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Former delegate turns to lobbying in new firm

A former state delegate is joining a trio of influential Annapolis lobbyists in a new firm, they announced Monday.

Former Del. Justin D. Ross, a Democrat who represented Prince George’s County from 2003 until his resignation last fall, is joining Timothy A. Perry and Jonas A. Jacobson, formerly of Gordon Feinblatt LLC, and Josh White, formerly of Rifkin, Weiner, Livingston, Levitan & Silver LLC, as a partner in Perry, White, Ross & Jacobson LLC.

“I’ve known Tim Perry since well before I was elected, and it’s that relationship that sort of drove this,” Ross said in an interview. The Hyattsville resident said he went back to work in commercial real estate after leaving elected office in November and also did some federal lobbying.

Maryland’s ethics law requires a cooling-off period of one legislative session before former elected officials can lobby state lawmakers. With that time now elapsed, Ross called joining Perry, White and Jacobson a “once-in-a-lifetime” chance.

The former deputy majority whip of the House of Delegates said he was excited to return to work in Annapolis.

“I spent time all over the country and working in Manhattan with the investment and hedge fund world, and I tell you, there’s just nothing better than Maryland,” Ross said. “I’ve been all over the country in the last nine months.”

In a statement, the group said it would represent “corporate, labor and nonprofit clients at the state, local and federal levels,” though most work is expected to be done in and around the State House in Annapolis. The lobbyists are expected to lease office space in Annapolis and bring some clients with them from work at their previous firms.

“Each of us has over a decade of successful experiences working in different areas of the state, local and federal legislative and executive processes,” said White, a former campaign manager and aide to Gov. Martin O’Malley. “By combining our experiences and skills in one firm, we can offer potential clients an improved way of getting things done here in Maryland.”

Perry — Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr.’s former chief of staff — ranked fourth among Annapolis lobbyists after earning $813,469 during the six month period that included the 2013 General Assembly, according to a report released by the Maryland State Ethics Commission. Perry was the top-earning lobbyist in all of 2012.

Jacobson, a former deputy secretary for the Maryland Department of the Environment, was No. 38 on the list, having earned $198,876. The earnings reported by the state ethics commission do not subtract expenses incurred by registered lobbyists.

“In Maryland, regulatory issues — particularly with agencies such as MDE — are critical to most projects,” Jacobson said. “I believe that my experiences within the state and local agencies can help companies navigate those agencies and achieve successful outcomes.”

Jennifer Ann McLaughlin, a development coordinator for St. Johns Properties Inc. for nearly a decade before joining Gordon Feinblatt in December, will also join Perry, White, Ross & Jacobson as a lobbyist.