Tag Archives: Rich Madaleno

MoCo’s Most Influential, Part Six

By Adam Pagnucco.

Part One of this series laid out the rules and methodology for how we determined MoCo’s most influential people. These lists were developed by adding together the nominations of 85 people who are themselves extremely knowledgeable and influential. Today, we continue the list of the most influential non-elected people in MoCo.

12. Steve Hull, Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, Bethesda Magazine/Bethesda Beat – 9 votes

Source: While Bethesda Magazine / Bethesda Beat is not a political publication it has become one of the main local sources of news which means which stories are run and what information they present have influence. Just avoid the comment section!

AP: Let’s just state the obvious. Without Steve, MoCo would be close to a news desert. Steve would do just fine if all he had was Bethesda Magazine, but thank God he also runs Bethesda Beat. It is essential reading for anyone who cares about the community.

11. Josh Kurtz, Co-Founder and Editor, Maryland Matters – 10 votes

AP: As if being the best political writer in the state wasn’t enough, Josh had to go and found Maryland Matters, which is now the single best place to read about state politics. Political junkies all over the state are grateful!

10. Gustavo Torres, Founder and Executive Director, CASA – 11 votes

Source: Head of CASA only grows as a force to reckon with.

AP: From a church basement to the pinnacle of state and local politics, Gustavo is arguably the most powerful immigrant advocate in the entire Mid-Atlantic region. As CASA gets bigger along with the immigrant population, there is no end in sight to its influence.

9. Robin Ficker, Attorney, Former Delegate and Political Heckler – 12 votes

Source: His ballot measures have passed and upended things. He’s a fool of great consequence.

Source: Ficker knows how to craft winning ballot petitions and campaigns behind them. Ficker’s smarts are masked by his nutty personality, which causes people to underestimate him.

Source: Has accomplished more than some elected officials.

Source: May be obnoxious and annoying but his referendum drives influence the county.

Source: Crazy, but holds outsized influence.

AP: Ficker doesn’t get much love from my sources but one could make the case that he is actually the most influential non-elected person in the county. Who else has nearly single-handedly passed two charter amendments in the last twelve years with another possibly on the way? He has far more influence now than he ever did in his one term as a Delegate, and if his new anti-tax charter amendment passes, it will have a huge impact on county government for a loooooooong time.

7 (tied). Diana Conway, President, Women’s Democratic Club – 14 votes

Source: President of the Women’s Democratic Club, energizer bunny energy, often found walking the halls of Annapolis or e-mailing Councilmembers, throws a who’s who holiday party.

Source: Extremely connected, a force. Strong voice and everyone knows where she stands. Unafraid to go against the tide.

Source: Diana Conway is the president of the Women’s Democratic Club which was a pretty sleepy affair until Linda Kolko’s presidency and continuing through the presidency of Fran Rothstein. Now, they co-sponsor all sorts of events with “Do the Most Good,” and “J Walkers” and “Resist” and some others who I hope would forgive me for not having their names on the tip of my keyboard.

AP: Her nickname is Madam Kickass and that is the double truth, Ruth! Few people in the county can match Diana’s brains, tenacity and sheer capacity to do anything she decides to do. Her presidency of WDC is only the latest sign of her growing influence. PS – I feel sorry for the bureaucrats who have to answer her emails about artificial turf fields!

7 (tied). Rich Madaleno, Director, Montgomery County Office of Management and Budget and Former State Senator – 14 votes

Source: The budget whisperer. He plays a critical role in explaining how the county budget works to, well, everybody but especially Marc Elrich. Retains great Annapolis contacts.

Source: He’s become one of the county executive’s top defenders and surrogates while continuing to be an idea machine.

AP: The budget director is always important, but Rich’s experience at the state level and his status as a long-time (and effective!) former elected official make him even more influential than his position warrants. The budget crisis resulting from COVID-19 makes his role more critical than ever.

Part Seven will contain the much-awaited, soul-searing conclusion!

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Elrich Sends Budget Letter to the Council

By Adam Pagnucco.

Facing severe crises to public health, the county’s economy and its budget, County Executive Marc Elrich sent the letter below to the county council about the budget.  The main takeaways are:

1. The executive has instituted freezes on hiring and procurement for functions not related to COVID-19 response.  Overtime has also been restricted to COVID-19 response departments.

2. The finance department has begun estimating the crisis’s impact on county revenues.

3. The executive has begun talking to the county’s unions about “a range of compensation issues.”  No further details were provided.

4. Office of Management and Budget Director Rich Madaleno has been designated as the liaison to the council on “issues related to fiscal response and recovery.”  When Madaleno was a State Senator, he was a key player in working on the state’s budget problems during the Great Recession.  Few people in Maryland understand the state budget better than Madaleno.

We reprint Elrich’s letter below.  Bethesda Beat has reactions from some members of the county council.

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MoCo Gubernatorial Primary: Precinct Results

By Adam Pagnucco.

Former NAACP President Ben Jealous won every county in Maryland in the Democratic primary except Prince George’s and Calvert, where Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker outpolled him.  In MoCo, Jealous received 35.6% of the vote and Baker received 32.5%, a difference of 3.1 points.  The precinct results we show below only include election day votes, which accounted for 68% of the votes cast for gubernatorial candidates in MoCo.  Still, they show the patterns of voting for Jealous and Baker as well as for Senator Rich Madaleno (D-18), who finished third in the county, and former Michelle Obama aide Krish Vignarajah, who finished fourth.

Overall, MoCo saw a two-man race between Jealous and Baker.  Madaleno was a distant third; he finished first in Kensington but no higher than third anywhere else, including in District 18.  Vignarajah was fourth overall but finished third in Council District 2, State Legislative District 39 and several areas mostly located in Upcounty.  Generally speaking, Baker did well in white, wealthy areas in the southwest while Jealous won almost everywhere else.

Jealous’s Five Best Local Areas

  • Brookeville: 48% (first)
  • Takoma Park and Damascus: 46% (first)
  • Montgomery Village: 43% (first)
  • Silver Spring East County: 43% (first)

Jealous’s Five Worst Local Areas

  • Bethesda: 31% (second)
  • Leisure World: 31% (second)
  • Potomac: 28% (second)
  • Kensington: 28% (third)
  • Chevy Chase: 25% (second)

Baker’s Five Best Local Areas

  • Cabin John: 41% (first)
  • Bethesda: 39% (first)
  • Leisure World: 39% (first)
  • Potomac: 39% (first)
  • Chevy Chase: 38% (first)

Baker’s Five Worst Local Areas

  • Glenmont/Norbeck: 25% (second)
  • Clarksburg: 24% (second)
  • Poolesville: 24% (second)
  • Brookeville: 24% (second)
  • Damascus: 21% (second)

The racial differences in voting between Jealous and Baker can be easily seen in the demographic splits.  Baker won majority white precincts and the size of his advantage grew as the white percentage rose.  Jealous won “majority minority” precincts by 14 points.

One more factor to consider is the Washington Post, which endorsed Baker and attacked Jealous.  In a forthcoming blog post, we will compare the performance of Council At-Large candidates endorsed by the Post to those who were endorsed by MCEA.  The Post candidates’ performance was strongest compared to those supported by MCEA in Chevy Chase, Cabin John, Bethesda and Potomac – many of the same places where Baker performed best and Jealous performed worst.

We show the full splits below.

  

While Jealous won MoCo, he lost in the wealthy areas that tend to have disproportionate numbers of campaign contributors.  That’s an important fact to note since Jealous is trailing Governor Larry Hogan badly in fundraising from MoCo.  Jealous should tap into any MoCo surrogates he has, especially in Chevy Chase, Bethesda, Potomac and Kensington, to help him fortify those areas and raise money from them.  If they don’t come around to the Democratic nominee, Jealous’s path to Government House will be that much harder.

Next, we will begin looking at the County Executive candidates.

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MCEA’s Awkward Alliance

This year, the Montgomery County Education Association (MCEA) – the teachers union – decided to support Ben Jealous for governor. Fine, so far.

But this just got very awkward after last night’s education forum. Except for Rich Madaleno from Montgomery, all of the other candidates, including Ben Jealous, embraced a new wealth based formula for education funding that just kills Montgomery.

I imagine it also does little for affluent Howard. The new formula  zeros out funding for Talbot, Kent, and Worcester counties. Not only would it eliminate all no state aid for these three Eastern Shore jurisdictions, it also would require all that money to be made up in local taxes. Every penny cut would be required by state law to be replaced by local funds.

If there is one thing MCEA opposes, it’s cutting funds for Montgomery County Public Schools. Now, they’re supporting a candidate who wants to siphon large sums of money away from Montgomery to other jurisdictions.

Beyond the large number of portable classrooms, Montgomery faces a growing number of students who need extra help for a variety of reasons but who don’t come from families with a lot of extra money to help pick up the slack.

In the past, Adam Pagnucco has written about state funding formulas are already skewed against Montgomery, even as we face burgeoning problems in the public schools. Separately, a hike in the millionaires tax, paid primarily by Montgomery, has helped fund a burst of construction in Baltimore and elsewhere in the State.

The changes endorsed by all candidates except Madaleno would massively undermine efforts by Montgomery to address the achievement gap here. Indeed, the County would be hard pressed to maintain its current commitment with the size of cuts proposed, as Adam has explained well in a piece aptly titled “Hell, No!”

While this is awkward for Montgomery advocates of greater state school funding who support a variety of candidates, I imagine it might dismay county officials who support Rushern Baker at least partly in the hope that the D.C. area would get more attention to its increasingly serious needs.

But the problem is particularly acute for MCEA. They’ve found themselves behind a candidate whose platform would result in enormous pressure on the salaries and pensions of their members or force major cuts elsewhere in an already pressed county budget despite county efforts for years to protect education funding.

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Madaleno’s Radical Kiss

Who knew a kiss could be so radical?

Political advertisements rarely do something different. In public, straight people kiss all the time. In the media, they often do a lot more. For all the real and significant advances of the LGBT-rights movement, LGBT people are far more cautious.

Even mainstream television shows with LGBT characters rarely show much basic, normal affection. Will & Grace, which has two major gay characters, is practically the archetype for the absence of physical affection. (Andrew Sullivan refers to Will as the “eunuch.”)

Political ads take it to a whole new level. After all, political ads try to present candidates as wholesome, family oriented individuals. Candidates don’t want to threaten target voters but make them think he or she is “one of us.”

By showing himself kissing his husband with his two terrific African-American children, Madaleno pushes the boundary – and not in a safe, made for cable series but in a political advertisement. It explicitly makes the case and challenges voters that his marriage and his family are just as good as anyone else’s.

Now THAT’s progressive.

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Josh Starr’s Picks

By Adam Pagnucco.

Josh Starr was Superintendent of MCPS from 2011 through 2015 and still lives in MoCo.  He announced the candidates whom he supports on Facebook yesterday.  Agree with Starr or not, his personal experience of working with state and county elected officials gives him a unique perspective on those running for office.  With his permission, we reprint his post below.

*****

Very long post for my MoCo friends about my choices for the primaries, with notes/comments where I feel it’s appropriate. Please note that my choices and/or comments are based on my personal knowledge and experience with these folks, not any deep analysis of every statement/position/vote they’ve made. I definitely have biases.

Governor – Rich Madaleno; Baker would be my #2. When I was super, I found Rich to be one of the smartest, most thoughtful and most knowledgeable elected officials, esp. around budget. He was also one of the first Dems to push back against Hogan. Experienced, smart, progressive, would be a great governor. I’d also love to see an open member of the LGBTQ community elected governor, although that’s in no way the primary (pun intended) reason I’m supporting him.

Senator – Ben Cardin

Congress – Jamie Raskin, because he is, after all, The Jamie Raskin.

House of Delegates – 3 candidates:

Ariana Kelly – solid, speaks out on issues re: women, no reason for her not to continue in Annapolis.

Marc Korman – smart, thoughtful (in my LM class so I got to know him well), definitely a bright future.

Samir Paul – have had a few conversations with him, very sharp and we need more teachers in office.

County Executive (wherein I get a little snarky based on my experiences with many of these candidates). I also think the next CE might be a transitional leader, as we move from 12 years of Ike during an economic downturn towards a new vision that supports bold economic development with progressive politics.

I’m supporting Roger Berliner as I’ve always found him to be thoughtful, a really good listener/learner, consistent and progressive. I’ve always felt Roger tries to do the right thing in an inclusive and reasonable way and will work hard to bring people together around his vision.

A few comments on other CE candidates:

Blair – don’t know much about him, not a huge fan of business leaders assuming they can “save” public entities. I’m pretty agnostic.

Elrich – have always appreciated his progressive politics, always had a solid working relationship, sometimes I appreciate his willingness to take strong positions, sometimes I think they’re unforced errors; major concern is the big hill he’ll have to climb to convince a wide swath of the county that he can do economic development and enact a very progressive agenda.

Frick – there are some things I like about him, personally and professionally, but my experience with Roger Berliner outweighs any support for Frick.

Krasnow – don’t know her, but I hear good things, sounds like a solid choice.

Leventhal – based on personal/professional experience, I’m in the anyone-but-Leventhal camp. He doesn’t have the temperament or leadership skills to be CE, despite his sometimes-engaging personal style and progressive politics. Please, trust me on this one.

Council At-Large (4)

Gabe Albornoz – smart, engaging, thoughtful, has a very bright future; very supportive of kids and MCPS.

Hoan Dang – what I know, I like.

Will Jawando – he deserves a shot.

Hans Riemer – very education focused, solid on economy and progressive issues, always had a good working relationship, we need someone with experience and we need a degree of stability.

I am also in the anyone-but-Jill Ortman Fouse category, based on my experience with her as a board of education member while I was superintendent. Trust me.

Council – D1

Peter Fosselman – solid, good record in Kensington, deserves a shot at council.

BoE (always at the end of the ballot)

At-Large- Karla Silvestre, glad to see her running, great community leader, smart, thoughtful, will be a great BoE member.

D3 – Pat O’Neill, because she deserves a shot at the MD record for longest serving board member. On a serious note, she knows what the role of a board member is and provides an essential balance to other board members who think their job is to run the school system.

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Ben Jealous’s Need to Claim Credit for Marriage Equality is Just so Wrong

It’s a strange day when a straight man takes credit for marriage equality in Maryland but Ben Jealous is that guy.

I’m certainly happy that the NAACP moved to endorse marriage equality on his watch. It was a good decision and showed leadership. But it is a far cry from claiming to be the critical guy who made marriage equality happen.

In debates and on twitter, Jealous and his campaign have repeatedly cited the Baltimore Sun editorial honoring him as Marylander of Year as evidence to back up his claim. Indeed, it’s a generous editorial:

“Maryland is a better state — and ours is a more perfect union — because of Ben Jealous and his commitment to justice, equality, and the dignity of every child’s home,” Governor O’Malley said. “Here in Maryland, he was an indispensable part of repealing the death penalty, passing the Maryland Dream Act, ensuring civil marriage equality and expanding access to voting.”

When it comes to his being “indispensable” on marriage equality, however, Jealous and his campaign have been categorically unable and unwilling to provide any evidence to back up the claims of the editorial.

When the Jealous campaign tweeted a link to the editorial at me, I read it and then asked which legislators’ minds he had changed. The reply is revealing:

In other words, Jealous cannot identify a single legislator who changed their mind thanks to his efforts. I followed up by asking how many community organizers he had placed on the ground, as he claimed that had made the difference:

Personally, I preferred the Taylor Swift version of his reply. But again, it’s revealing. Rather than answer the hard-hitting question, he attacks the questioner. It takes a certain amount of chutzpah to accuse me of “pride” when he’s the guy claiming to have gotten marriage equality and numerous other legislative initiatives done.

So ultimately, beyond the editorial and the nice quote from Martin O’Malley of the sort that politicians tend to give when asked about someone receiving an award, we’re left with a whole lot of bupkis for evidence.

As someone who was actively part of Equality Maryland’s legislative lobbying team and Co-President of Equality Maryland during the referendum fight, I have some knowledge on the question. Jealous never showed up at any of the strategy sessions held with key legislators that I attended.

Jealous  was certainly never mentioned when it came to recruiting key votes on the issues. Carrie Evans, the Executive Director of Equality Maryland, played a key role in recruiting at least one Republican to a yes vote. Rep. Jamie Raskin, then a state senator, played a similar role in wooing the vote of a colleague on the fence.

Most importantly, I know that Sen. Rich Madaleno, who I support, spent years indefatigably working on this issue long before it was fashionable. As part of a long-term strategy, he built legislative capital and support to get the bill on the floor and passed. So many outsider candidates like to denigrate Annapolis politics, yet how do they think bills become laws and why then are they running for office?

Moreover, Rich Madaleno focused his energies so heavily on raising money for the marriage campaign that his own campaign account was sufficiently low to attract a challenge from deep pocketed Dana Beyer. (I should also mention that Ben Jealous’s running mate, Susie Turnbull, was very active in assisting the effort to win the 2012 referendum.)

None of the leaders of Equality Maryland, or any other incredibly kind and giving people who worked hard on the bill, have ever claimed to have been the key person in getting marriage equality accomplished. While I feel I did my bit, I also know that many were on the scene long before I arrived and also personally saw the self-effacing involvement of many good people.

One example I remember often is that of Del. Ben Barnes. He carried the bill for years in the House before it had a real chance of becoming law. Nevertheless, when asked to step aside for other sponsors in order to help advance the bill, he did so without any hesitation whatsoever. That’s someone who will never get much public credit but deserves it. The late Sen. Gwendolyn Britt similarly sponsored the bill in the Senate until she passed.

I do want to thank two straight African-American men for their incredibly helpful support: President Barack Obama and the late former NAACP President Julian Bond. President Obama’s timely evolution on the issue in advance of his own 2012 reelection bid created a critical and noticeable bump in the polls among African-American voters. When I asked Julian Bond if he’d be willing to appear in pro-marriage ads (he had the office next door to me at AU), he said yes immediately. I’ve also never seen anyone look so embarrassed when I thanked him in his office just before I got legally married.

Back to pride for a moment. If Ben Jealous wants to spout quotes on pride at me, he might think on another one before claiming credit for being the critical person in a long-term effort of someone else’s civil rights movement: “Pride goeth before a fall.”

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Madaleno Gains Baltimore County Endorsements

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz naturally gathered up a lot of endorsements in his home base. His sudden passing has left open a lot of support that would’ve otherwise understandably gone to Kamenetz up for grabs.

Looks like Rich Madaleno, who I support, is gaining at least a share of that support with endorsements from the West Baltimore County Democratic Club and the Baltimore Progressive Democrats  Club. The endorsements reported in the press release include support from Sen. Delores Kelley (D-10):

State Senator Delores Kelley, a key member of the West Baltimore County Democratic Club, stated, “If you want a Governor who is already up to speed on greater opportunities inherent in the State budget for all Maryland jurisdictions, a team committed to smart growth for every economic sector, to better resourcing of public education at all levels, and a Lieutenant-Governor with actual executive experience in Maryland  State  government, then join me in voting for Rich Madaleno and Luwanda Jenkins.”

Robert Benjamin, President of the Baltimore County Progressive Democrats Club, called Madaleno “the most progressive voice” among the primary candidates:

As a group, our club decided that Rich Madaleno is the most progressive voice in the pack of Democratic candidates vying to challenge Larry Hogan in November – and who is well-positioned to successfully do so. Baltimore County progressives need a candidate like him who can bring people together and speak to a wide segment of the population, because unity is what it will take to vote Hogan out.

Madaleno fell just short of also gaining the Central Baltimore County Democratic Club, beating Ben Jealous 57% to 19% but below the group’s 60% endorsement threshold.

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MD NARAL Endorses Rich Madaleno for Governor

Along with Rep. Jamie Raskin’s (D-8) support, this is the biggest endorsement to date received by the Madaleno campaign.

Choice, access to contraception and women’s health care are big issues, especially in this #metoo election. Additionally, U.S. House Republicans made reducing access to women’s health care services integral to their failed plan to gut the Affordable Care Act. So these issues are more salient than four years ago and MD NARAL’s imprimatur, always nice to have, is more valuable than usual.

Why did NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland endorse Rich Madaleno over his Democratic competitors?

For a start, though women form close to 60% of Democratic primary voters and are a critical constituency for any candidate, County Executives Kevin Kamenetz (D-Baltimore County) and Rushern Baker (D-Prince George’s) surprisingly did not submit questionnaires to MD NARAL.

Four other candidates – Ben Jealous, Alec Ross, Jim Shea, and Krish Vignarajah – were rated 100% by MD NARAL on their questionnaire responses. They will understandably tout this rating as good evidence of their staunch pro-choice and pro-women credentials.

Apparently, MD NARAL chose Madaleno over these four candidates based on his established record of not just supporting MD NARAL’s viewpoint on these questions but having delivered concrete legislative gains on a wide range of issues. As the Madaleno campaign explains in its press release:

Madaleno was the Democrat who protected funding for Planned Parenthood when it was attacked by Republicans in Congress in 2017. He has also co-sponsored a number of laws: to make feminine products available to homeless girls and women; to expand services to victims of sexual assault; and to ensure insurance coverage in Maryland for prescription contraceptive drugs and devices.

The full press release is below.

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