Public hearings on Prince George’s casino slated for fall

State regulators still expect to award a casino license to one of three applicants to operate a casino in Prince George’s County, and the schedule for that process is starting to materialize.

The Maryland State Lottery and Gaming Control Agency is currently conducting background investigations into all three applicants — MGM National Harbor LLC (led by MGM Resorts International Inc.), Maryland Casino LLC (led by Greenwood Racing Inc.) and Prince George’s Racing Ventures LLC (led by Penn National Gaming Inc.) — and those investigations are expected to be finished in September.

After that, members of Video Lottery Facility Location Commission will visit all three potential sites — including National Harbor, an empty lot in Fort Washington and Rosecroft Raceway — and then hold public hearings on each proposal in late September or October. The final decision will be made in December.

MGM Resorts has proposed a resort casino with 3,600 slot machines and 140 table games to be built at the sprawling National Harbor mini-city near Oxon Hill. Penn National has proposed building a casino at Rosecroft Raceway that includes 140 table games and “at least” 3,000 slot machines — though the company only paid an initial license fee to cover 500 slots.

The surprise bidder was Greenwood Racing Inc., the owner of Parx Casino near Philadelphia. That company has proposed building a resort casino near the intersection of Indian Head Highway and Old Fort Road in Fort Washington with 4,750 slots and 170 table games.

Brown talks policy at MML dinner, then hits the road

Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown described familiar policy priorities to municipal leaders Tuesday evening — and then he hit the road for another stump speech.

Brown, a Democratic candidate for governor in 2014, accepted a Distinguished Service Award on behalf of Gov. Martin O’Malley’s administration during the inaugural dinner at the Maryland Municipal League‘s annual convention in Ocean City.

He then spent more than 20 minutes talking about the policies the O’Malley administration promoted the last six years — policies Brown appears ready to continue and expand upon if elected governor.

Brown said he would continue to spend money on public education while also improving transportation infrastructure, and hinted local highway money — partially restored this year by the General Assembly — could receive a larger boost in the future.

“We’re just getting started,” Brown said, drawing applause from the several hundred town and city officials present at the meeting, where new MML officers were also installed.

Brown also said he would invest money to build affordable housing and expand broadband access, while also working to correct healthcare disparities in certain neighborhoods.

“These are the investments that attract business,” Brown said. “These are the investments that create jobs.”

Earlier in the day, Brown and running mate Ken Ulman received an endorsement from 70 municipal leaders.

Del. Heather R. Mizeur, a Montgomery Democrat who is considering a run for governor, was also in Ocean City on Tuesday and worked the crowd during MML’s inaugural dinner.

Less than a year from the Democratic primary, Brown has been on the stump frequently, appearing at meetings of several interest groups. After leaving Ocean City on Wednesday, Brown was scheduled to speak in Salisbury at the ribbon cutting for a new transit maintenance building.

Brown, Ulman get endorsement from municipal leaders

Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown and Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, making a campaign stop outside the annual conference of the Maryland Municipal League, received the endorsement of 70 municipal leaders on Tuesday — most of them from Brown’s base in Prince George’s County.

Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown speaks after being endorsed by 70 Maryland municipal leaders in Ocean City. (Alexander Pyles/The Daily Record)

Of the 70 who signed on to officially endorse the Brown-Ulman ticket, 46 came from municipalities in Prince George’s, which Brown represented in the House of Delegates from 1999 to 2007. There are no incorporated towns or cities in Howard County, Ulman’s base.

Kensington Mayor Pete Fosselman introduced Brown and Ulman to a crowd of a few dozen — largely conference attendees and staff for the lieutenant governor and county executive. Fosselman was the only representative from Montgomery County to endorse the duo. Brown’s presumed chief opponent, Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler, is from Montgomery.

Seven Baltimore City Council members joined representatives from towns and cities in Allegany, Anne Arundel, Calvert, Caroline, Cecil, Frederick, Garrett, Harford, Kent, Washington and Wicomico counties to round out the list of endorsers.

In accepting the endorsement, Brown — O’Malley’s sidekick for almost seven years — complimented the work done by Ulman as Howard County executive and said Ulman would play an important role as Brown’s deputy, adding “we have redefined the role of lieutenant governor.” No lieutenant governor has ever been elected governor in Maryland.

Brown is hosting a reception for municipal leaders Tuesday evening, prior to MML’s inaugural dinner, where he will give the keynote address.

Gansler to announce gubernatorial bid in September

Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler will formally announce his candidacy for governor in September, making official what most have long expected.

Gansler had previously said he would decide whether to run and make a formal announcement sometime this fall. In an email sent by his campaign on Tuesday, campaign manager Carrie Glenn pegged September for the announcement.

“When Doug formally announces his candidacy in September it will be built on a foundation of policy and ideas, not politics or fundraising.” Glenn said. “Doug will bring to this race ideas, policies and a proven record of getting things done. That’s what voters care about.”

In a statement, Gansler detailed several policy proposals that he said would help the state combat domestic violence, an issue that has been among the top priorities of Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, presumed to be Gansler’s chief competition in the Democratic primary.

The proposals include stiffening penalties for committing crimes in front of a child, creating a statewide network of “family justice centers,” where services are provided  and establishing domestic violence dockets in Maryland courts.

“Running for governor is about ideas and policies that will help protect and improve the lives of Maryland families and children, not about bunting and slogans,” Gansler said in a statement.  “As a local prosecutor and as attorney general, I have fought domestic violence, put abusers behind bars, and helped protect the victims of this terrible crime … I will bring a renewed sense of energy and activism to do even more to help combat the plague of domestic violence.”

Aides have said for weeks that Gansler would run, but a formal announcement was put off even as other candidates jumped into the race. Brown, the first to announce, named Howard County Executive Ken Ulman as his running mate last month.

Gansler said he would travel across the state to discuss his ideas with voters in a series of small gatherings that the campaign is calling “Building Our Best Maryland.”

Meanwhile, the attorney general’s campaign staff continues to grow. Isaac Salazar, who was the new media director for the Maryland Democratic Party, will act as digital director. Antigone Davis, who had been Gansler’s deputy campaign manager when he ran for attorney general and then joined the attorney general’s office as a senior adviser, is now working full-time for the campaign.

Maryland gubernatorial candidates descend on Ocean City

These flyers advertised receptions for Harford County Executive David R. Craig -- who is running for governor -- and a potential opponent in the Republican primary, Frederick County Board of Commissioners President Blaine R. Young. (Alexander Pyles/The Daily Record)

Several elected officials who fancy themselves a candidate for governor have found an ideal audience in Ocean City this week, where officials and business leaders from many of Maryland’s more than 150 towns and cities are attending the Maryland Municipal League’s annual conference.

Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown is expected to address municipal leaders at a dinner Tuesday evening, where MML officers will be sworn in. Brown and running mate Ken Ulman are also expected to receive an endorsement from municipal leaders Tuesday.

Del. Heather R. Mizeur, a Montgomery County Democrat who has not yet officially declared her candidacy for governor, plans to volunteer at Diakonia Inc. – an Ocean City shelter – on Tuesday.

On the Republican side, Harford County Executive David R. Craig will attend a reception in his honor at the Clarion Resort Monday between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. Craig, a past president of MML while mayor of Havre de Grace, could be seen strolling through the exhibition hall at the Roland E. Powell Convention Center.

Blaine R. Young, president of the Frederick County Board of Commissioners, is also holding a reception Monday night at bayside nightspot Seacrets, where his campaign has paid for an open bar – which doesn’t begin until a half hour before Craig’s reception is scheduled to end.

Brown: Gas tax opponents need economics lesson

Responding to potential gubernatorial foes who have criticized or pledged to repeal Maryland’s recent gas tax increase, Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown on Thursday said his opponents might need a lesson in economic development.

Speaking to a group of construction leaders at a meeting of the Maryland chapter of the Associated General Contractors of America, Brown briefly detoured from his talking points on public-private partnerships to take on opponents of the phased-in gas tax hike.

“There are some people who want to lead this state who don’t want to make that infrastructure investment,” Brown said. “Anyone that thinks we can grow our economy without investing in transportation doesn’t know a whole lot about economic growth.”

Del. Ronald A. George, an Anne Arundel Republican, pledged to repeal the gas tax increase if he is elected governor. Harford County Executive David R. Craig, a Republican, has said he would cut “all” of Maryland’s taxes if elected.

But Brown’s small salvo may have been most directly targeted at Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler, a likely opponent in the Democratic primary, who was critical of the gas tax increase in an interview with The Daily Record in May.

Gansler has not officially announced his candidacy for governor, but campaign aides insist he will seek the governor’s office in 2014.

Eye Opener: The race to fill Senate seats

Here’s a few government and politics headlines for Friday:

House business climate group makes its rounds

Del. John L. Bohanan Jr., D-St. Mary's (Photo: Maryland State Archives)

The House of Delegates work group formed this year to study Maryland’s business climate has been meeting with business leaders the state since the General Assembly concluded, the work group’s co-chairman said Wednesday.

Del. John L. Bohanan Jr., a St. Mary’s Democrat, said one meeting of the 10-member group was with Milt Peterson, a Virginia developer whose Peterson Cos. built National Harbor in Prince George’s County.

“We have a bad reputation, especially when it comes to Virginia,” Bohanan told a meeting of economic development professionals at the Southern Maryland Higher Education Center in California. “We need to take a good honest assessment.”

He said lawmakers were soliciting thoughts from business leaders on how to improve Maryland’s business climate in order to attract and retain businesses in the state. The group will then take recommendations back to the 141-member House.

Del. Galen R. Clagett, D-Frederick, co-chairs the work group. House Majority Leader Kumar P. Barve, D-Montgomery; Del. Pamela G. Beidle, D-Anne Arundel; Del. C. William “Bill” Frick, D-Montgomery; Del. Keith E. Haynes, D-Baltimore; Del. Stephen S. Hershey Jr., R-Eastern Shore; Del. Marvin E. Holmes Jr., D-Prince George’s; Del. John A. Olszewski Jr., D-Baltimore County; and Del. Jay Walker, D-Prince George’s, round out the panel.

Eye Opener: A Democrat endorses a Republican

Here’s a few government and politics headlines for Wednesday:

Eye Opener: Delegates not impressed by city jail hearing

Here’s a few government and politics headlines for Tuesday:

  • Patch.com report two state delegates say last weeks’ hearing on corruption at the Baltimore Detention Center was not adequate.
  • The Washington Post reports Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler wants there to be an independent probe of the jail.
  • The Daily Record reports state officials hope to make use of the new public-private partnership procurement law “three to five” times a year.
  • The Baltimore Sun reports Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake would be OK with a tax on shopping bags. Similar state legislation has previously failed.