State Roundup, September 20, 2017

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BUCKLEY BEATS ASTLE IN ANNAPOLIS PRIMARY: In what was arguably a stunning early development, Sen. John Astle conceded to Annapolis businessman Gavin Buckley 45 minutes after the polls closed Tuesday, Chase Cook of the Annapolis Capital reports. The concession sets up a mayoral contest between Buckley and Republican Mayor Mike Pantelidies in the Nov. 7 general election. The article is topped by a video interview with Buckley.

RACES HERE AND THERE: Josh Kurtz of Maryland Matter writes about Gavin Buckley’s primary win for Annapolis mayor over Sen. John Astle, Del. Ana Sol Gutierrez’s decision to run for a seat on the Montgomery County Council and Del. Shelly Hettleman decision not to challenge Sen. Bobby Zirkin but to see a second term representing Baltimore County’s 11th District.

DEL. GUTIERREZ TO RUN FOR MO CO COUNCIL: Glynis Kazanjian of MarylandReporter writes that Del. Ana Sol Gutierrez, the first Latina ever elected to the Maryland General Assembly, has jumped into the race for Montgomery County Council. The four-term District 18 representative filed paperwork Monday with the state elections board to run as a candidate in County Council District 1 using public campaign financing.

  • She said she would like to make the switch because she feels that progress on issues she cares about has been slow at the state level, writes Andrew Metcalf for Bethesda Beat. “I’m hoping at the local level, with a smaller set of colleagues — nine on the council, compared to 141 in the House — it will be possible to make change and to promote better opportunities, jobs and all the other things our community needs,” Gutierrez said.

Krishanti Vignarajah

VIGNARAJAH ANNOUNCES GOV RUN: Krishanti Vignarajah launched her campaign for governor Tuesday outside the basement apartment in Baltimore County where her parents brought her as an infant after fleeing civil war in Sri Lanka. With her 3-month-old daughter nestled in her husband’s arms, Vignarajah pitched herself as the embodiment of the American dream, an immigrant raised by public school teachers to become an Ivy League lawyer and policy director to former first lady Michelle Obama, Erin Cox of the Sun reports.

HOGAN REJECTS NEW OBAMACARE REPEAL: Gov. Larry Hogan urged Congress Tuesday to reject the latest version of a Senate Republican plan to repeal Obamacare, saying it would cost Maryland $2 billion a year. Hogan, a Republican, has so far opposed all of the measures supported by President Donald J. Trump to scrap the Affordable Care Act. The new version, known as Graham-Cassidy, faces a potentially close vote in the Senate before the end of September, Michael Dresser of the Sun reports.

BAKER TO BID FOR AMAZON HQ2: Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker is pitching his home jurisdiction as the best place for Amazon to build its second headquarters, effectively pitting the D.C. area against Baltimore in the national competition to lure the tech giant and its promised 50,000 new jobs, Erin Cox and Sarah Gantz of the Sun report.

  • Prince George’s County officials say they are prepared to go it alone in their attempt to secure Amazon’s proposed second corporate headquarters, writes Bryan Sears for the Daily Record. Baker appealed to Hogan to throw his support behind more than one site. The county executive said Hogan should follow his lead when the county was vying to be the home to the new FBI headquarters and support both locations.

AMAZON DISTRIBUTION CENTER IN BA CO? Meanwhile, Amazon is considering opening another distribution center in the Baltimore area, according to Baltimore County officials who hope to lure the e-commerce company to Sparrows Point. Pamela Wood of the Sun reports that the proposed distribution center would be located at a former steel mill that Tradepoint Atlantic is redeveloping into an industrial and transportation hub.

TREE CUTTING FOR PURPLE LINE: A federal judge held off deciding Tuesday whether larger trees may be cut to build the Purple Line while a lawsuit against the rail project continues. The delay allows Maryland officials to decide — at least for now — when to clear-cut a popular recreational trail, Katherine Shaver reports for the Post. Tree-clearing along the heavily wooded Georgetown Branch Trail between downtown Bethesda and Silver Spring will begin Monday, according to Chris Doherty, a spokesman for Purple Line Transit Partners, the state’s private partner on the project.

MENTAL HEALTH ADVOCATES BLAST HOGAN: The state’s largest public employees union criticized Gov. Larry Hogan Tuesday over a shortage of beds in mental health facilities that has kept some mentally ill prisoners in jail long after the courts ruled they need treatment, Michael Dresser of the Sun reports.

1st RESPONDER NETWORK EXPANSION: Gov. Larry Hogan announced Tuesday the state will advance communications for first responders by opting in to the FirstNet and AT&T plan. This state-of-the-art plan will deliver a wireless broadband network to Maryland’s public safety community, allowing for faster, more informed and better coordinated responses, The Daily Record reports.

FOOSE HIRED BY MSDE: Renee Foose, who resigned in May as Howard County’s school superintendent after months of public feuding with her school board, was hired Tuesday by the Maryland State Department of Education, Liz Bowie of the Sun reports.

  • Bryan Sears of the Daily Record reports that Foose was hired as the assistant state superintendent, assessment, accountability, and information technology. Her salary and start date were not immediately known. A spokesman for the department said the salary was public but that he “did not have it.” Documents provided to the Board of Education show the salary should be in the rangeof $92,333 to $123,236. The spokesman also did not answer questions about whether Foose’s position was an existing one or newly created.

SENATORS SEEK ANSWERS ON HACK: Responding to reports of an effort to hack into U.S. power companies, Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen are asking the Department of Homeland Security whether any firms in Maryland were hit, John Fritze of the Sun reports.

 

HARFORD RACES SHAPING UP: David Anderson of the Sun reports that the start of 2018 is still a few months away, but a number of candidates have already filed to run for Harford County and state legislative offices in next year’s primary election. If those candidates stick to running for those offices, changes in the local political landscape could be forthcoming. Already, one Harford County Council member has opted to run for the legislature and another is expected not to run for re-election.

MO CO CANDIDATES LIST: Here is the updated list of candidates for local, state and federal office in Montgomery County as best as MarylandReporter,com could determine as of Sept. 15, 2017.

KAMENETZ EYES 2 NEW BA CO SCHOOLS: Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz said he wants to build two new high schools to serve the Towson area and “central-northeast” area, Bryna Zumer of WBFF-TV reports. Kamenentz, who is now running for governor, announced Tuesday he will include funds in his Fiscal Year 2018 budget request for the two new schools.

NO WRONGDOING IN HARASSMENT COMPLAINT: Washington County government announced Tuesday in a news release that no evidence of wrongdoing was found in an investigation of a complaint by former Assistant County Administrator Sarah Sprecher against Washington County Commissioner LeRoy E. Myers Jr. , Tamela Baker and CJ Lovelace of the Hagerstown Herald Mail report.