Brown endorsed by ‘progressive’ veterans group

A group that calls itself the “largest progressive organization of veterans in America” added its name — and Political Action Committee — to the list of groups endorsing Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown as Maryland’s next governor.

Brown, who was on active duty for five years after joining ROTC while a student at Harvard University, was deployed to Baghdad for 10 months. He’s now in the Army Reserves and holds the rank of colonel.

VoteVets.org and its PAC say its mission is to “use public issue campaigns and direct outreach to lawmakers to ensure that troops abroad have what they need to complete their missions, and receive the care they deserve when they get home.” The organization claims no party affiliation.

Brown, the first candidate to officially jump into the governor’s race, has been racking up high-profile endorsements all summer, including U.S. Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.), U.S. House Minority Whip Steny H. Hoyer, Gov. Martin O’Malley, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake and state Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr, D-Calvert and Prince George’s.

Del. Heather R. Mizeur, D-Montgomery, formally began her campaign this month and  has eschewed endorsement announcements for advertising her participation in a series of service events around the state. Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler, expected to formally declare for the race in September, has in recent weeks spent his time rolling out policy proposals in events around the state.

Harford County Executive David R. Craig and Del. Ronald A. George of Anne Arundel County are the only Republicans who have formally announced their candidacy for governor.

O’Malley touts biotech industry in Baltimore

The University of Maryland BioPark in 2011. (File Photo)

Gov. Martin O’Malley stopped at the University of Maryland BioPark Wednesday to tout the state’s biotechnology industry, but also took a moment to celebrate the development of what once a barren stretch in West Baltimore.

“There was a time when many of the … opinion leaders in town thought there’d never be development on this side of Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard,” O’Malley said. “Right now you see it happening. There’s more in the pipeline.”

In a visit that lasted less than an hour, O’Malley toured PathSensors Inc., one of the original recipients of money from the state’s $84 million InvestMaryland fund, and then made a stop at Noxilizer Inc., which has been a major beneficiary of the state’s biotechnology investment tax credit.

O’Malley said the companies were two of 30 at the biopark. Combined, the companies employ 600 people, he said.

Some of that has been aided by InvestMaryland, the state’s fund for early-stage technology companies in high-growth areas, such as biotech. Tax credits for investors in biotechnology companies and research and development firms have also been increased over the last several years.

Eye Opener: Frederick prepares transportation plan

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

Eye Opener: Studying the Bay Bridge

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

O’Malley tries to drum up Brown/Ulman donations

Gov. Martin O’Malley threw his political weight behind behind his lieutenant, Anthony G. Brown, months ago.

On Monday, in an email to supporters of Brown and his running mate, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, O’Malley used that weight to ask for money for the young campaign.

In the email, O’Malley says that Brown “has already shown that he’s ready to be our next governor,” and shares credit for some of his administration’s successes with the lieutenant governor, who has embraced the last six year’s as O’Malley deputy while on the campaign trail this summer.

O’Malley further solidified that relationship in his email.

“I’ve worked closely with him, and I know this is a man who will continue the progress we’ve achieved together,” O’Malley said. “He’ll continue working to make this state a place where Maryland’s middle class can truly thrive.”

Del. Heather R. Mizeur of Montgomery County is the only other Democrat to formally announce her candidacy for governor. On Monday, her campaign advertised that a $3 donation would land supporters a “Mizeur for Governor” bumper sticker.

Rather than delivering stump speeches, Mizeur has advertised her participation in a slate of service projects across Maryland.

Maryland Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler, who is expected to formally announce his candidacy in September, has spent the last several weeks rolling out series of policy talks focused, in part, on growing Maryland’s manufacturing sector and improving open government and accountability.

Republicans officially in the race include Harford County Executive David R. Craig and Del. Ronald A. George of Anne Arundel County, who has also begun to lay out a policy plan that includes repealing Maryland’s new tax on gasoline while lowering other taxes and reforming Maryland’s prison system.

Eye Opener: Former Ehrlich aide turned author

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Eye Opener: Early primary changes campaigns

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

After high court ruling, O’Malley says legislature needs to help Board of Public Works

Gov. Martin O'MalleyAfter most of a grueling, six-hour Board of Public Works meeting on Wednesday was devoted to a proposed residential project in an environmentally sensitive area, Gov. Martin O’Malley said Thursday the General Assembly may need to act so the board has authority to deny such developments.

The project by developer K. Hovnanian Homes, which seeks to build more than 1,000 homes on the Chester River in Kent Island, requires a wetlands permit from the state. The board rejected the proposal in 2007, arguing that the development — in an environmentally sensitive “critical area” near Chesapeake Bay — would harm the bay.

But the Maryland Court of Appeals ruled last year that the board exceeded its authority in that decision, and sent the issue back to the board with instructions that it had to base its decision only on whether the project would damage wetlands in the area.

Led by an apparently irritated O’Malley and Comptroller Peter Franchot — and joined by Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp — the board agreed to delay a vote on the permit Wednesday while Queen Anne’s County officials seek guarantees from the developer that impacts of the project’s construction will be reduced.

In the meantime, O’Malley said Thursday that the legislature ought to think about changing state law to ensure the board is able to consider such issues from a broader perspective than Maryland’s high court has allowed.

“This also could be where, frankly, we need to do more work in next year’s General Assembly,” O’Malley said. “Sometimes the Board of Public Works has to make decisions in critical areas … and we need to better and more directly articulate that, in fact, sea level rise inundation and that threat to human health and human life needs also to be a consideration as we seek to protect the other living systems of our wetlands and our shorelines.”

Eye Opener: Controversy surrounds Kent Island development

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

GOP yet to present a Maryland attorney general candidate

Will Maryland voters see a Republican candidate for attorney general? (File Photo)

No less than four Democrats are readying campaigns to be Maryland’s next attorney general, leaving some political observers with an obvious question:

Where’s the Republican party?

Del. Jon S. Cardin, a Baltimore County Democrat, on Monday became the first to formally announce his candidacy to become the state’s top lawyer. Sen. Brian E. Frosh and Del. C. William “Bill” Frick, both Montgomery County Democrats, and Del. Aisha N. Braveboy, a Prince George’s County Democrat, are also expected to run.

But no Republican has stepped up — at least publicly — to seek the job held by Douglas F. Gansler since 2007.

“It speaks to the sorry state of the Republican party in Maryland,” said Todd Eberly, assistant professor of political science at St. Mary’s College of Maryland. “You’re not going to have Doug Gansler … you’ve got an open race, the potential for a divisive Democratic primary.

“If they want anyone to ever take them seriously, they’ve got to win some statewide offices every now and then, which means trying to build a bench instead of running these throwaway challenges.”

The Baltimore Sun reported on Tuesday that state Republican leaders have said a few potential candidates have come forward privately and that someone would soon do so publicly.

Exactly who that candidate might be, however, is a mystery to many.

“I cannot think of who in the world would even be sort of that candidate,” Eberly said.