Tag Archives: Brooke Lierman

Analysis: Democrats Must Address Baltimore or Drown Politically in the Undertow

Much debate swirls around police brutality in Baltimore and the peaceful protests then riots following Freddie Gray’s death but little discussion has taken place about the political impact of these events. Today’s post focuses on that question.

Put bluntly, it puts the squeeze on Democrats.

In the struggle over public opinion regarding police actions, many voters tend to give the police the benefit of the doubt as they value law and order and respect that it’s a tough and often dangerous job. That bias can be overcome, as in New York, if protests stay peaceful and the police overplay their hand.

In Maryland, however, the Baltimore riots are likely to hurt the Democrats among the swingy white voters who elected Gov. Larry Hogan and helped the Republicans to take the Senate nationally. Remember that the events in Ferguson were in the spotlight just before the 2014 elections.

And the effect may not be limited to whites. There is no guarantee that Maryland’s Latino and Asian voters will not be more concerned about public safety than police brutality. People of color are not a political or social monolith.

Messages that Won’t Work

Unsurprisingly, people have strong views on the police, race, and many related issues. However, some of these viewpoints have the potential to harm Democrats greatly. Critically, I emphasize that the point here is not whether the views are right or wrong but that seem likely to me to have a sharp negative political impact.

Arguments that these problems all stem from racism will only exacerbate Democratic political problems. Nobody likes being accused of being a racist–an excellent way to alienate voters appalled by the riots. Moreover, they know some of the police involved in Freddie Gray’s death are African American, as is the police chief and mayor.

Similarly, efforts to label the riots an “uprising” will strike the same voters as hopelessly out of touch (read: insane). Quotes from Democrats that appear to justify violence, like Del. Maricé Morales’ Facebook post, will be used against Democrats.

The sharp spike in the murder rate in the wake of the riots will only increase the demand for law and order. Many of the victims are African American. Charnice Milton, a promising young journalist with a moving personal story, was shot to death just a few days ago in Washington, DC when she got caught in gang crossfire responsible for many recent killings in Baltimore.

Blaming chronic neglect of the poorest parts of Baltimore won’t work either. After sixteen years of William Donald Schaefer and Martin O’Malley as Governor, it’s a hard sell that the State has not sent sufficient cash Baltimore’s way.

It doesn’t matter whether these points are correct so much as this is how many swing voters will perceive it. It’s their views that shape their votes–not how you think they should see events.

Crafting a Democratic Message

Getting a grip on this tough issue politically is going to require a clear message that doesn’t sound hedging yet addresses the very legitimate concerns of the party’s oft-divided constituencies. Borrowing a version of Tony Blair’s “tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime” slogan from the 1990s might fit the bill.

Criminal behavior is unacceptable. Full stop. The recent riots stole jobs from working people and burned down housing being built by local leaders for the elderly. Violence eats at the fabric of already struggling communities.

For exactly these reasons, we need stronger policing policies that protect the rights and dignity of citizens as well as the police. We need to do it not only because it’s right but because our communities will be safer for it. Mutual lack of trust and hostility between the police and the community is a direct threat to public safety.

Crises provide opportunities for leaders. These are tough problems but addressing them can advance the party’s strong commitment to justice and to public safety. Articulating a strong message supporting both is critical to preserving public trust.

It’s more complicated that straightforward condemnations of either criminal behavior or police brutality. Fortunately, there are signs of some Democrats leading the way. See the Facebook comments by Del. Brooke Lierman (and the other legislators from D46) as well as Del. David Moon’s call to end the damaging drug war.

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Legislators Working to Make Metro Better

firemen in metroJust More Media Hysteria, So Chillax

Denial from Greater Greater Washington

Greater Greater Washington’s response to the series of problems with both the Metro and the DC streetcar was to blame “media hysteria” and remind us that transit is still safer than driving. So pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

Better Response from the General Assembly

Fortunately, like the public they represent, legislators in the General Assembly think the continuing rot in Metro not only needs to be stopped but reversed. I don’t think this weekend’s repeated problems will persuade them otherwise.

Freshmen Del. Marc Korman (D-16) and Del. Erek Barron (D-24) have real interest in transit issues and have organized an informal Metro working group as part of an effort to figure out how to fix WMATA and exert more effective pressure to do so.

Special kudos to Del. Tawanna Gaines (D-22) who heads the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Environment and Transportation for supporting the effort. It’s terrific to see leaders like Del. Gaines working to support reform efforts.

The people involved realize that these are long-term problems with no quick fix. Hopefully, they can (1) improve oversight of Metro, (2) get Metro to address some specific problems, and (3) start to address some of the central questions around WMATA’s management and funding.

Fortunately, the interest in these questions extends even beyond the Metro area. Great to hear that Del. Brooke Lierman (D-46) and Del. Bob Flanagan (R-9B) joined many legislators from Montgomery and Prince George’s to attend the group meetings. Del. Flanagan was a former Secretary of Transportation in the Ehrlich administration.

While I look forward to seeing the group’s action plan as they learn more about WMATA, it is a good start that those involved know there are serious problems and want to figure out how to fix them in a more systematic, effective way.

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More State of the State Reax

More reactions to Governor Hogan’s inaugural State of the State address:

Delegate Brooke Lierman (D-46, Baltimore):

Early in his speech, the Governor talked about a “disconnect” during the past Administration between Annapolis and the rest of Maryland, but from what I have heard from my constituents, this Governor seems to be the one who is disconnected.  I have had a full email inbox every day with notes from Marylanders who understand the need for a balanced budget – indeed, the State cannot by law pass a budget with a deficit – but also demand that we not balance the budget on the backs of Maryland’s school children, on the backs of our middle-class state employees and community service providers, or by gutting environmental programs.  Governor Hogan today shared a vision for fiscal policies that will lead to a dirtier bay, more crowded classrooms, and a Maryland with greater inequality.  That is not a vision I share.  As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I want to pass a fiscally prudent, socially responsible budget that moves our state forward.  Governor Hogan’s budget fails on both accounts, and his speech today only highlighted that fact.

Montgomery County Planning Board Member Natali Fani-Gonzalez:

I was pleased to see Gov. Hogan highlight the need to build a stronger and more competitive Maryland. He mentioned the Maryland Economic Development and Business Climate Commission, which was just created last year.  There is no better way for Gov. Hogan to put his theory into practice than by supporting the immediate creation of the Purple Line.  Let’s build a light rail that creates jobs, promotes sustainable communities and attracts businesses to spearhead a more prosperous Maryland.

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Tea Leaves of MD-03

MD-03 is a tricky district. It has a Jackson Pollock quality in terms of it’s lines that really means no elected official has a true base here. It does take in enough prime political real estate that if John Sarbanes (still a young man) runs for his father’s US Senate seat one day – there should be a hard thought Democratic primary.

From Montgomery County

It would not totally surprise me if Steve Silverman were interested in running for Congress, and he does indeed reside in the third district. He raised well over two million dollars in his bid for Montgomery County Exec in 2006. I doubt he could do half that for a Congressional campaign today. However, he’d have at least half a million at his disposal, and possibly seven or eight or nine hundred thousand.

A few terms in Congress would surely be an enticing capstone to Ike Leggett’s career (And he too lives in MD-03). He could put together 1.5 to 2.5 million dollars and would be a strong candidate. Ike would be a real heavy weigh. . . and don’t we always say he’d be a better legislator?

Anne Kaiser might clear a million dollars, but I’d be surprised. I wouldn’t be shocked if she had at least $700,000. I’d be blown away if she didn’t clear half a million. I suspect she’d get substantial help from national LGBT Donors and interests.

Craig Zucker could do $250,000-$500,000. He’d also be dynamic enough to stretch those dollars. Craig might do well with SEIU (He ran there home care program in Maryland at one point) which could help substantially. Zucker is an incredibly hardworking candidate and could make himself competitive for the seat.

Eric Luedtke is a lackluster fundraiser but could see substantial labor PAC money come to fund him. I’d also be a bit perplexed if the NEA didn’t spend hundreds of thousands in independent expenditure to support him, especially if Bill Ferguson were in the race. The dynamic between  Teacher Union Activist Luedtke and Teach for America Alumnus Ferguson on Education Reform, although they are (from what I understand), quite close in the legislature, might very well make this a proxy fight between powerful labor and reformist interests (similar to the 2013 Boston Mayoral run off between Marty Walsh and Dan Connelly).

Anne Arundel County 

Maybe former Annapolis Mayor Josh Cohen. No idea what he could raise. More than 100. . . but who knows how much more? I don’t think he’d be a particularly serious candidate, with little opportunity to expand outside of his base in the City of Annapolis (not big enough to support a real congressional bid). Nice guy, though.

County Councilman Chris Trumbauer might be able to garner substantial backing in IE from the Sierra Club and the League of Conservation Voters. Which is lucky for him because he couldn’t raise more than low six figures on his own. He’d be well positioned to lock down the Anne Arundel County portions of the district (although that’s not a huge base).

Baltimore County

Bobby Zirkin a dynamic, handsome young trial lawyer who happens to be a strong contender to be the next chairman of the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee. If that happens, his number could be as high as $1.5 million. If not, $650,000-$1,000,000. Senator Zirkin could likely raise very substantial amounts of money from the incredibly tuned in community of Trial Lawyers that finances so many Democratic Stalwarts.

Dan Morhaim – a Delegate and a Doctor makes a powerful combination. Would clear a million easily. Two million might be a stretch. Shares a heavily Jewish Western Baltimore County district with Zirkin. Despite being one of the stronger fundraisers in the house, he lacks enough pizzazz to be a solid congressional contender in my opinion.

Jon Cardin– Would raise a million easily, but not more than $1.2 or 1.3. Would benefit from confusion with his uncle as well. But, I think that Jon is pretty done after the AG Race. However, the Cardin brand is stronger here than it is statewide.

Baltimore City

Brooke Lierman She could raise a million bucks off her last name, and probably another 300K off of her own network. If Hoyer came in to aid his former Chief of Staff’s daughter you could see another quarter million drop in. She’d be competitive against Anne Kaiser for an Emily’s List endorsement. But as we saw with Heather Mizeur in the 2014 Gubernatorial primary they don’t devote a lot of resources to Democratic Primaries in Deep Blue states.

Bill Ferguson – A handsome, white, young Baltimorean State Senator with real education reform credentials. Can he get buy in from national Ed Reform donors and raise mega millions? I’m not sure. A guy to watch, none the less. With a very, very solid base in the rapidly gentrifying, densely Democratic neighborhoods of South Baltimore. Definitely one to watch.

bIn a primary this crowded, with so many disparate bases of support, I have no clue who might come out on top. I’m not going to pretend that I do.

 

 

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Superstars in Waiting: The Freshman Democratic House Class

Without an unprecedented General Election upset, the following Democratic nominees for House Seats will be sworn into the General Assembly for the 2015 Session. These legislators show particular promise:

1) Brooke Lierman – The new face of South Baltimore is young, white, wealthy and progressive. Brooke is all of these things (And DC powerhouse Terry Lierman’s daughter). Despite a convenient last name, she fully deserves her seat in the House on her own merits (going back to the campaigns of Paul Wellstone and Howard Dean) up to her present day practice as a civil rights lawyer.

2) Erek Barron – An Attorney at Whiteford, Taylor & Preston, the newest addition to the District 24 Delegation has tremendous statewide potential. A former prosecutor (as an ASA in Prince George’s and Baltimore City as well as at the Department of Justice) who worked for then US Senator Joe Biden on Capitol Hill, Erek has as sterling a resume as any legislator. He also has an easy going charm and keen intelligence. Bonus Points: he played foot ball at College Park.

3) Marc Korman – This Sidley Austin Attorney and former Capitol Hill Staffer (not to mention a former blogger at Seventh State predecessor Maryland Politics Watch) has always been the smartest guy in the room–and that definitely won’t change when he gets to the Lowe House Office Building.

4) Andrew Platt – A very, very sharp former US House Leadership staffer cruised to victory and is set to become the youngest legislator in Annapolis. He has future leadership written all over him.

5) Cory McCray This East Baltimore IBEW Leader is charming and exceedingly genuine. He ran an incredibly strong campaign this year and is sure to rise quickly in Annapolis as a powerful voice for working families in the state.

6) David Moon – Attorney and Political Operative David Moon is sure to establish as a liberal lion in the legislature as he marries his communication skills with sharp progressive politics. He will represent his new constituents in Takoma Park well.

7) Will Smith – Despite (perhaps unduly harsh) criticism of his campaign budgeting decisions on this blog (by me), Will Smith cruised to victory on June 24th with the help of a slate led by Jamie Raskin. His future in this state couldn’t be brighter.

These are the future County Executives, Congressman, MGA Committee Chairs, Attorneys General, Comptrollers, Lieutenant Governors of the coming 10-15 years.

Note: This post was modified from the original version because Candice Quinn Kelly lost her close race.

 

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Lierman Has Inside Track in D46

D46

Compared to other Baltimore City districts, redistricting left District 46 unscathed and it still encompasses the neighborhoods surrounding the harbor. Like all of Baltimore City, District 46 is Democratic turf. No Republican has bothered to file for the legislature, so the Democratic primary is the election.

Sen. Bill Ferguson demolished incumbent Sen. George Della with 59% of the vote in the 2010 Democratic primary. An impressive accomplishment, as Della had served since 1990 and is the son of a previous Senate President from the district with the same name. Coasting to his second term with only nominal opposition and $121K in his campaign account, Ferguson is just 30 years old. For these reasons alone, he has to be one to watch.

The two incumbent delegates seeking reelection, Del. Luke Clippinger ($52K) and Del. Peter Hammen ($121K), should also be safe. Hammen is the senior member of the delegation, having served since 1994. He is also the most powerful, as he holds the Chair of the Health and Government Operations Committee. Clippinger is an assistant state’s attorney in Anne Arundel and unsurprisingly serves on the Judiciary Committee. He was a real leader in the fight for marriage equality.

Attorney Brooke Lierman, who graduated from Walt Whitman HS in Montgomery County, is the favorite for the open seat for several reasons. First, she is the daughter of former Democratic Party Chair Terry Lierman (and sister of Kyle Lierman, who ran in D16 in 2010). Relatedly, she has $104K in her campaign account and the ability to raise more. My guess is also relatedly, Ferguson, Clippinger, and Hammen have formed a slate with her. Finally, it doesn’t hurt that she is reported to be very nice.

Lierman is not a total lock for the seat. Bill Romani ran for delegate in 2010 and came in a respectable fourth. Romani has good name recognition and will probably raise enough money to run a respectable campaign–he now has $33K in the bank. But all that respect probably won’t be enough to overcome Lierman’s money and the slate, though expect him to do his best to surprise.

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