Rest assured, in politics, change is always simmering below even when all seems calm on the surface. After a session full of surprises and changes in leadership, it appeared the state was headed into the fall, and perhaps the new session come January amid halcyon political waters with Senate President Mike Miller and House Speaker Adrienne Jones at the helm.
However, the tides have turned with the announcement that two General Assembly members will be departing the legislature to join the administration of Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr. Delegate Eric Bromwell will be the county’s first opioid strategy coordinator and Delegate Stephen Lafferty will be the county’s chief sustainability officer.
Bromwell gained experience on opioid addiction during his service as vice chair of the Health and Government Operations Committee. Lafferty served as Deputy Majority Whip, chair of the Environment and Transportation Committee’s environment subcommittee, and is a veteran planner in county government. Both are capable, dedicated public officials with a combined 30 years’ experience who should serve Olszewski’s administration, and Baltimore County, well.
As the opioid crisis continues to escalate and overdevelopment issues mount, the timing of these two appointments is most welcome.
Filling the two now-vacated House seats will be accomplished by the respective district democratic state central committees with the consent of the entire central committee and the concurrence of Governor Hogan. There is considerable speculation about who the successors might be as the two districts reflect very different political profiles, with Lafferty’s district being the more liberal.
As County Executive Olszewski rounds out his team, Speaker Jones is tasked with filling House leadership positions. Baltimore County is currently represented in several leadership positions in both houses, three of which Speaker Jones occupied. Certainly, delegates from other areas of the state will be eager to step up to the leadership ranks. Some political observers liken the combinations of competitors to March Madness and are certain to be drawing their brackets as well.
Article written by Joe “American Joe” Miedusiewski, Government Affairs Director for Old Line Government Affairs.