Top Six Young Guns of Western MD

I’ve focused on the Democrats here but also included one exciting young Republican. The five Democrats:

1. Melissa Joseph – Melissa is whip smart and perhaps the most charming member of Maryland’s political class. With an extensive experience in the offices of Ron Young, Rob Garagiola and Chris Van Hollen, Melissa is a triple threat: she’s effective at the federal, state and campaign levels.

2. Ethan West – At 18, Ethan is a bit of prodigy. Whether with labor groups or on Rob Garagiola’s congressional campaign, Ethan has always proved himself a tremendous asset. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him as a union political director in Annapolis in a few years.

3. Matt Ferrante – Infectiously charming and smart to boot, Matt will go as far in politics as he wants. We may be talking about Delegate Ferrante in 2018. He was the undeniable breakout star of Rob Garagiola’s unsuccessful congressional bid.

4.  Ryan Trout – An Americorps Alum, Ryan ran a spirited campaign in District 4A as a Democrat–not an easy task. He then moved to Frederick City, served as Ron Young’s Chief of Staff for a few sessions and then got a job at the Frederick Housing Authority. The next time there’s an open seat in District 3A (and no one with the last name Young throws their hat in the ring), count on Ryan Trout being a major factor in the race.

5. Latia Hopkins – While Frostburg State Alum Latia “Tia” Hopins is Baltimore born and bred, she came into her political own as President of the Frostburg College Democrats. She built the club into a respected player inf Allegheny County Democratic Politics. She’s currently in Grad School at George Washington University and serves on the board of the Young Democrats of Maryland.

And one Republican . . .

6. Chandler Thornton – While this Frederick County native is currently studying at American University, he also carries out the truly thankless task of serving as Chairman of the DC College Republicans. Democrats from Westminster to Oakland fear his return. Even before starting college, Chandler blazed an impressive path through the world of Free State Republicans logging time with the state party, Bob Ehrlich’s 2010 Campaign, and in Roscoe Bartlett’s congressional office. More recently, he worked on Romney’s 2012 presidential effort in the early primary state of New Hampshire and later in battleground Virginia.

Chandler is Director of the prestigious Kennedy Political Union (KPU) at American University–an impressive post to have gained, especially for a Republican, at this very Democratic university. Interestingly, the KPU was founded by none other than District 17 Delegate Lou Simmons!


Progressive Neighbors. . . Again


I only intended to write two posts about PN (this one and that one).


But then PN reversed itself on a previously inexplicable decision, which led to another post. And now, people have sent in yet more stories about PN that merit reporting:

(1) School Board Member Judy Docca (District 1) did not win endorsement from PN at least in part because of her “health issues” as the email from PN’s co-chairs to Docca explained. Docca was sick and now uses a wheelchair.

Maryland law prohibits discrimination on the basis of “physical disability” but Progressive Neighbors has, of course, an absolute First Amendment right to decide whether or not to take physical disabilities into account in its endorsement process.

I would hope people would pause before deciding to shove me out the door because I faced new health challenges. Betty Ann Krahnke served ably on the County Council even as she fought Lou Gehrig’s disease.

PN does not mention physical disabilities as part of their commitment to fairness and equality:

Fairness and equality for all regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, religion, income, sexual orientation or immigrant status.

Still, PN’s general commitment to civil rights would make me think that most of its members would strongly oppose such discrimination despite the Steering Committee’s decision to take Docca’s “health issues” into account in its reconsideration its earlier decision not to endorse her for reelection.

(2) PN has withdrawn its endorsement of Republican Laurie Halverson in her race against Pat O’Neill in District 3. This is the second reversal of an endorsement decision by PN. In the past, Halverson has forcefully opposed to the individual mandate to buy health insurance that is a critical part of the Affordable Care Act.

More related to the job, she testified in favor of allowing the Boy Scouts to distribute flyers in student backpacks even when they still discriminated against gay scouts. The organization still prohibits gay scoutmasters. As noted above, PN opposes discrimination the basis of sexual orientation.

In this case, it is more surprising that PN endorsed Halverson in the first place due to the seeming clash of values.


Top Nine Young Guns in The Baltimore Suburbs

1. Caitlyn Leiter-Mason – Originally from Frederick, Caitlyn has been a fixture in western Baltimore County since arriving at UMBC. She was the longtime President of the UMBC College Democrats and is currently managing rising star Baltimore County Councilman Tom Quirk’s reelection bid. She previously worked for Del. Anne Kaiser–a super star rising in the House leadership. There are certainly great things in Caitlyn’s future.

2. Zach Fang – In my opinion, Zach is now the top field director in the State of Maryland. With a DCCC Pedigree, Zach has returned to the Free State more dangerous than ever. Doug Gansler lucked out hiring this guy.

3. Ashley Harden – According to someone on Gansler’s senior staff, this Northwest Baltimore County field organizer is Doug’s best in the state. One Baltimore based Field Operative told me she’s probably the best seen in the Baltimore suburbs since at least 2006.

Anonymous: She’s way too good to stay in Baltimore County, but she just might anyway.

Anonymous: The next Ann Beegle.

4. Tommy Underwood – Tommy is a genuinely nice, decent guy–which is far too rare in politics. He’s done a great job so far managing O’Malley speechwriter Nick Stewart’s state house run and has a very bright future. This guy could be the Executive Director of the Democratic Caucus in 2018.

Anonymous: He’s not only a plugged-in guy with a very easy-going personality, but he’s also one of the hardest workers I’ve come across and sharp politically.

5. Jahantab Siddiqui – Jahantab (more frequently known as JTab) comes from the politically active Siddiqui clan of Howard County. With an extensive resume that extends statewide, I have no doubt that the next Muslim State Legislator in Maryland will be Jahantab. He may have taken a pass this cycle, but he has District 9 State Senator written all over him.  He could be a credible candidate in MD-03 down the line, or statewide. Smart. Charismatic. Handsome. When he runs you can add unbeatable to that list.

Anonymous: Mt. Airy (on the HoCo side) statewide college coordinator with O’Malley ’06 campaign, Field Director of Ulman’s ’06 campaign, Mikulski Staffer, Ruppersberger’s ’12 campaign, and currently with MoCo govt.

6. Dylan Goldberg – I will admit that I was for a time skeptical of Dylan. How could someone always be this happy? This isn’t California, so it had to be an act. It isn’t. His incredible work ethic and that same infectiously happy personality are sure to carry him far. Howard County Executive by 2026 or Bust.

AnonymousHe’s a bit of a superstar in Howard County, having worked for the state delegation in Annapolis for a couple years after working some local and state races in 2010 (That year, he received the MD Democratic Party’s James W. Rouse Community Service Award). He’s now field director for Courtney Watson’s county executive campaign. He previously worked for Councilwoman Mary Kay Sigaty.

Anonymous: He stepped up to lead Watson’s campaign and has done a fantastic job (with a great but not very warm and fuzzy candidate).

7. Marc Szczepaniak – Harford County Young Dems President, UMBC Student and Rachael Rice protege has a terrific future ahead of him, whether in Annapolis or on the campaign trail. Limitless upside and lucky find in one of the tougher county for the Democrats.

8. Nick Stewart – Nick was a speechwriter for Martin O’Malley first as Mayor and later as Governor. He also worked in O’Malley’s press office. He is currently a litigation attorney with the prominent firm Saul Ewing LLP. His next move? Running for delegate in Howard/Baltimore County Based District 12. While the field is large, Stewart is a strong candidate. He would be one of the youngest members of the the General Assembly, but nowhere near the least experienced.

Anonymous: one of 10 Democrats vying for the three District 12 delegate nominations, Nick is a former O’Malley speechwriter/press assistant in City Hall and the State House. He now is a lawyer at Saul Ewing in Baltimore. Lives in Arbutus, raised in Timonium. He also clerked for Judge Glenn Harrell. Just this week named to the Daily Record’s 20 in Their Twenties list

9. Shayla Adams – For the last several years, Shayla has run a 501(c)3 called RemixEducation (whose influence extends from Maryland all the way to North Carolina. She’s also a former Teacher with degrees from Wellesley (Undergraduate) and Duke (M.A.T.).  As education disparities between different jurisdictions in the state come into focus, her influence can only grow.  Plus, she makes up one half of a Young Gun Power Couple (the other is Prince George’s Young Gun Larry Stafford).

Anonymous- Really active in the African American community of Howard. Runs a non profit program. She’s cool with Elijah Cummings and he’s speaking at her scholarship banquet.


Uber Bad Idea

I became an Uber convert quickly after trying the service. Using the Uber app, anyone can request a driver to pick you up. Thanks to the marvels of GPS, you can even track where the car that takes your request is currently located and estimated time to arrival. The fee is charged to your credit card with no tip expected. In my experience, the cars are consistently clean and in good condition.

Oddly, despite the absence of tips, Uber drivers seem on average friendlier in my experience. Perhaps the certitude of payment rather than hoping for a decent tip helps. No doubt the social media rating system for individual drivers also helps assure clean cars and courteous service.

Along with other similar services like Lyft, Uber is a major threat to Barwood Taxi, the dominant taxi service in Montgomery County. Like many, I have had the experience of Barwood drivers not showing up for short trips because they don’t think it is worth the fare. The length of a wait for a pickup has also been much longer than promised.

The Public Service Commission–the same one that did such a poor job of supervising Maryland’s power companies in recent memory–is now proposing to clamp down on Uber and other similar companies by regulating them as taxis. The irony is that Uber provides a better service even without the regulation.

Moreover, Uber has supported legislation designed to assure safety and allay other natural concerns:

Uber supported state legislation this year that would have required background checks, vehicle inspections and rideshare insurance of up to $1 million. The bills, which would have allowed Uber to continue calling itself a smartphone app, and not a cab company, failed.

One sponsor of the legislation said any decision that would push the company out of the state would be “a great detriment to consumers.”

“We’d be first state in the nation to have Uber pull out,” said Del. Ben Barnes, a Prince George’s County Democrat. “I think that would be a big mistake.”

Del. Barnes is right. Uber and Lyft create jobs and improve service for consumers. The purpose of the Public Services Commission should be to improve public service, not to protect an industry threatened by companies that provide better service.

Rather than squelching Uber, the PSC should review its regulations to see if any changes are needed to their regulations as places like Montgomery shift away from the previous near monopoly of taxi services like Barwood.


D47A Delegate Race Rating


This dual member district is home to what’s shaping up to be a bloody primary in this district home to several Prince George’s municipalities, including Bladensburg, Brentwood, Cheverly, Colmar Manor and Mt. Rainier. Mt. Rainier City Councilman and Communications Workers of America (CWA) national bigwig Jimmy Tarlau faces 2010 Candidate Diana Fennell. Fennell, an African American, has demographics on her side.

Jimmy Tarlau combines a national profile in the labor community with local roots. He’s out raised Fennell by a wide margin as well. I suspect CWA will play in this race with independent expenditures. Fennell is on incumbent Sen. Victor Ramirez’s ticket, but I think Tarlau can pull it off. Michael Summers, although a weak fundraiser, is safe.

Rating: Safe Summers, Lean Tarlau


AFL-CIO Endorsements

MD AFLThese are the recommendations from the AFL-CIO. I have dispensed with my usual attempt to highlight non-incumbents, partly because it is striking how many Democratic incumbents were not endorsed.

The AFL-CIO gave the Senate President a pass in D27. They endorsed Gov. O’Malley’s choice, former Del. Connie DeJuliis, over Sen. Jim Brochin in D42. Well, I guess that’s finally something Miller and Brochin have in common.

In Montgomery County, the AFL-CIO said no to five incumbent delegates: Kathleen Dumais and Aruna Miller in D15, Ariana Kelly in D16, Al Carr and Ana Sol Gutiérrez in D18. They endorsed only two challengers in these same districts: Bennett Rushkoff in D15, and Natali Fani-Gonzalez in D18.

In Prince George’s District 26, the AFL-CIO picked Del. Veronica Turner over incumbent Sen. Anthony Muse. Indeed, they went with Turner’s whole slate. In Charles County District 2, they also said no to two incumbent delegates–C.T. Wilson and Sally Jameson–but endorsed challenger Edith Patterson.

No doubt there is more news in here but that’s what I noticed in a very quick glance.

GOVERNOR/LT. GOVERNOR: Anthony Brown/Ken Ulman
COMPTROLLER: Peter Franchot

District 1                     No Recommendation
District 2                     Dutch Ruppersberger
District 3                     John Sarbanes
District 4                     Donna Edwards
District 5                     Steny Hoyer
District 6                     John Delaney
District 7                     Elijah Cummings
District 8                     Christopher Van Hollen


District 1
Senate: George C. Edwards
House: 1B Kevin Kelly

District 2
House: 2A  Elizabeth Paul, No Recommendation / 2B John Donoghue

District 3
Senate: Ron Young
House: 3A  Carol Krimm, Roger Wilson

District 4
House: Gene Stanton

District 5
Senate: Anita Riley

District 6
Senate: John Olszewski
House: Eric Crizer, Eric Washington, Mike Weir, Jr.

District 8
Senate: Kathy Klausmeier
House: Harry “H.B. ” Bhandari, Eric Bromwell, Renee Smith

District 9
Senate: Ryan Frederick
House: 9A  James Ward Morrow  /  9B  Tom Coale

District 10
Senate: Delores Kelley
House: Robert Johnson, Adrienne A. Jones, Carin Smith

District 11
House: Shelly Hettleman, Dan Morhaim, Dana Stein

District 12
Senate: Edward J. Kasemeyer
House: Terri Hill,  Eric Ebersole, Nick Stewart

District 13
Senate: Guy Guzzone
House: Vanessa Attabearry, Shane Pendergrass, Frank S. Turner

District 14
Senate: Karen Montgomery
House: Anne Kaiser, Eric Luedtke, Craig Zucker

District 15
Senate: Brian Feldman
House: David Fraser-Hidalgo, Bennett Rushkoff

District 16
Senate: Susan Lee
House: Bill Frick

District 17
House: Kumar Barve, Jim Gilchrest, Andrew Platt

District 18
Senate: Richard Madaleno
House: Natali Fani-Gonzalez, Jeff Waldstreicher

District 19
Senate: Roger Manno
House: Bonnie Cullison, Ben Kramer, Marice Morales

District 20
Senate: Jamie Raskin
House: Sheila E. Hixson, Will Jawando , David Moon

District 21
Senate: Jim Rosapepe
House: Ben Barnes, Barbara Frush, Joseline Pena-Melnyk

District 22
Senate: Paul Pinsky
House: Tawanna Gaines, Ann Healey, Alonzo Washington

District 23
Senate: Douglas J.J. Peters
House: 23A Geraldine Valentino-Smith / 23B Marvin Holmes, Joe Vallario

District 24
Senate: Joanne Benson
House: Erek Barron, Carolyn Howard, Michael Vaughn

District 25
Senate: Ulysses Currie
House: Dereck Davis, Larry Greenhill, Sr. , Juanita Miller

District 26
Senate: Veronica Turner
House: David Sloan, Kris Valderrama

District 27
House: 27A  James Proctor /  27B  Michael Jackson / 27C Sue Kullen

District 28
Senate: Thomas “Mac” Middleton
House: Edith Patterson

District 29
House: 29B  John Bohanan / 29C  Len Zuza

District 30
House: 30A  Michael Busch, Chuck Ferrar / 30B  Mitchelle Stephenson

District 31
House: 31A  Ned Carey

District 32
Senate: James Ed DeGrange
House: Pamela Beidle, Spencer Dove, Theodore Sophocleus

District 33
House: Henry Green

District 34
Senate: Mary-Dulaney James
House: 34A  Mary Ann Lisanti, Pat Murray / 34B  Cassandra Beverly

District 35
House: 35A  David Rudolph

District 37
House: 37A  Sheree Sample-Hughes

District 38
House: 38B  Norman Conway / 38C  Judy Davis

District 39
Senate: Nancy King
House: Charles Barkley ,  Kirill Reznik,  Shane Robinson

District 40
Senate: Catherine Pugh
House: Frank Conaway, Barbara Robinson, Shawn Tarrant

District 41
Senate: Lisa Gladden
House: Jill Carter, Nathaniel Oaks, Samuel “Sandy” Rosenberg

District 42
Senate: Connie DeJuliis
House: 42A  Stephen Lafferty / 42B  Robert Leonard

District 43 
Senate: Joan Carter Conway
House: Curt Anderson, Maggie McIntosh, Mary Washington

District 44
Senate: Shirley Nathan-Pulliam
House: 44A  Keith Haynes / 44B Aaron Barnett, Charles Sydnor, III

District 45
Senate: Nathaniel McFadden
House: Talmadge Branch, Chery D. Glenn, Cory McCray

District 46
Senate: Bill Ferguson
House: Luke Clippinger, Peter Hammen, Brooke Elizabeth Lierman

District 47
Senate: Victor Ramirez
House: 47A  Jimmy Tarlau / 47B  No Recommendation