Tag Archives: Nancy King

Political Opening in Alcohol

Politicians often have trouble finding major issues that they can use successfully in campaigns. The Montgomery County Liquor Monopoly provides a rare opportunity for politicians who wish to advance or outsiders who want to crash the incumbent party.

Why It is a Good Campaign Issue

Good campaign issues have several key attributes. First, they have to divide you from your opponent. Voters cannot  differentiate between candidates when they agree. Put another way, “I’m even more pro-choice” is usually not going to unseat an incumbent. Montgomery County’s liquor monopoly is an easy issue for candidates to differentiate themselves.

Second, the subject has to be easy to communicate. If an issue requires jargon, like Maintenance of Effort, to explain it, it is not going to work. Clear and concise are critical. Opposition to the monopoly is the rare issue that works well on a postcard.

Finally, voters have to care about the issue and favor the candidate’s position. Unlike with many issues, many voters have direct experience of the monopoly and have formed opinions about it. Put simply, they don’t like it and would like to see it go away. Recently, a poll confirmed the well-known widely shared antipathy for it.

Opportunity in Opposing the DLC Monopoly

The existing Department of Liquor Control monopoly over the distribution of all alcohol and the sale of hard liquor provides a fat, juicy target. Through personal experience, many County voters know that the DLC assures higher prices in unattractive stores.

Comptroller Peter Franchot has already raised the issue’s profile.
The natural coalition favoring reform is powerful. Consumers receive no benefit from the monopoly, as it raises prices and forces them to travel farther to find greater selections at lower prices. They just don’t get why the County needs to be in this business. In short, they’ll only benefit if perestroika arrives in MoCo.

Business also hates the monopoly because it makes it much harder for the critical restaurant sector to thrive. More broadly, it is a barrier to expanding business around the County’s nightlife. Getting rid of the monopoly is a leading priority for the Chamber of Commerce. Fighting the monopoly looks like an excellent way to open doors to an untapped source of campaign donations.

Moreover, the defenders of the monopoly make excellent foils. Its main supporter is MCGEO–the union that represents the current DLC stores. While they claim to protect union jobs, the industry is highly unionized, so their real fear is that the workers would be represented by other unions.

Moreover, MCGEO acts like a union out of Republican central casting, attempting to bully its opponents into submission. Union President Gino Renne is not just a character but a caricature of the well-paid union boss. MCGEO slings mud in a way that attracts bad publicity rather than support.

Moreover, MCGEO is incredibly ineffective. It tried to take down numerous incumbents in the last election and failed all around. Unlike the Teachers (MCEA), MCEGO just doesn’t carry much weight with voters or show an ability to accomplish much on behalf of its candidates. Councilmember Roger Berliner wiped the floor against MCGEO’s well-funded candidate in 2014.

Conclusion and Petition

This is a rare bipartisan opportunity. Opposition to the monopoly is shared among Democrats and Republicans. It’s great issue for either primary or general challengers to wield against local or state incumbents who don’t join those who have gotten out in front on this issue.

Six members of the General Assembly–Del. Kathleen Dumais, Sen. Brian Feldman, Del. Bill Frick, Sen. Nancy King, Del. Aruna Miller, and Del. Kirill Reznik–are sponsoring a bill so that Montgomery voters can decide the issue in a referendum.

You can sign the petition, launched yesterday, to support their efforts.

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Miller Announces New Senate Leadership

Today, Senate President Mike Miller announced his new leadership team. Except for Sen. Ed DeGrange from Anne Arundel, all are from either Baltimore, Montgomery or Prince George’s–for the excellent reason that these jurisdictions provide the majority of the Democratic Caucus.

Committee Leadership

Much speculation surrounded who would take incoming AG Brian Frosh’s place as Chair of Judicial Proceedings, and the post has gone to Sen. Bobby Zirkin, who played leadership roles in efforts to decriminalize marijuana and tighten the responsibility of dog owners for attacks by unleashed dogs. Sen. Lisa Gladden will remain Vice Chair of this committee.

Sen. Jamie Raskin now heads the Executive Nominations Committee with Sen. Delores Kelley serving as Vice Chair. Less exciting during unified government, this committee will likely play a much stronger role–particularly in the next few months–with the Senate controlled by Democrats and the governorship by the Republicans.

Sen. Rich Madaleno also advances to Vice Chair of the Budget and Taxation Committee. Interestingly, he now holds the same posts as U.S. Rep. Chris Van Hollen did when he was in the MD Senate. Sen. Ed Kasemeyer, a comparatively moderate Democrat, will remain chair, which likely makes Madaleno a key progressive point person on budget issues.

Besides serving as Chair of the Montgomery County Senate delegation, Sen. Nancy King will now serve as Chair of the Education, Business and Administration Subcommittee of the Budget and Taxation Committee.

Another progressive, Sen. Paul Pinsky, advances to Vice Chair of Education, Health and Environmental Affairs. Sen. Joan Carter Conway remains the Chair of this Committee. This committee also remains a likely flashpoint between the Governor-Elect and the Democratic General Assembly.

Additional appointments, including a slew of new faces in the party leadership, including Sen. Catherine Pugh–a leader from Baltimore City–as Majority Leader are announced in the full press release:

SENATE PRESIDENT MILLER ANNOUNCES NEW LEADERSHIP APPOINTMENTS

ANNAPOLIS, MD – Today, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr. announced the first round of new leadership appointments effective for the new legislative session. “We are blessed in the Senate to have a wealth of talent and wisdom to help lead the state forward,” stated Senator Miller. “These members will provide the leadership to move our state and chamber forward.”

Senator Bobby Zirkin (Baltimore County, D-11) will become the Chair of the Judicial Proceedings Committee. Senator Zirkin has served on the Judicial Proceedings Committee during his time in the Senate, and served as a member of the House Judiciary Committee during his time in the House. “Senator Zirkin has been a key leader on judicial issues, and I know he is the right person to lead this committee,” stated Senator Miller. “His work in the legislature, and in his law practice provides him with the real-world experience that will allow him to lead the Judicial Proceedings Committee through the many difficult issues they will face.” Senator Lisa Gladden will remain Vice-Chair of the Judicial Proceedings Committee.

Senator Jamie Raskin (Montgomery County, D-20) will serve as Chair of the Executive Nominations Committee, and Senate Chair of the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics. Senator Raskin has served in the Senate since 2007, and has served as a member of many important committees including Legislative Ethics, and Judicial Proceedings. Since 2012, Senator Raskin has also served as Majority Whip. “Senator Raskin’s ability to lead on key issues, and knowledge of this state will serve well as Chair of the Executive Nominations Committee,” stated Senator Miller. “Additionally, his legal knowledge and strong moral compass will make him a perfect fit for the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics.” Senator Delores Kelley will serve as Vice-Chair of the Executive Nominations Committee

Senator Richard S. Madaleno (Montgomery County, D-18) will serve as Vice-Chair of the Budget & Taxation Committee. Senator Madaleno has served in the Senate since 2007, all on the Budget & Taxation Committee. He will also serve as Chair of the Health and Human Services Subcommittee. “Senator Madaleno is one of the brightest budget minds in the Senate, and his leadership on a wide variety of budget issues will be critically important as we face looming deficits and difficult times ahead.” stated Senator Miller. “I am confident that Senator Madaleno will continue to be an effective advocate for the best interest of the entire state.” Senator Edward Kasemeyer will continue to serve as Chair of the Budget & Taxation Committee

Senator Paul G. Pinsky (Prince George’s County, D-22) will serve as Vice-Chair of the Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee. Senator Pinsky has served on the Education, Health, & Environmental Affairs Committee in the Senate since 1994, and as the Chair of the Education Subcommittee since 2003. “Senator Pinsky has the depth of knowledge of the issues needed to help guide this committee,” stated Senator Miller. “His keen understanding of educational and environmental issues will be an asset to our state moving forward.” Senator Joan Carter Conway will continue to serve as Chair of the Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs committee.

Senator James “Ed” DeGrange (Anne Arundel County, D-32) will serve as Vice-Chair of the Rules Committee. Senator DeGrange has served in the Senate since 1998, and has formerly served as Vice-Chair of the Executive Nominations Committee, and currently serves as Chair of the Public Safety, Transportation, and Environment Subcommittee of the Budget and Taxation Committee, as well as Chair of the Capital Budget Subcommittee of the Budget and Taxation Committee. Senator DeGrange will continue in both these roles. Said Senator Miller: “Senator DeGrange is a true leader in the Senate and his longevity and leadership will ensure that the Rules Committee will have a strong voice as Vice-Chair.” Senator Katherine Klausmeier will continue to serve as Chair of the Committee on Rules.

Senator Nancy J. King (Montgomery County, D-39) will serve as Chair of the Education, Business and Administration Subcommittee, and will continue to serve as Assistant Deputy Majority Leader. “Senator King is a leader on budgetary issues in the Senate, and a key member of the Budget & Taxation committee,” stated Senator Miller. “As Education, Business and Administration Subcommittee Chair, Senator King will make certain we look out for the needs of all Marylanders.”

In addition to committee leadership, Senator Miller today announced Caucus leadership for the Senate Democratic Caucus. “We thank Senator Jim Robey for his service to our Caucus and our state. I am proud to announce the new Caucus leadership who will continue to make sure that as Democrats we continue to have a large tent that hears the views of all Democrats and all Marylanders.”

Senator Catherine Pugh (Baltimore City, D-40) will serve as Majority Leader. Senator Pugh has served in the Senate since 2007, has served as Deputy Majority Leader since 2011, and is the former Chair of the Women’s Caucus. “Senator Pugh has the respect and admiration of her colleagues throughout the Caucus and the Senate,” stated Senator Miller. “She has a strong grasp on the issues and will be a strong voice for the needs of all Marylanders.”

Senator Douglas J. J. Peters (Prince George’s County, D-23) will serve as Caucus Chair. Additionally, Senator Peters will serve as the Chair of the Pensions Subcommittee of the Budget & Taxation Committee. Senator Peters has served in the Senate since 2007, and has served as Chair of the Prince George’s County Delegation and Chair of the Veteran’s Caucus. “Senator Peters has been a strong leader in the Senate and will serve the Caucus well as its Chair,” stated Senator Miller. “His commitment and devotion to the State of Maryland and knowledge of budgetary issues will help to lead this state through the upcoming session.”

Senator Katherine Klausmeier (Baltimore County, D-8) will serve as the Deputy Majority Leader. Senator Klausmeier has served in the Senate since 2003, and the General Assembly since 1995. “Senator Klausmeier brings a unique perspective to our Caucus, and one that helps bind together and ensure that all areas and perspectives of our state continue to be heard,” stated Senate Miller. “I am excited to have her serve our Caucus in this key leadership role.” Senator Klausmeier will also continue to serve as Chair of the Senate Rules Committee.

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Delegation Chairs from District 39

District 39

District 39 Sen. Nancy King will be the chair of the Montgomery County Senate delegation. Now, it appears as if the chair of the House delegation will also hail from D39, as it is said that Del. Shane Robinson has received assurances of support from a majority of Montgomery County delegates. Good news for residents of this part of the County–no worries that their concerns will fail to gain concern for the delegation.

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Ten Most Progressive Senators

ProgSen

In the Maryland Senate, all of the incoming Democrats will be more liberal than all of the Republicans. But who are currently the most progressive of the 47 state senators?

Using the same dataset provided by Boris Shor and Nolan McCarty of state legislator ideology mentioned in previous posts, the above table lists the most progressive senators. Remember that a more negative score indicates a more progressive senator. These scores are for the legislator’s entire career in the General Assembly and include House as well as Senate service.

The most consistently progressive member of the Maryland Senate is Rich Madaleno, who represents District 18 (Chevy Chase, Kensington and Wheaton) in Montgomery County. Indeed, six of the most liberal senators represent MoCo–Madaleno (#1), Manno (#3), Lee, (#4) Montgomery (#5), King (#7), and Raskin (#10).

Three of the others on the list are African-American women from Prince George’s or Baltimore: Conway (#6), Nathan Pulliam (#8), and Benson (#9). The final member of the list is Paul Pinsky, who hails from Prince George’s and is the second most progressive member of the Senate after Madaleno.

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Who is the Next Senate Majority Leader?

Trying to figure out who is the next person to obtain a particular leadership position in any legislature is often a pointless exercise in Kremlinology. However, pointless exercises in Kremlinology are great fun. So here we go.

After the 2010 elections, Senate Majority Leader Ed Kasemeyer was appointed Chairman of the powerful Budget and Taxation Committee. Senate President Mike Miller appointed Montgomery County Senator Rob Garagiola as his replacement. After the 2013 session, Senator Garagiola retired from the legislature. In his place, retiring Howard County Senator Jim Robey served as a placeholder Majority Leader for the 2014 Session.

Following the 2014 Elections, the position will be vacant and Mike Miller will need to appoint a new Majority Leader for the fourth time in four-ish years. I asked a panel of reporters at a forum on the 2014 session who they thought had the best shot at becoming Majority Leader. None had any idea who might be on the short list.

After consulting with my vast network of spies, the following would appear to be the short list –

  • Bobby Zirkin (Baltimore County)
  • Rich Madelano (Montgomery County)
  • Roger Manno (Montgomery County)
  • Nancy King (Montgomery County)
  • Paul Pinsky (Prince George’s County)

From 2011-2013, Montgomery County held to two leadership positions in the Senate (JPR Chair and Majority Leader). Montgomery County currently holds one (JPR Chair), but that is precarious as Frosh is running for Attorney General. For Maryland’s largest jurisdiction to hold no leadership positions in the upper chamber would be untenable, especially since all of Montgomery’s eight Senate seats are held by Democrats.

Most people I have talked to view Jamie Raskin as the heavy favorite for the JPR Chairmanship. However, if Raskin is not appointed–and considering how far to the left of Mike Miller he is, this does not seem unrealistic to me–it would seem to necessitate the appointment of Manno, Madaleno or King as Majority Leader.

However, Raskin’s main opponent for the JPR Chairmanship seems to be Bobby Zirkin of Baltimore County. If Raskin is appointed Chair, Zirkin could be appointed Majority Leader as a consolation prize. Conversely, if he is passed over for Chair, Raskin could find himself in contention to be Majority Leader

I personally think Manno (who would be entering his second term in the senate) probably lacks the requisite seniority to be Majority Leader. However, stranger things have happened.

Currently, Prince George’s County lacks a Committee Chairman, although Senate President Mike Miller represents a large chunk of the jurisdiction. This makes Pinsky somewhat more attractive.

Who am I missing? Who do you think has the edge? What’s your analysis? Email johnga.ems@gmail.com to let me know.

 

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Surprisingly Dull in D39

District 39

None of the four incumbent Democrats that represent District 39 in the General Assembly face opposition–a surprising change from four years ago and not what many expected.

Sen. Nancy King faced fierce competition from Del. Saqib Ali in 2010. Not too long after the 2006 election, Sen. P.J. Hogan stepped down and the MCDCC chose then Del. King, who had won two terms and also served on the Board of Education, for the seat over newly elected Del. Ali.

Ali dogged King relentlessly for the rest of the term, continually attacking her as insufficiently progressive. The 2010 primary was rough with Sleepy Saqib pictures that Ali had posted on his Facebook page appearing in King’s mailers. (Kids, there is a life lesson here.) Ali ran a very strong campaign but The Rumble in Germantown ended with King taking the nomination by 248 votes.

The new redistricting plan just happened to draw Ali’s home into District 15. Unlike for congressional elections, Article III, Section 3 of the Maryland Constitution requires that legislative candidates live in their district. In the words of the Church Lady (late 1980s SNL youngsters), “how convenient.”

But not so surprising. Senate President Mike Miller has zero desire to see Saqib in the Senate. And Ali’s aggressive style in the General Assembly did not win him friends among his colleagues, though it was nearly enough to propel him into the Senate.

Ali could have established residency in the new D39 but committed to D15 when he sought the delegate vacancy last year caused by Del. Brian Feldman’s appointment to the Senate. Ali entered the delegate election in D15 but pulled out in December.

King and Del. Charles Barkley have especially robust campaign accounts–Barkley has 92K compared to 91K for King. Del. Kirill Reznik has a healthy 43K with 26K in Del. Shane Robinson’s account. I guess Reznik needs to serve more expensive hamburgers at his annual Grill with Kirill event. Or maybe Del. Barkley can take him to school.

An enjoyable election season for the incumbents in District 39–but not for those watching elections.

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