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Nominee for Md. education board questioned on court record

The Maryland State House. (The Daily Record / Maximilian Franz)

The Maryland State House. (The Daily Record / Maximilian Franz)

ANNAPOLIS — A nominee to the Maryland State Board of Education faced tough questions Monday about a record of traffic offenses, including a driving under the influence of alcohol charge, and thousands of dollars in unpaid state taxes.

Brandon Cooper appeared before the Senate Executive Nominations Committee, which is considering his nomination by Republican Gov. Larry Hogan. Sen. James Brochin, D-Baltimore County, asked him about the list of traffic offenses. Cooper said he has learned from his mistakes.

“The record’s there, but I want to thank Governor Hogan for seeing past those issues and recognizing the value that I bring to the board of education,” Cooper said.

Cooper, 28, told the panel that he received probation before judgment for the driving under the influence charge in 2013.

Cooper ran into more questions from Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, who noted three liens for failing to pay “thousands of dollars” in state income taxes.

Miller, D-Calvert, asked him: “How can you take a position representing the state of Maryland when you don’t pay your tax bills to the state of Maryland?”

Cooper, of Prince George’s County, said the taxes relate to a year when he was working as an independent contractor and didn’t realize taxes weren’t withheld from his pay.

“And again, that goes back to the year that I just did not know I had to pay out of pocket,” Cooper said. “I’ve entered a payment plan for them. I’m making payments on the payment plan.”

The committee delayed taking a vote on his appointment.