dist. 18) of Kensington said she made the decision months ago.

‘‘I actually decided right before session started, but I was giving myself the session to close off that last hesitation,” Grosfeld told The Gazette. ‘‘People are probably wondering if I’m leaving for my health. I am, in that my health is great. And while I am in good health, I have so many things that I want to do.”

Grosfeld, a 49-year-old lawyer and breast cancer survivor, said she plans to travel, as well as teach and possibly work internationally.

With Grosfeld stepping down, the District 18 delegation plans to run as a single slate with Madaleno at the top of the ticket for Senate.

‘‘I feel very confident that District 18 will be very well served, and my hope is that Del. Rich Madaleno will succeed me in the Senate,” Grosfeld said.

A 12-year member of the General Assembly, Grosfeld served in the House of Delegates from 1995 until 2003, when she entered the Senate, succeeding U.S. Rep. Christopher Van Hollen Jr. (D) of Kensington. Grosfeld has championed women’s rights, family and health care issues during her time in Annapolis.

‘‘She had a stellar career,” Van Hollen said. ‘‘I think she set out to work on a number of important issues, women’s rights issues, health issues. And I think she accomplished what she set out to do. I think she’s leaving at the top of her game.”

Van Hollen also added his support for Madaleno.

‘‘I think Rich is a terrific candidate,” he said. ‘‘I think he would make a great Senator.”

In addition to supporting Madaleno, Grosfeld also endorsed the re-election bids of her district mates, Dels. Ana Sol Gutierrez (D) and Jane E. Lawton (D), both of Chevy Chase. The candidates plan to campaign together, but stay out of the race to fill Madaleno’s House seat.

Lawton, Gutierrez and others praised Grosfeld’s accomplishments as an advocate for women’s and families’ rights.

‘‘We were very surprised and very disappointed,” Lawton said. ‘‘She’s been a great champion in a lot of places that needed a champion, I think. She has not only been a good defender of consumers, but on family violence and family law.”

Montgomery County Senate Delegation Chairwoman Ida G. Ruben said she was taken aback when she heard of Grosfeld’s plans on Wednesday.

‘‘I was caught by surprise last night,” said Ruben (D-Dist. 20) of Silver Spring. ‘‘And I’m very unhappy that she’s not running. I had no idea that she was even thinking about retiring. She was a welcome member of our delegation and the Senate, and I hate to see her leave.”

Gutierrez said she hopes to pick up where Madaleno left off by moving to the House Appropriations Education Subcommittee.

‘‘I’m really looking forward to being in an area that I feel one can do a lot more directly,” said Gutierrez, a former school board member.