MORE CABINET APPOINTMENTS: Gov.-elect Larry Hogan continued to fill out his Cabinet on Tuesday, tapping Van Mitchell, a former lawmaker and a high-ranking official in the previous Republican administration, to lead his health department, writes John Wagner for the Post. Hogan also named Joe Bartenfelder, a long-time farmer from Baltimore County, as secretary of agriculture. Bartenfelder is a former Democratic state delegate and a former member of the Baltimore County Council. The appointees are subject to Senate confirmation
- Included in Hogan’s announcement are three members of what the Republican governor-elect called his “Bay Cabinet” — secretaries of the Departments of Natural Resources, Agriculture and Environment, reports Bryan Sears for the Daily Record.
- In introducing his nominees for another six cabinet posts Tuesday, Hogan emphasized that they were “talented, diverse and bipartisan.” But in addition to some government experience relevant to their new jobs, the governor-elect would always point out another quality the appointees had in common — private sector experience, writes Len Lazarick for MarylandReporter.com.
- Hogan did not name an appointment to the position perhaps most on the minds of the business community — Department of Business and Economic Development secretary, writes Rick Seltzer for the Baltimore Business Journal. But his pick for special secretary of the Office of Minority Affairs could have a major influence on business issues. Hogan chose Jimmy Rhee, a former assistant secretary of commerce and trade for Virginia. Rhee is also a part of Hogan’s transition team.
- Members of Maryland’s health care community sounded optimistic after learning Tuesday that former legislator, regulator and lobbyist Van Mitchell will be the state’s next health secretary, reports Rick Seltzer for the Baltimore Business Journal. Many expressed a level of comfort with Mitchell, a Democrat, despite the fact he is not a physician.
CHANGING OF THE CHIEFS: With a month to go before Gov. Martin O’Malley turns power over to Gov.-elect Larry Hogan, both men are facing choices that will affect Marylanders, writes Chase Cook for the Annapolis Capital. Hogan is set to deliver his first budget to the General Assembly on Jan. 23, two days after he takes office. The task is complicated by a $1.2 billion projected deficit split between current and coming fiscal years. O’Malley, meanwhile, still can still cut into the shortfall. He has one more Board of Public Works meeting on Jan. 7, and its agenda has not been posted online.
TAX REDUCTIONS: Despite a steady drip of bad news about growing state budget deficits, Larry Hogan isn’t backing down from his campaign pledge to cut taxes and focus on business issues, reports Rick Seltzer for the Baltimore Business Journal.. “We’re not going to raise taxes,” he said. “We’re going to reduce taxes. That’s why I was elected governor.”
ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES: WYPR’s Joel McCord talk The Baltimore Sun’s Timothy Wheeler about how environmental issues will fare in 2015.
POLITICAL YEAR IN REVIEW: Dan Rodricks of WYPR-FM speaks with Melissa Deckman, chair of the political science department at Washington College, and Don Norris, professor of public policy at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County, about the year’s most significant state and national political stories.
CAROZZA’S COMMITTEE ASSIGNMENT: Brian Shane of the Salisbury Daily Times writes about Del.-elect Mary Beth Carozza’s appointment to the Appropriations Committee in the Maryland House of Delegates.
OOPS, CUMBERLAND’S GOING: Last Thursday, Del.-elect Michael McKay mistakenly told a room full of county staff, legislators and visitors that the City of Cumberland was not participating in the 2015 PACE meeting. The Positive Attitudes Change Everything event strives to educate state legislators and officials about Allegany and Garrett counties and to present the local perspective about state issues. It often yields leads on funding for local water and sewer projects, and allows local leaders to make important contacts with state government and federal officials, Matthew Bieniek of the Cumberland Times News reports.
PG TO PUSH FOR ARTIFICIAL TURF: State legislators from Prince George’s County will push for artificial turf fields in every high school in the county for the third time this coming session, but they are expected to be met with strong resistance from a group of natural-grass advocates, according to CNS’s Max Bennett in the Daily Record.
BLAINE YOUNG MANEUVER VOIDED: Attorney General Doug Gansler is invalidating a political ploy that benefited the former Frederick County Commissioners President Blaine Young. Gansler issued an opinion Tuesday that the Board of County Commissioners acted improperly last month when it appointed Young to a five-year term as a citizen member of the county planning commission.
- After receiving the state’s legal guidance, Frederick County Executive Jan Gardner, who beat Young in the November election, wrote to Young telling him that he is not a member of the seven-person planning commission and attached the attorney general’s opinion. Bethany Rodgers writes the story for the Frederick News Post.
HORSESHOE TROUBLES: WYPR-FM’s Fraser Smith talks to Baltimore Brew’s Mark Reutter about the Horseshoe Casino’s most recent troubles, including major financial problems with the parent company, Caesars Entertainment.