Tag Archives: Rushern Baker

Delaney Endorses Baker

Here is the press release from the Baker campaign:

U.S. CONGRESSMAN JOHN DELANEY ENDORSES RUSHERN BAKER FOR GOVERNOR

Baltimore County, MD – Today, U.S. Congressman John Delaney (D-6) announced his support for Rushern L. Baker III, Democratic nominee for governor of Maryland. The announcement comes a day after Valerie Ervin announced she would be joining the Baker/Embry ticket. Over the weekend, Rushern Baker announced a wave of Baltimore County and Baltimore City support, including Julian Jones, the Chair of the Baltimore County Council; Delegate Adrienne Jones, Speaker Pro Tem of the Maryland House of Delegates; and two former Baltimore County Executives: Dennis Rasmussen and Ted Venetoulis.

Congressman Delaney will join Rushern Baker for an event next week. Time and location are TBD.

“I’m proud to endorse my friend Rushern Baker for Governor of Maryland. Rushern is a deeply good man and brings the perfect combination of experience, vision, optimism, grit, and decency to the job. I am particularly impressed with Rushern’s unwavering commitment to improve public education and he has a track record of working to do just that in Prince George’s County.  There is nothing more important to the future of a country than a strong and innovative public education system focused on maximizing the amazing potential inherent in our children and Rushern is committed to that mission, which is why he has my full support,” said U.S. Congressman John Delaney.

“I am proud to have the support of my good friend, Congressman Delaney. Congressman Delaney is deeply respected as an advocate for his constituents and a leader in promoting environmental progress and job growth. I look forward to working with Congressman Delaney to improve education and create economic opportunities in Maryland’s 6th district and across the state,” Rushern Baker said in a statement.

Congressman Delaney joins a growing list of Maryland elected officials in endorsing Rushern Baker, including former governor Martin O’Malley, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen, U.S. House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer (MD-05), Governor Parris Glendening, Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh, Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett and over 50 state senators, delegates, mayors and sheriffs. Additionally, The Baltimore Afro, Jmore Baltimore Jewish Living and The Washington Post endorsed Rushern Baker. The Washington Post calling him, “by a wide margin, the strongest candidate in the primary field.”

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Rushern’s Run

Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker

After serving in the House of Delegates and two terms as Prince George’s County Executive, Rushern Baker is making a bid for Maryland’s top office.

He has a serious claim. Prince Georgians should remain grateful that Baker fought against corruption before it was fashionable. Despite opposition from the county establishment, Baker took on sitting Prince George’s County Executive Jack Johnson in 2006. During the campaign, Baker showed he was willing to take the fight directly to Johnson notwithstanding Jesse Jackson’s endorsement of his opponent. Baker nearly won.

Had Baker won, Prince George’s would have been spared the humiliating spectacle of the arrest of both Johnson and his wife, Councilmeber-Elect Leslie Johnson, who infamously tried to flush ill-gotten gains down the toilet and hide them in her bra. In contrast, no such scandals or anything remotely close have tainted the Baker administration and Prince George’s is vastly better off for his leadership against corruption.

The more one looks into Rushern Baker’s personal life, the more impressive his accomplishments look. Baker’s wife suffers from debilitating memory loss that requires a great deal of care. Until the Washington Post wrote about it long after this family tragedy started, it wasn’t known in the Maryland political world. One might contrast this approach with that of Gov. Larry Hogan, who has tried to turn the serious lemons of his cancer treatment into lemonade not just by comforting other sufferers but by also milking it for every drop of publicity in the public eye and his social media accounts.

Baker has one Achilles heel: the public schools. Laudably, Baker recognized that the school system was not providing the education that Prince George’s kids need and deserve. He managed to gain a much more power over the system with a great deal of political assistance from Annapolis. Baker tried to raise property taxes by 15% in a tax allergic county to fund education but was ultimately only able to obtain a 4% raise that went to fund teacher pensions. Reforming schools is a long-term task, not prone to producing short-term gains, which makes the endeavor all the more commendable.

Unfortunately, a number of scandals have emerged on Baker’s watch. The county lost its federal Head Start grant in 2016.  Grade manipulation led to many students obtaining diplomas that they didn’t earn in violation of county policy. Ben Jealous attacked Baker scathingly for this problem yesterday on Twitter, though Jealous has never had to actually run a county or a school system. Ultimately, the superintendent has been forced to go.

The Washington Post’s editorial page’s response in their endorsement to give Baker a pass and say essentially “Well, at least he tried.” I don’t know that Maryland voters will be as forgiving of these problems on an issue for which Baker has taken ownership. Troubling for Democrats, education is Hogan’s weakest issue according to surveys but he might be able to switch from defense to offense if Baker is the Democratic nominee.

Notwithstanding this significant problem, even though Baker is not my candidate, he would be a very solid Democratic nominee. Baker has been notably successful at building cross-racial support during an era of increased racial political polarization, as his endorsements from a variety of prominent Democrats attest. Based on the last gubernatorial election, we need a nominee who knows how to reach out.

As county executive, Baker has valuable experience has grappled genuinely with issues, like the school system, not in theory but in practice. Most importantly, Rushern Baker is an honorable person who has restored stature to Prince George’s County government.

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Ervin Drops Out, Plans to Endorse Baker

Former Montgomery County Councilmember Valerie Ervin, who faced an uphill battle in her effort to run for governor has decided to leave the race and to endorse Rushern Baker.

Ervin decided to run after the sudden and sad death of her running mate, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. She faced an uphill battle due to her inability to access his campaign funds. The Board of Elections also could not change the ballots this close to the election, despite Ervin’s complete eligibility under state law to run in Kamenetz’s place and select a new running mate.

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Nancy Floreen’s Recommendations for the June Primary

By Council Member Nancy Floreen.

As someone in the unique position of watching the campaign season after 15 and a half years of being on the inside, I have pretty strong feelings about who are the right folks for electoral office.

My criteria:

Is that candidate well informed about the office he or she seeks?

Is that person an honest broker – ie – with the experience and grounding in reality that leads to genuine capacity for problem solving?

Is that person candid, or does that person have a different story for every audience?

Is that person humble or does that person take credit for shared initiatives or make promises that cannot be kept?

Does that person have the demonstrated temperament to treat people he or she disagrees with respectfully?

Is that person an independent thinker, or likely to be more influenced by endorsers?

Does that person have a track record of credible community engagement ?

Does that person have the backbone to stand up to political pressure?

Does that person have a genuine passion for the office, or is it just another job?

Does that person stand a chance in the General Election?

There are a lot of candidates out there, but not that many who satisfy my standards..

Here’s who I believe warrants your vote.

Noteworthy are my current council colleagues running for re- election – Hans Riemer, Craig Rice, Sid Katz, Nancy Navarro and Tom Hucker. We don’t all agree on everything all of the time, but they are hard working, committed and all have long histories of community engagement.

As for the open seats – these are my picks :

Governor – Rushern Baker. You try wrestling with an entrenched school system and come out alive! Tough, rational and caring.

County Executive – Rose Krasnow – an experienced, yet independent voice. The former Mayor of Rockville, she has wide ranging financial, government and nonprofit management expertise, and is deeply grounded in the county and community issues.

County Council At Large –

Gabe Albornoz – long experience with the reality of our community and the ways of government through the Recreation Department

Marilyn Balcombe – a long term fighter for the largely ignored upcounty

Evan Glass – a staunch community organizer, known for his work with the Gandhi Brigade

Council District 1 – Reggie Oldak – the only candidate who actually knows the county and how the Council works (as a former staff member) and a long time community advocate.

This is a very important election for our collective futures! Be thoughtful in your choices!

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Gov Candidates Mix It Up on Amazon

I live tweeted @theseventhstate last night’s excellent Montgomery County Women’s Democratic Club Forum held at the Silver Spring Civic Center. Candidates for the gubernatorial nomination agreed on many issues. One where they clashed was the merit of state incentives to woo Amazon.

Candidates Opposed to Amazon Incentives

Businessman Jim Shea called Amazon incentives “a really bad idea” and attacked giving $8.5 billion to the richest man in the world along with recruiting business from other state more generally. Moderator Robert McCartney interjected to laughter, “Careful, he’s my boss.”

Krish Vignarajah was also vehemently against the incentives, and attacked Gov. Larry Hogan for moving on this while letting Baltimore kids freeze during the winter, a comparison she also made at the Takoma Park debate. “This is the insanity of our governor.” As in many answers, Vignarajah combined passion on the issue with a sharp argument.

Former NAACP President Ben Jealous also opposed Amazon incentives. Consistent with his approach on other issues, he staked out the most left-wing position. Jealous not only agreed with other candidates on the need for diversity provisions, he also wants to see labor agreements.

My take: One follow-up question left unasked of Shea, Vignarajah and Jealous is how one could require diversity, labor or other requirements without incentives. Alternatively, is the implicit choice just to let Amazon go elsewhere? If that is the case, would future Amazon employees be better off located in a place without these protections?

Candidates Supportive of Amazon Incentives

Pointing out that Discovery was about to leave two blocks away, Rich Madaleno called Amazon a “game changing investment.” At two-thirds the size of the state government, it would help diversify our economy away from dependence on the federal government. He explained that Amazon only gets $5.5 billion if they spend $140 billion in salaries in our area. Madaleno is proud the General Assembly passed legislation to make sure companies are held accountable on promised diversity and benefits.

County Executive Rushern Baker was candid that Prince George’s had tried to recruit Amazon, explaining that the idea was to build local businesses around it and gain revenue. At the same time, he criticized the Governor for ignoring building business except the FBI and Amazon. This point foreshadowed Alec Ross’ later contention that Larry Hogan would completely ignore the DC suburbs if reelected.

Alec Ross took a somewhat nuanced position. He said that he would’ve negotiated a different deal but hopes Amazon comes here. He cited his running mate’s business, well-regarded Denizens Brewery located nearby in Silver Spring, as an example of a great small business. Ross said we make it too hard for small business in Maryland, and need to think more about how to make Maryland the place businesses grow and prosper. His campaign tweeted an op-ed that Ross wrote on the topic that nicely gives a chance hear these ideas fleshed out.

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz said he did not submit a bid for Baltimore County because he thought Baltimore City was the best location. Arguing that we need a nominee with a track record of experience, he wants to focus on job skill training to attract businesses and get people jobs.

My take: This is one issue that split the electeds who have had to directly grapple with this issue from first-time candidates (with Ross as somewhat of an exception). Montgomery’s economy sure could use a jump start and Amazon is an unusually big opportunity, so I tend to agree with trying to recruit Amazon. Though not perfect, Maryland’s process was also unusually transparent compared to other jurisdictions and got buy-in from the legislature.

Nevertheless, I understand why opponents don’t like it. Wooing business with money is often a mistake. In particular, football stadiums are a real money loser. I support Del. David Moon’s fine bill to prevent Maryland, Virginia and the District from competing this way.

Note: As I have mentioned repeatedly, I’m a supporter of Rich Madaleno. While it seemed worth mentioning here, I do my best to call them as I see them, and give an honest portrayal of the positions of all candidates here.

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Gubernatorial Debate Moments

I live tweeted last night’s debate in Takoma Park. This post highlights moments that stood out in my mind. During the fast-paced debate, I did my best to capture what candidates actually said, either as quote or a paraphrase, along with provide analysis along with many typos. Rushern Baker skipped the debate.

Alec Ross Goes Extreme on Immigration

A theme for Alec Ross was his effort to stand out as a different kind of candidate, unafraid to criticize Democrats for being insufficiently progressive. He pejoratively stereotyped ICE workers and called for sending out state troopers to fight them if needed to that end:

Ben Jealous Over Credit Claims?

Ben Jealous and I had an exchange on Twitter during the debate regarding his taking credit for the MD DREAM Act’s passage that paralleled Adam Pagnucco’s past critique:

Jealous’s followers certainly agreed with him on Twitter.

Jealous on Corruption and the NRA

Jealous also stood out for his attack on corruption and call for Baltimore Democrat Sen. Nat Oaks to resign:

He also attacked taking NRA money–very popular based on the retweets:

The problem with Jealous’s severe attacks on any Democrat who takes money from the NRA is that he co-chaired Bernie Sanders presidential campaign. The current anti-gun moment is not ideal for Sanders, who originally won election to Congress with heavy NRA support. While Sanders is no longer the pal of the NRA, he has a past of opposing the Brady Bill and many other pro-gun votes. Awkward.

Said and Unsaid by Krish Vignarajah

Krish Vignarajah is razor sharp and may have been the smartest person on the stage. She had one of the best moments of the debate with her linkage of Hogan’s Amazon package and the lack of funds to heat Baltimore schools.


Sometimes, however, what she left unsaid seemed as loud as the points she was making:
Of course, the doofus who wrote the tweet should have said primary instead of general election. However, District 18 Delegate Candidate Mila Johns was even sharper:

Vignaranjah still has not filed.

Rich Madaleno Relentless on Republicans

Unsurprisingly, all of the candidates weren’t keen on Hogan or Trump. Rich Madaleno’s remarks still stood out.

Along with Kevin Kamenetz, Madaleno made the tough sell in anti-establishment times that we need someone with experience. He contended that he and his running mate, Luwanda Jenkins, had made change and had the experience to do so as governor:

Kevin Kamenetz and Jim Shea

These two guys didn’t have moments. By all rights, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz should be a top contender. He is county executive of a swing county, clearly more knowledgeable than many of his rivals on a lot of issues due to having grappled with them in office, and does his best to link them to personal stories from his own life or time as county exec.

Yet, Kamenetz is simply not a natural debater and seems a bit awkward on the stage despite clearly having worked on honing his pitch. He was at his best when challenged due to his sureness and utter willingness to fight back. But it just didn’t feel like his moment as he didn’t connect with his audience.

Jim Shea seems earnest, well-meaning, smart and steeped in the community. He has been involved in a litany of efforts to improve Baltimore and Maryland for years. He was seated next to Vignarajah and the contrast could not have been greater. He’s an an unexciting and unmemorable speaker who had all of the specific, deep knowledge of Maryland she lacked. They should consider teaming up.

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Backlash Builds Against Baker Endorsement of Trone

Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker is experiencing a rapid backlash against his endorsement of wealthy businessman David Trone in his bid for the Democratic nomination for the Sixth Congressional District.

Baker announced his support for Trone two days ago. Today, the Washington Post reported that Trone, his family members and company have donated a total of $39,000 to Baker’s gubernatorial campaign. My own quick scan of Rushern Baker’s latest campaign finance filing revealed the following donations:

David Trone, $6000, 10/5/17;
Julia Trone, $2000, 11/16/17;
June Trone, $6000, 10/5/17;
Michelle Trone, $6000, 11/5/17;
Natalie Trone, $2000, 11/16/17;
Natalie Trone, $3000, 11/16/17;
Robert Trone, $2000, 11/16/17;
Anna-Marie Parisi-Trone, $6000, 11/16/17;
Anna-Marie Parisi-Trone, $6000, 11/16/17.

While David, June, and Robert Trone are described as affiliated with Total Wine, Natalie Trone is listed as a student and Michelle Trone with The Boston Consulting Group (BCG). All of the donations were made in October or November of last year.

Problems for Baker

There is certainly no proof of pay-to-play or corruption. Indeed, Baker has been a welcome breath of fresh air on that front in Prince George’s after the disastrous Johnson years. However, Baker’s decision to endorse in a race outside of Prince George’s has raised eyebrows.

In particular, I heard that senior women in the General Assembly are especially annoyed at Baker’s decision to endorse in the race when there was an experienced, talented and respected female legislator, Del. Aruna Miller, in the race. Baker’s wading into the race surprised many, as the Sixth does not overlap with Prince George’s.

Today, that frustration emerged more publicly in the form of a wave of endorsements of Miller’s campaign by her colleagues, especially many senior women. Miller’s campaign issued a press release (see below) touting support from:

Speaker Michael Busch,
Speaker Pro Tem Adrienne Jones,
Chair Emerita Sheila Hixson,
Appropriations Committee Chair Maggie McIntosh,
Environment and Transportation Committee Chair Kumar Barve, Ways and Means Committee Chair Anne Kaiser,
Health and Government Committee Chair Shane Pendergrass, Judiciary Committee Chair Joe Vallario,
Judiciary Committee Vice-Chair Kathleen Dumais,
Appropriations Committee Vice-Chair Tawanna Gaines,
Women’s Caucus Chair Ariana Kelly

It will be interesting to see if this backlash impedes Baker’s efforts to reach further outside the County. Similarly, I’m curious to see if Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett, a strong Baker supporter, endorses a candidate in the Sixth District. Unlike Baker, Leggett has long had constituents in the Sixth.

Problems for Trone

Baker’s endorsement has also revived talk of Trone’s use of his wealth. Two years ago, Trone told the press bluntly, “I sign my checks to buy access.” Indeed, former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s lawyers cited this statement in their brief appealing McDonnell’s corruption conviction. County Councilmember George Leventhal also needled Trone regarding his gaffe.

Now, as Michael Kinsley once said, a gaffe is simply when a politician speaks the truth out loud. Trone was forthright and honest on this point, in a manner similar to Donald Trump in presidential bid. But the similarities to Trump and the current concerns regarding the corruption of American politics are hardly likely to endear him to Democratic primary voters.

Aruna Miller for Congress Press Release by David Lublin on Scribd

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Van Hollen to Endorse Baker for Governor

Sen. Chris Van Hollen is set to endorse Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker for governor tomorrow.

During the 2016 Democratic primary, Baker took heat from some corners for endorsing Van Hollen over then-Rep. Donna Edwards in the hotly contested Senate race. Like Baker, Edwards is African American and from Prince George’s. Baker’s bet has now paid off handsomely with Van Hollen returning the favor and endorsing him early for governor in a large field.

This is a big endorsement for Baker, as it gives him an entry to new areas of the state. Critical to making use of any endorsement, however, is an ability to take advantage of it by communicating it to voters along with other reasons to vote Baker. Putting that together will require money and a good campaign team.

They seem off on the wrong foot. I don’t know why they’ve chosen to go big with this major endorsement on the Friday before the Virginia elections. Still, Baker will have plenty of time to tout Van Hollen’s support, which will be more valuable if Van Hollen is game to introduce him publicly, cut commercials, or connect him with major donors to political campaigns.

Here is the Baker campaign’s press release:

TOMORROW: U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen to Endorse Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III to be Governor of Maryland

Upper Marlboro, MD –  Tomorrow, U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen will announce his endorsement and support of Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III for Governor of the State of Maryland at 11:00 a.m. during a media event at the Wayne K. Curry Sports and Learning Center, 8001 Sheriff Road, in Landover, MD.  During this endorsement event, Senator Van Hollen and County Executive Baker will also address the impact and consequences of Republican attacks on and changes to the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

“I am proud and honored to have the endorsement of Senator Van Hollen for my candidacy as Governor,” said Baker.  “I have known and worked with Chris for nearly 30 years and am proud to call him not only a colleague but a friend.  Chris’ sterling reputation as a budget and policy wonk is only matched by his compassion and dedication to his constituents in Maryland.  Chris was an incredible Maryland State Delegate, Maryland State Senator,  Congressional Representative, and, now, as our U.S. Senator, he is fighting every day on Capitol Hill for the issues and concerns of every Marylander.  I thank him for his endorsement and am confident that as Governor of Maryland, we will accomplish so much for the residents of this great state.”

WHAT:
U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen Endorses Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker, III to be Governor of Maryland

WHEN:
Friday, November 3, 2017, 11:00 a.m.

WHERE:
Wayne K. Curry Sports and Learning Center
8001 Sheriff Road
Landover, MD

Note: I have mentioned it previously but wanted to remind readers that I am supporting Rich Madaleno for governor.

 

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BREAKING: Prince George’s Teachers Walk Out on Rushern Baker at MSEA

At the Maryland State Education Association (MSEA) Convention, Rushern Baker’s camp teachers from Prince George’s County, Rushern Baker’s home county, walked out when he was called to the podium. According to its website, MSEA is the largest union in the state and represents over 75,000 public school employees.

That’s all the information I have for now.

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Prince George’s Senators Endorse Rushern Baker

By Adam Pagnucco.

Ignoring a move by some Democrats to avoid early endorsements for Governor, four Senators from Prince George’s County have announced their support for County Executive Rushern Baker.  Following is their letter from Baker’s press release.

*****

Rushern L. Baker, III: the right Governor for all of us.

It is with great enthusiasm and pride that we offer our unconditional endorsement of Rushern L. Baker, III to be the next Governor of the State of Maryland.

Over the last seven years, we have worked side by side with County Executive Baker as he has transformed our County through his principled leadership, vision, and unquestioned passion for improving the quality of life for all residents.  During his tenure in office, thousands of jobs have been created in the County, property values have risen, crime has been significantly reduced, student achievement rose, previously forgotten areas of the County are being revitalized, and health care access nearly doubled.

In short, he is a high-character man of substance with a unique combination of executive, legislative and private sector experience whose achievements in transforming our County provides undisputable evidence that he remains the right choice to serve all the citizens of Maryland as Governor.

As public servants with close to a combined hundred years of experience serving the State of Maryland, we believe that more than anything, the majority of Marylanders want empathetic leaders they can trust to make decisions that not only serve the common good, but deliver outcomes for everyday people. Mr. Baker’s record of achievements serve as evidence that he wants to improve the quality of life for all of us by creating a strong economy, efficient government, and a high-quality public education system that creates opportunity regardless of whether a student lives in urban, suburban or rural Maryland.

We believe our citizens want a leader with the courage and skill to persuade powerful interests and assure high quality jobs that pay fair wages while also providing quality health care coverage for all.  They want a leader who will protect our environment and the Chesapeake Bay so that they have clean air, water, abundant recreational opportunities, and a healthy Maryland blue crab population.  They want a leader who will fight for affordable, quality health care, safe neighborhoods, and great housing options for all the hard working people who want to own a home.

We believe the leader Marylanders need is Rushern L Baker, III because he has demonstrated commitment to protecting these priorities.  He has experience in actually running a government and he isn’t afraid to work across the aisle.

For all these reasons, we are excited to begin the work of encouraging everyone to support Rushern L Baker, III to be the next Governor of the great State of Maryland.

Sincerely,

Senator Douglas J.J. Peters (D. 23, Senate Majority Leader)

Senator Paul Pinsky (D. 22)

Senator Joanne Benson (D. 24)

Senator Ulysses Currie (D. 25)

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