Montgomery County Candidates List for local, state, federal office 1/15/18

This is an updated list of candidates for local, state and federal office in Montgomery County as best as we could determine as of Jan. 7, 2018. The list includes over 150 candidates already, at least 26 just for the four at-large seats on the Montgomery County Council. As we kick off the new year with a historic election where public campaign financing will be used for the first time in Montgomery County, 11 candidates have qualified to receive matching campaign finance funds and 25 others are seeking qualification. There are five new candidates, two have dropped out, and one has changed the office he is seeking.

Students wait to board school buses.

Md. schools not as good as we think

A key Democratic narrative this election year is that Maryland used to have the best public schools in the country, but Republican Gov. Larry Hogan has short changed them so much that they have now slipped to 5th place. The problem with this partisan talking point is that the Education Week Quality County report card on which the claim is based has always been a dubious indicator of how good the schools were. Weeks before Hogan took office in 2015, Maryland had already slipped to third place as Education Week began to give more weight to student outcomes.Even if the complicated rating standards were not questionable, Maryland’s slipping ratings are based mostly on lagging data from test scores in O’Malley budget years.

Saving Md. forests again on State House environmental agenda

As they return to their chambers this month, state legislators across the Chesapeake watershed face some of the same Bay-centric environmental issues they’ve seen before. In Maryland, they’ll debate what more, if anything, should be done to conserve the state’s forestland from development and whether air pollution from chicken houses deserves a closer look.

Follow-up: Baltimore scrapyard settles enforcement action, agrees to curb polluted runoff

A Baltimore metal recycling business has agreed to pay a $50,000 penalty and upgrade stormwater pollution controls at its facility near the harbor to settle a string of alleged violations first discovered by Maryland regulators nearly two years ago. In a settlement agreement released Thursday, Baltimore Scrap Corp. pledged to submit a “site improvement plan” within 60 days for reducing polluted runoff from its scrapyard.

Wild oyster ‘bed check’ offers glimpse of harvests to come

Every year since 1939, Maryland has surveyed its portion of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries to see how the oysters were doing. Though no longer the mainstay they once were, oysters are still a pillar of the region’s fishing industry and a vital cog in the Bay ecosystem.

Highest paid Md. lobbyists remain the same

The top 10 highest paid lobbyists in Maryland remained the same this year, and in about the same order, according to figures just released from the State Ethics Commission. All had billings over $1 million, with Tim Perry and Gerry Evans number 1 and 2 at over $2 million. The figures do not just represent personal compensation, but all the billings made to support their offices and staff. Another 18 lobbyists, often in the same firms as the top 10, billed over $500,000.

Environmental groups say Conowingo Dam owner can afford to help restore Bay

Exelon Corp. could help restore the lower Susquehanna River and Chesapeake Bay by changing the way it generates electricity at Conowingo Dam, and still make a “healthy” profit, a pair of environmental groups reported this month. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation and The Nature Conservancy released a study they jointly commissioned that finds that the Chicago-based energy company could easily afford to mitigate the impacts Conowingo is having on downriver fish habitat and water quality.

Think tank gives Maryland mixed report card on budget practices

In public debates about the budgetary soundness of state government finances, it can be hard to separate real insights from political posturing and cloudy media reporting. The legendary former Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker founded the Volcker Alliance in 2013 with the aim of enhancing government responsiveness by improving how governments work. In its report, Truth and Integrity in State Budgeting: What is the Reality? the Volcker Alliance paints a mixed picture for Maryland, and represents an opportunity for the state to make real improvements in areas considered as weaknesses.

Md. public campaign finance fund too small to help multiple candidates for governor

There is enough money in the state public campaign fund for one candidate and one election in the 2018 gubernatorial election, according to the state campaign finance director. Sen. Rich Madaleno, D-Montgomery, who is running for governor recently claimed it. “You can fully fund one candidate for either the general election or the primary, but not both,” said Maryland Candidacy and Campaign Finance Director Jared DeMarinis of the pending 2018 elections.