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Thursday, January 30, 2014

JUICE: Beyer vs. Sen. Madaleno, Delaney for Gov, Attack on Purple Line, Patch.com Folding, Domestic Violence in 2014

Below Maryland Juice provides a round-up of news items of interest to politicos:

JUICE #1: DANA BEYER ANNOUNCES CAMPAIGN AGAINST D18 STATE SENATOR RICH MADALENO - This morning two-time D18 Delegate candidate Dana Beyer announced a campaign for State Senate through (excerpt below):
DANA BEYER (VIA HUFFINGTON  POST): Today I am announcing my next campaign for the betterment of my community in Montgomery County.

We are ready for progress. For too long, hardworking Marylanders have waited for economic fairness and equal opportunity. We have asked our elected officials to help bring better jobs to our neighborhoods, build stronger schools for our children, fix our roads and infrastructure and make quality health care an affordable reality.

We are ready to move forward, and that's why I'm declaring my candidacy for the Maryland Senate.

I am a retired surgeon, a mother of two and a progressive activist. I've spent my entire life fighting for social justice and equal opportunity in our community and around the globe. I'm proud of my track record of success on progressive issues, and now I'm seeking the opportunity to serve you in public office....
and carried interesting commentary from LGBT advocates in Maryland (excerpt below):
WASHINGTON BLADE: ... Beyer, 61, announced her campaign slightly more than a week after Madaleno introduced a bill that would ban discrimination against transgender Marylanders.... Carrie Evans, executive director of Equality Maryland, which endorsed Madaleno’s re-election campaign late last year, told the Blade the Montgomery County Democrat’s “strong record of accomplishments go beyond the LGBT communities....” Beyer is a former member of the Equality Maryland board of directors.

Lisa Polyak, who stepped down as chair of the Equality Maryland board in 2012, also defended Madaleno. “Although Dana has been a tireless advocate for transgender equality locally and nationally, she doesn’t possess the seniority or relationships that can advance priorities of LGBT citizens of Maryland,” Polyak told the Blade.

Evans said having another LGBT candidate “challenging our endorsed candidate” will divert the “limited resources that we earmarked to help our friends in other races” who supported Maryland’s same-sex marriage law in 2012. She also described Beyer’s announcement that comes less than a week before the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee hearing on the trans rights bill as “ironic.”

“Some might say the timing of her announcement only serves to distract and potentially diminish our chances of passing the bill,” said Evans. “Since this is our top legislative priority in 2014 and transgender Marylanders should not have to continue to wait for inclusion in the state anti-discrimination laws, Equality Maryland hopes it does not...." Beyer would become the first trans person elected to the Maryland Legislature if she wins in November.
Meanwhile, Sen. Madaleno sent the following email blast today discussing his legislative priorities for the current Annapolis session (excerpt below):
RICH MADALENO: Throughout my legislative career, I have focused on the needs of Maryland’s working families.  This year is no different.  Below are some of the important initiatives that I am helping to lead in the General Assembly.

MINIMUM WAGE ... As a co-sponsor and strong supporter of legislation recently introduced by Governor O’Malley that would increase the state minimum wage to $10.10 for Maryland employees, I am proud to stand with working families for whom this raise is long overdue....

EARNED INCOME TAX CREDIT ...  In his State of the Union address, President Obama additionally announced his support of a key poverty fighting tool that I have been working to expand here in Maryland over the past several years: the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC)....

RETIREMENT SECURITY This year I am working with AARP, SEIU, and small business leaders to advance innovative legislation that would establish a state-based retirement savings plan for workers without access to employer-sponsored plans....

PAID SICK LEAVE ... As an extension of my “working families” agenda, this session I am proud to co-sponsor the Maryland Earned Sick and Safe Leave Act, allowing workers in Maryland to earned a limited number of paid sick days....
HEALTHY MARYLAND INITIATIVE ... Last but not least, this year I am a primary sponsor of important legislation that would raise millions of dollars to expand health care access to low-income families in Maryland by increasing tobacco taxes by $1 per cigarette pack.....

JUICE #2: FREDERICK NEWS-POST WEIGHS IN FAVORABLY ON POTENTIAL GUBERNATORIAL CAMPAIGN BY REP. JOHN DELANEY - The editorial board of . Though the piece isn't quite an endorsement, it seems to come close (excerpt below):
FREDERICK NEWS-POST: ... Delaney, Maryland’s 6th District congressman, was playing his cards close to the vest. While he strongly suggested that he would seek a return to Congress next year, speculation is mounting that he may jump into Maryland’s Democratic gubernatorial primary. The congressman’s refusal to categorically rule out a bid for the Governor’s Mansion adds to the speculation.....

If Delaney does decide to join that race, he could be a formidable contender. Each of the three principal candidates — Attorney General Douglas Gansler, Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown and Montgomery County Delegate Heather Mizeur — has some issues that could work in Delaney’s favor....

We’re not here to plug Delaney as a candidate or to urge him to enter this race. However, we do believe that he would be a good addition to the lineup and give Maryland Democrats more choice in the June primary. He might also have wider overall appeal than Brown, Gansler or Mizeur due to his entrepreneurial and business experience....

JUICE #3: PATCH.COM LAYS OFF HUNDREDS OF JOURNALISTS  //  WHAT DOES THE FUTURE HOLD FOR LOCAL POLITICAL COVERAGE? - Patch.com has been operating numerous micro-news sites in Maryland, but that the publication eliminated hundreds of journalists without warning (excerpt below):
BREITBART: Patch.com laid off hundreds of employees Wednesday morning, without apparent warning, meaning that most of the network's local websites will cease to produce news, local or otherwise. The decision was made by Hale Global, the "turnaround" company that bought Patch.com from AOL earlier this month.... It failed to live up to its early commercial promise, however, and its formal end may be near....
While I am disappointed to see another local news outlet going under, I have been encouraged to see ramped up activity and coverage from non-traditional media sites like Bethesda Magazine, Bethesda Now, Maryland Reporter, Center Maryland, The Quinton Report, Red Maryland and others. But one problem facing local political and policy coverage is that many of us (including Maryland Juice) do not have adequate revenue streams to do anything but sporadic or volunteer-driven reporting. Meanwhile, mainstream media publications that I read frequently (like The Baltimore Sun, The Washington Post and The Capital Gazette) are increasingly adding pay-walls and subscriber-only access for their coverage. I'm not sure what this all means for the future of local political news....


JUICE #4: CHERRI BRANSON APPOINTED TO VALERIE ERVIN'S MOCO COUNCIL SEAT // PLUS: BOE MEMBER CHRIS BARCLAY & OTHERS GEARING UP FOR PRIMARY - As we predicted, MoCo attorney Cherri Branson was selected to fill Valerie Ervin's vacant seat on the County Council. Maryland Juice received the following press release from the Council announcing the decision (excerpt below):
PRESS RELEASE

Montgomery County Council Appoints Cherri Branson as New Councilmember for District 5
ROCKVILLE, Md., January 28, 2014 — The Montgomery County Council today appointed Cherri Branson by acclamation as the new Councilmember for District 5.  Ms. Branson will succeed former Councilmember Valerie Ervin, who resigned from the Council on Jan. 3 to become executive director of the Center for Working Families. Ms. Branson will complete the unexpired term, which ends on December 1, 2014.

“Cherri Branson has outstanding civic and professional experience, and the Council looks forward to her service,” said Council President Craig Rice. “We were fortunate to have many excellent applicants, and our decision was a difficult one. We deeply appreciate their willingness to serve the community.”

A graduate of Vassar College (B.A.), Indiana University School of Law (J.D.), and Emory University School of Law (LL.M.), Ms. Branson has held key staff positions in the U.S. House of Representatives since 1989. She is now Chief Counsel for Oversight on the Democratic staff of the House Committee on Homeland Security.  She has been president of the African American Democratic Club of Montgomery County. The Council appointed her as a member of the County’s Commission on Redistricting in 2011. She has also served as a member of the Charter Review Commission.

“I am honored to be appointed to the Montgomery County Council,” said Ms. Branson. “I am familiar with many of the key issues facing the County and the Council, and I will work quickly to learn more. I pledge to effectively represent the residents of District 5—and all the people of Montgomery County....”
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Given that Cherri Branson has agreed not to run for the District 5 Council seat in the June Democratic Primary, (excerpt below):
BETHESDA MAGAZINE: As the County Council Tuesday unanimously appointed congressional aide Cherri Branson as a “caretaker” to serve out the remaining 10 months of the term of former Councilmember Valerie Ervin, the maneuvering to win election to the seat for a full four-year term beginning next December intensified.

Christopher Barclay, a member of the county’s Board of Education since 2006, said this week he is running in the June primary for the Democratic nod for the council seat in District 5.... Meanwhile, another well-known officeholder from that area, two-term state Delegate Tom Hucker, is said by sources to be leaning strongly toward giving up his current position to run for the council....

But, in advance of the Feb. 25 filing deadline, at least five candidates are expected to seek the “long-term” District 5 seat, with Barclay and Hucker joined by Evan Glass, chairman of the Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board; Terrill North, vice president of Impact Silver Spring, a group formed to provide support services to the community; and Jeff Thames, who heads an organization that seeks to provide opportunities to former prisoners. Thames formally filed for the seat last week....
As the Democratic Primary field develops, Cherri Branson is getting settled into her temporary Council appointment. She sent the following email blast out yesterday (excerpt below):
CHERRI BRANSON: I am honored and humbled that the County Council has selected me to serve you as the new District 5 Councilmember.  I am committed to delivering the high level of service that the residents of District 5 expect and deserve. I thank the councilmembers for the tremendous confidence that each of them has placed in me.

I am familiar with many of the key issues facing the County and the Council, and I will work quickly to learn even more. I pledge to effectively represent the residents of District 5 - and all the people of Montgomery County.

I also want to recognize former Councilmember Valerie Ervin for her years of dedicated service to Montgomery County. I plan to continue the work she started on the County Council seven years ago, but I will do it in my own way.

There are many exciting issues as we move into 2014 including a full capital improvements budget for the next six years, the fiscal year 2015 operating budget, and the White Oak Science Gateway Master Plan....

JUICE #5: TOWN OF CHEVY CHASE HIRES BROTHER OF KEY REPUBLICAN CONGRESSMAN TO FIGHT PURPLE LINE - Maryland Juice previously noted that The Town of Chevy Chase was debating whether to spend hundreds of thousands of local tax dollars to fight the Purple Line. , noting that the Town has hired the brother of a key Republican Congressman to battle a top transportation priority for Montgomery & Prince George's Counties (excerpt below):
WASHINGTON POST: One of the lawyers hired by the Town of Chevy Chase to evaluate potential legal challenges to the Purple Line light-rail project is the brother of a key congressional committee chairman, leading some transit advocates to question whether the town is trying to buy political influence.

Robert L. Shuster, an attorney with the firm Buchanan, Ingersoll & Rooney, is the brother of Rep. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.), who chairs the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee. The town hired the law firm in December on a monthly basis, so far paying a total of $40,000 for two months. The town council is scheduled to vote next month on whether to award an 18-month legal contract for $360,000....

Ben Ross, a longtime Purple Line advocate and former president of Action Committee For Transit, said “The whole thing stinks....” Tracey Johnston, another Purple Line advocate, said of the Shuster name, “If nothing else, someone answers your phone call. In Washington, that’s your first goal....”

The Maryland Transit Administration’s plans to build a 16-mile Purple Line between Montgomery and Prince George’s counties is at a critical point as the state tries to find a way to cover the $2.2-billion construction costs.... Even more important is the state’s bid for $900 million in highly competitive federal construction grants, which state officials have said are necessary to cover about half the costs. Maryland transit planners have said they expect to hear in February whether the Federal Transit Administration will recommend the Purple Line for that money....

JUICE #6: DOMESTIC VIOLENCE ISSUES TAKE PROMINENCE IN ANNAPOLIS LEGISLATIVE SESSION WITH ELECTION YEAR OPPORTUNITIES - In the current Annapolis legislative session, it is difficult to miss the growing momentum for increased protection for victims of domestic violence. on a trio of bills that Governor O'Malley is pushing to address the issue (excerpt below):
ASSOCIATED PRESS (VIA CAPITAL GAZETTE): ... Brandy King, of Sykesville, told the Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee that the current law does not enable her to get a final protective order against her ex-husband, who was convicted of second-degree assault in 2004 for physically abusing her.

One of the measures before legislators would change the law by adding second-degree assault to the list of crimes for which a person can obtain a final protective order. It also would require that an abuser only be sentenced to at least five years in prison, as opposed to serving at least five years before the victim can obtain a permanent final protective order....

Another measure would make it easier for victims to obtain a final peace order or final protective order by reducing the standard of evidence needed to get one.... Maryland is the only state in the nation that uses the higher standard of proof for final protective orders. A third measure would enable courts to impose an additional five years in prison on someone who commits domestic violence in front of a child.
As , the domestic violence efforts are (thankfully) being heavily aided by election-year politics (excerpt below):
WASHINGTON POST: Maryland has long had the dubious distinction of being the only state that imposes a rigid burden of proof for victims of domestic abuse to receive a civil protection order. Past efforts to change the outdated law never got very far in a hidebound legislature, and advocates became so discouraged that they didn’t even raise the matter in recent years....

Sen. Brian E. Frosh (D-Montgomery), chairman of the Judicial Proceedings Committee and a candidate for attorney general, is sponsoring legislation that would establish a more reasonable burden of proof for victims seeking protection orders.... Mr. Frosh expressed confidence that the reform will pass in the Senate, but the real obstacles lie in the House of Delegates, notably its Judiciary Committee. It killed similar legislation when it was last proposed in 2010. Not even the wrenching testimony of a woman whose three children were drowned after she couldn’t obtain a protective order against her estranged husband could convince the committee of the need for change. The callous, if not hostile, treatment of Amy Castillo brought justifiable criticism to the committee and its chairman, Del. Joseph F. Vallario Jr. (D-Prince George’s), but it remains to be seen whether lawmakers have learned from their mistakes.

Del. Luiz R.S. Simmons (D-Montgomery), who led the effort to kill the bill four years ago, told us he might be open to the change and has some ideas for “compromise” that he plans to discuss with Mr. Frosh. Perhaps not coincidentally, Mr. Simmons is seeking election to the Senate and is locked in a primary battle with former delegate Cheryl Kagan in which women and domestic violence issues are sure to be a focus....
DOMESTIC VIOLENCE BECOMES HOT ELECTION-YEAR ISSUE: Indeed, Delegate Luiz Simmons is now co-sponsoring all three domestic violence bills, alongside House Speaker Mike Busch and Senate President Mike Miller. Additionally, Lt. Governor Anthony Brown (a candidate for Governor) is also getting behind the efforts. Brown issued the following press release this week (excerpt below):
PRESS RELEASE

LT. GOVERNOR BROWN STATEMENT ON ADMINISTRATION’S DOMESTIC VIOLENCE LEGISLATIVE PACKAGE

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (January 28, 2014) - Today the Maryland State Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee held hearings on three Administration bills (SB333, SB334 and SB337) designed to improve protections for victims of domestic violence.

“Over the last seven years, we’ve worked together to reduce domestic assaults by 20%, but it’s not enough until we can say that all Marylanders are safe from domestic violence,” said Lt. Governor Anthony G. Brown. “By working together to pass legislation that makes it easier for victims to obtain final peace and protective orders, we will create a safer environment for all Marylanders. Additionally, by increasing penalties for abusers who commit acts of domestic violence in the presence of kids, we'll send a strong message that the safety of our children is always our top priority."

Since 2007, Lt. Governor Brown, who leads the Administration’s efforts to reduce domestic violence, has worked with lawmakers, stakeholders, law enforcement, and domestic violence and sexual assault advocates to enact legislation which contributed to a 20% decrease in domestic violence assaults and a 32% decrease in the number of women and children that have died from domestic violence over the last seven years. The Administration's 2014 domestic violence package builds upon this effort to eliminate domestic violence in our communities....

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JUICE #7: ANTHONY BROWN TO MISS TONIGHT'S GUBERNATORIAL DEBATE TO BE WITH AILING FATHER - Maryland's Democratic gubernatorial candidates are scheduled to debate tonight at Montgomery County's Leisure World retirement community:
Thursday, January 30, 2014 at 7:00 pm
Leisure World's Ballroom in Clubhouse 1
3700 Rossmoor Blvd, Silver Spring, MD
The event tonight will proceed with Del. Heather Mizeur and Attorney General Doug Gansler, but unfortunately, Lt. Governor Anthony Brown has been called out of town to be with his ailing father. :
BALTIMORE SUN: Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown canceled plans to testify in favor of the O’Malley administration’s domestic violence bills Tuesday in order to be with his ailing father in New York. The lieutenant governor’s office said Dr. Roy Brown, 89, has been moved from a hospital to hospice care. 
Brown, a candidate for the Democratic nomination for governor, is expected to remain with him in New York, a spokesman said.... Brown's running mate Howard County Executive Ken Ulman is not likely to stand in as a surrogate at this week's debate at Leisure World in Silver Spring, according to Brown's campaign.

Monday, January 27, 2014

JUICE: Branson for Ervin's Seat, MoCo Public Financing, LCV Endorses, NARAL 4 Kagan, Van Hollen 4 Leggett, Delaney 4 Gov

Below Maryland Juice provides a round-up of news items of interest to politicos:

Cherri Branson
JUICE #1: CHERRI BRANSON IS THE LIKELY REPLACEMENT FOR VALERIE ERVIN'S MONTGOMERY COUNTY COUNCIL SEAT -  Montgomery County Councilmembers are poised to appoint a replacement for Valerie Ervin's vacant District 5 seat. Knowledgeable sources close to the appointment process believe that will soon be selected by the 8 voting Councilmembers (Note: Ervin cannot vote for her replacement). Ms. Branson is an attorney who serves as Chief Counsel for Oversight at the U.S. House of Representatives Homeland Security Committee. She formerly served as President of the MoCo African American Democratic Club.

Sources also tell us that Branson is a consensus candidate who emerged after a stalemate between Andrew Kleine and former Delegate Herman Taylor. Citing an anti-choice voting record in Annapolis, reproductive rights advocates apparently succeeded in pushing back against a potential Taylor appointment.

The vote for a Council appointee has not yet been taken (so anything can still happen), but our sources sound pretty clear that we've likely got the scoop!


JUICE #2: MORE SPECULATION ABOUT WHETHER REP. JOHN DELANEY WILL RUN FOR GOVERNOR // PLUS: ANALYSES FROM JOURNALISTS & BLOGGERS - Maryland Juice recently reported that it appears Congressman John Delaney conducted a poll to gauge his chances in a campaign for Governor. But since then, , and he (sort-of) dispelled the rumors (excerpt below):
WASHINGTON POST: Rep. John K. Delaney (D-Md.) on Saturday addressed rumors that he is considering running for governor of Maryland by issuing a statement that did not categorically rule out the possibility out but said he expects to continue serving in Congress next year.

“Many people I trust and respect have asked me to consider running for governor, and of course I always think about where I may best serve,” Delaney said. “But I love my job, and my expectation is that I will continue to serve in Congress and represent my district....”
Some journalists think Delaney's response is not a definitive statement that he won't enter the Governor's race. Take, for example, the following :


The if Delaney runs for governor, and they have a bit of wild speculation about the race (excerpt below):
FRONT LINE STATE: Sources are telling Front Line State that a major shakeup in Maryland electoral politics is in the offing. We reported earlier in the week that Representative John Delaney (D) might be jumping into the Governor’s race. Now we are hearing from sources in Annapolis that John Delaney is definitely going after the Democrat nomination for governor and will be announcing the move as early as next week. The new wrinkle to the story is that District 16 Delegate Bill Frick (D) will be running for Congress in MD-6 in place of Delaney....
For now, I would take the Front Line State story with a huge pound of salt, because Delaney running for governor is a big "if," and the theorizing about Frick is likely just speculation. In the meantime, in a Washington Post op-ed this weekend (excerpt below):
BRUCE DEPUYT (VIA WASHINGTON POST): To make history, Anthony G. Brown (D) must buck history. Brown’s campaign for the Democratic nomination for governor of Maryland has significant momentum. He has pulled ahead of his primary rival — Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler — in fundraising. He’s racked up a formidable list of endorsements from big-name politicians and influential organizations. And his political partner for the past eight years, Gov. Martin O’Malley (D), has a vested interest in helping the Prince George’s resident prevail in the Democratic primary in June....

But a cautionary note is needed: No lieutenant governor has ever managed to grab the top spot in Maryland. It happens in other states, of course, but in Maryland, the office has not served as a steppingstone to the governor’s mansion.

Maryland’s primary is still five months off, and a lot will happen. Brown must weather the negative headlines generated by the balky health-insurance exchange Web portal set up in Maryland as part of the Affordable Care Act, which he was assigned to oversee by O’Malley...

JUICE #3: REP. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN ENDORSES IKE LEGGETT FOR MONTGOMERY COUNTY EXECUTIVE - Maryland Juice received the following email blast from the re-election campaign of MoCo Executive Ike Leggett announcing an endorsement from Rep. Chris Van Hollen (excerpt below):
CHRIS VAN HOLLEN: I proudly endorse Ike Leggett for reelection as Montgomery County Executive. As we move into the future, Montgomery County continues to need a visionary and principled leader who can deliver results. Our County Executive, Ike Leggett, has demonstrated that, time and again, he is that leader.

During the recent recession, Ike guided our County with a firm and balanced hand. He showed that he was not afraid to make the hard choices that would lead our County out of the recession, build a stronger economic foundation, maintain the highest financial reserves in our history, and preserve our AAA bond rating. Today, the County has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the nation, has strong job growth, remains committed to a top-rated school system, and has embraced a vision for a global economy for the future....

Working hand-in-hand with State legislators last year, Ike’s leadership was instrumental in bringing home an unprecedented amount of State funding for County transportation projects. And even during the most challenging fiscal years, Ike was resolute in his commitment to Montgomery County Public Schools, funding nearly 100 percent of its budget requests....

JUICE #4: MOCO COUNCILMEMBER PHIL ANDREWS INTRODUCES PUBLIC FINANCING BILL FOR COUNTY CAMPAIGNS - week that Montgomery County Councilmember Phil Andrews (also a candidate for County Executive) introduced legislation to establish a public financing system for MoCo elections (excerpt below):
WASHINGTON POST: ... Andrews (D-Rockville-Gaithersburg), a candidate in the June Democratic primary for county executive, said he sees public financing as an essential counter­weight to the influence of special-interest money in Montgomery elections, primarily from real estate developers and public employee unions....

Andrews’s plan is completely voluntary. Candidates who want to raise money in the traditional manner could do so without penalty. Those opting into the public system would have to raise an initial amount of “seed money” to qualify: $40,000 for a county executive candidate, $20,000 for an at-large council candidate, $10,000 for a district council seat. The maximum individual donation would be $150. No PAC money or corporate donations would be allowed.... Small donations would be matched at a higher rate — as high as a 6-to-1 ratio in some cases — to encourage many modest individual donations.

“I think we absolutely need to do this,” said council member Marc Elrich (D-At Large).... Council member Roger Berliner (D-Potomac-Bethesda) said he wants to know more about the details but believes the county needs to take advantage of the opportunity the General Assembly has provided....

JUICE #5: DOUG GANSLER ENDORSES MARIJUANA DECRIMINALIZATION // FLOOR VOTE NEEDED: ALL THREE GUBERNATORIAL CAMPAIGNS SUPPORT ZIRKIN-MIZEUR-SMIGIEL BILL - All three Democratic gubernatorial candidates now support reform of Maryland's marijuana laws. Delegate Heather Mizeur favors taxing and regulating pot similar to alcohol, while Lt. Governor Anthony Brown recently endorsed removing the 90-day jail penalty attached to marijuana possession. Over the weekend, the Del. Jolene Ivey:


ACT NOW: URGE YOUR MARYLAND LAWMAKERS TO SUPPORT MARIJUANA REFORM - Momentum is surging to roll back the expensive and failed War on Drugs in Maryland, and now all of the Democratic candidates for Governor and Attorney General have endorsed either decriminalization or legalization of pot. There are two simple actions you can take right now to help capitalize on this political opportunity:
1. TELL YOUR DELEGATES TO URGE A FLOOR VOTE FOR MARIJUANA DECRIMINALIZATION - State Senator Bobby Zirkin and Delegates Heather Mizeur & Mike Smigiel have introduced a marijuana decriminalization bill this session. The measure passed the State Senate last year, but it is stuck in the House of Delegates. Many politicos believe the bill would pass in the House if it was released for a floor vote. Please contact your members in the Maryland House of Delegates and urge them to call for a floor vote for marijuana decriminalization legislation:

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2. URGE STATE LEGISLATORS TO CO-SPONSOR LEGISLATION TO TAX & REGULATE MARIJUANA LIKE ALCOHOL - Removing jail penalties associated with simple marijuana possession (aka decriminalization) is just the first step toward creating public interest drug reform in Maryland. But we should all be aware that this a compromise position on the road to moving Maryland to tax and regulate marijuana like it does with alcohol. The legalization movement is quickly picking up steam in Maryland, as legislation to achieve this has been introduced by State Senator Jamie Raskin and Delegate Curt Anderson. The effort has support from powerful Democratic lawmakers including Senate President Mike Miller, House Ways & Means committee Chair Sheila Hixson, House Environmental Matters committee Chair Maggie McIntosh and more. Please urge your state legislators to co-sponsor the "tax and regulate" legislation:

[ ]

UPDATE: Below you can read a letter Delegate Heather Mizeur sent to her colleagues urging them to get behind the effort to remove jail time as a penalty for pot possession this year:


JUICE #6: MARYLAND LEAGUE OF CONSERVATION VOTERS MAKES ENDORSEMENTS IN D6, D13, D26, D27C & D46 - Maryland Juice received the following press release from the League of Conservation Voters announcing the following endorsements in open seat and contested races (excerpt below, "bold" emphasis added):
PRESS RELEASE

Maryland League of Conservation Voters Announces Key Endorsements for New Green Maryland Senators and Delegates

Candidates Are the Clear Choice for the Environment
                                                                                                                                                          
(Annapolis, MD) Today the Maryland League of Conservation Voters (Maryland LCV) released its next round of endorsed candidates for General Assembly 2014 state primary elections. The organization said the 3 Senate seats and 2 delegate seats are priority races for the organization and present exciting opportunities to put candidates with much stronger environmental records in all of these seats.

“These candidates will increase the conservation majority in the General Assembly,” said Karla Raettig, Executive Director of Maryland LCV. “Marylanders care about our air, land and water and vote for candidates who lead on the environment. These candidates are, without a doubt, the best choice for the environment in the Maryland General Assembly.”

Raettig went on to say:
  • Maryland LCV endorses Johnny Olszewski for District 6 Senate.  He holds a 88% lifetime score and Senator Stone is retiring with a 66% score.  He’s a champion for clean energy and we’re excited to endorse his move to the Senate.”
  • Maryland LCV endorses Guy Guzzone for his bid to the District 13 Senate which is also open.  Delegate Guzzone holds a 93% lifetime score while the predecessor, Senator Robey held a 70%.  He’s a big champion on environmental budget issues.”
  • Maryland LCV endorses Veronica Turner for her bid against Anthony Muse in District 26.  Delegate Turner holds a 92% lifetime score while Senator Muse has a 62% lifetime score.  We’re looking forward to helping her move to the Senate chamber.”
  • Maryland LCV endorses Sue Kullen for delegate in district 27C in Calvert County.  It’s an open seat and with her previous environmental lifetime score of 88%, we’re elated to endorse her to re-enter the Maryland General Assembly.”
  • Maryland LCV endorses Brooke Lierman for delegate in district 46 in Baltimore City.  She will replace retiring Delegate McHale with a lifetime score of 75%.  While this will be her first bid to the Maryland General Assembly, she is strongly prioritizing the environment and we’re proud to endorse her.”
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JUICE #7: NARAL ENDORSES CHERYL KAGAN FOR DISTRICT 17 STATE SENATE - Maryland Juice received the following press release from D17 Senate candidate Cheryl Kagan announcing an endorsement from NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland (excerpt below):
PRESS RELEASE

Cheryl Kagan Announces Senate Endorsement by NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland on 
41st Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

Today, former Delegate Cheryl Kagan announced that she has been endorsed by NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland PAC for State Senate, District 17.

"On behalf of the members of the NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland PAC, I am pleased to announce our organization's endorsement of your candidacy," said Wendy Royalty, NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland PAC Chair. "Your leadership as a member of the House of Delegates and your ongoing commitment to women's reproductive choice and to women's health and safety made this an easy decision for our board."

Cheryl has worked on reproductive rights and privacy issues for almost 30 years on the state and federal levels, both as a staffer for NARAL Pro-Choice America and as a leader on reproductive choice while serving in the House of Delegates....

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Wednesday, January 22, 2014

JUICE: Dana Beyer vs Sen. Madaleno, MD #1 for Millionaires, Labor vs Brochin, Simmons vs Kagan, Gov & Min Wage Update

UPDATE: .

Below Maryland Juice provides a round-up of news items of interest to politicos:

JUICE #1: DANA BEYER POLLING POTENTIAL RACE AGAINST SEN. RICH MADALENO - A Maryland Juice source sent us word of a poll out in the field right now in District 18. Two-time D18 Delegate candidate Dana Beyer now appears to be kicking the tires on a challenge to State Senator Rich Madaleno:
ANONYMOUS SOURCE: Beyer has a baseline poll in the field testing the delegate candidates, a Beyer/Madaleno senate matchup and testing some positive and negative messages as well as lines of attack.

JUICE #2: GOV. O'MALLEY & NUMEROUS LABOR UNIONS BACK CHALLENGER TO STATE SENATOR JIM BROCHIN - that Governor Martin O'Malley is backing a Democratic Primary challenger to State Senator Jim Brochin (excerpt below):
WASHINGTON POST: Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley and former governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. never agreed on much, but the two adversaries have come to the same conclusion about one thing: Someone other than James Brochin should be elected to the state Senate from District 42.

Both O’Malley (D) and Ehrlich (R) have penned fundraising solicitations in recent weeks for candidates challenging Brochin, the independent-minded, three-term Democratic incumbent representing the Baltimore County district. O’Malley is supporting Connie DeJuliis, a former member of the House of Delegates who helped him in his gubernatorial campaigns....

“Connie is running to be a strong, Democratic voice for the communities, families, and citizens of the 42nd District in Baltimore County,” O’Malley said in his Jan. 7 fundraising solicitation for DeJuliis. “Her campaign is an important one, and she needs our help....”
I looked up the recent campaign finance reports for both Brochin and DeJuliis, and here's where the two candidates currently stand in terms of cash on hand:
  • State Senator Jim Brochin (incumbent): $228,744.52
  • Connie DeJuliis: $41,745.06

Note that Connie DeJuliis' campaign finance report shows donations from a wide range of labor unions and some politicians including: AFSCME Local 770, Baltimore Fire Officers Local 964, Maryland Social Services Employees Local Union 112, Maryland Teamsters PAC, 1199 SEIU - NYS Political Action Fund, CWA Cope - VA, Local 32 BJ NY/NJ American Dream Fund, Teamsters Local Union No. 639, Ironworkers Political Action League PAC, UAW PAC MD State, Friends For John Olszewski Sr and Friends Of Senator Norman Stone.


JUICE #3: NEW STUDY REPORTS MARYLAND IS #1 FOR MILLIONAIRES, VIRGINIA IS #7 - After all the hysteria from Democratic lawmakers about the potential flight of millionaires to Virginia, Maryland Juice was irritated to see a new study last week indicating that Maryland is #1 in the nation for millionaires (per capita). Can we please end the hysteria used to advocate for pro-millionaire policies already? , which was summarized by Politico's Mike Allen:
MIKE ALLEN (VIA POLITICO): States with the most and least, per Phoenix Marketing International: 1) Md. 2) N.J. 3) Conn. 4) Hawaii 5) Alaska 6) Mass. 7) Va. 8) N.H. 9) Del. 10) D.C. 11) Calif. 12) N.Y. ... 22) Texas ... 30) Fla. ... 36) Ohio ... 46) Tenn. 47) Ky. 48) W.Va. 49) Idaho 50) Ark. 51) Miss.
Here's a screencap from the :



JUICE #4: SIERRA CLUB ENDORSES HEATHER MIZEUR FOR GOVERNOR - Maryland Juice received the following press release from Heather Mizeur's campaign announcing the endorsement of the Sierra Club in her bid for Governor (excerpt below):
PRESS RELEASE

Mizeur-Coates Campaign Picks Up Sierra Club Endorsement


SILVER SPRING, Maryland – This weekend, Heather Mizeur and Delman Coates, Democratic candidates for governor and lieutenant governor, received the endorsement of the Sierra Club Maryland Chapter, one of state’s leading environmental groups. They are the first environmental group to endorse in the Democratic gubernatorial election.  

"The next Governor will face tough environmental challenges from eradicating dead zones in the Bay and boosting our alternative energy options to protecting and sustaining our natural resources," said Mizeur. “We’re honored to have the support of Sierra Club—and all their members—in this campaign, and look forward to working with them in victory.”  

The Sierra Club is the largest grassroots environmental organization in the country. The Maryland Chapter has 12,000 members. Some of the chapter’s priority campaigns are focused on moving the state "Beyond Coal" and "Beyond Natural Gas", and on preserving the natural environment for future generations.



"Delegate Mizeur is a true environmental champion who leads the fight to ensure that all Maryland families have access to clean water, healthy air and open spaces,” said Josh Tulkin, state director of the Sierra Club Maryland Chapter. “Heather isn't afraid to speak her mind and stand up to special interests.”


Last week, the Mizeur-Coates campaign received endorsements from two women’s groups: Maryland NOW PAC and Feminist Majority. The campaign has also been supported by several other groups, including EMILY’s List and the Montgomery County Fraternal Order of Police....

###

JUICE #5: SUSAN LEE FOR D16 SENATE & KELLY, KORMAN, JAMGOCHIAN FOR D16 DELEGATE  // PLUS: DUCHY TRACHTENBERG WEIGHING AT-LARGE COUNCIL RUN - The Sierra Club also informed Maryland Juice that in District 16, they've endorsed Del. Susan Lee for State Senate and Del. Ariana Kelly, Marc Korman & Hrant Jamgochian for the three Delegate slots. On a similar note, that former Montgomery County Councilmember Duchy Trachtenberg has decided not to challenge Susan Lee for the State Senate seat and is instead weighing a run for MoCo Council At Large (excerpt below):
BETHESDA MAGAZINE: ...Delegate Susan Lee took another step toward locking up the nomination for the seat now held by Sen. Brian Frosh, who is seeking the Democratic nod for state attorney general. Former County Councilmember Duchy Trachtenberg said this week that, despite “a great deal of encouragement and support from many District 16 residents, I will not be running for the…Senate seat.” Trachtenberg, who continues to weigh a bid to regain an at-large seat on the County Council, added: “My political interests have always been in Rockville, and down on Capitol Hill....”

JUICE #6: GANSLER SUPPORTS TYING MINIMUM WAGE HIKE TO CORPORATE TAX CUT  //  PLUS: SENATE PRESIDENT MIKE MILLER SENDS MIXED SIGNALS - Earlier this month, that gubernatorial candidate Doug Gansler supports linking a state minimum wage increase to corporate tax cuts (excerpt below):
BUSINESS JOURNAL: Senate Bill 8 was introduced by Sen. Richard Colburn, R-Caroline. Colburn is a member of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee. The bill is one of several attempts expected this General Assembly session to reduce the state’s corporate income tax to bring it in line with neighboring states like Virginia, where the rate is 6 percent.

Those attempts could gain traction this session because several candidates for governor have come out in favor of a tax decrease. Attorney General Douglas Gansler, who is running for the Democratic nomination for governor, wants to see the rate lowered to 6 percent. Gansler would tie the reduction to a hike in the state’s minimum wage to $10.10 an hour, up from the current $7.25 an hour.
Meanwhile, in recent weeks Senate President Mike Miller made a series of telling comments about his views on a minimum wage increase. (excerpt below):
BALTIMORE SUN: Sen. President Thomas V. Mike Miller predicted a big fight over raising the minimum wage in Maryland and publicly urged his colleagues to look for compromise.

Miller said he doesn’t believe the proposal backed by Gov. Martin O’Malley will pass his chamber, and that while there is broad support for a wage increase, the state will have to allow different regions to have different wages. “I’m trying to find way out of dodge,” Miller told reporters, adding: “I’m telling you right now: it’s going to be a very tough sell....”

Miller, who said he believes some wage increase will pass, criticized those jurisdictions for acting alone. “Personally, I think what Prince George’s and Montgomery County have done is a tremendous disservice to their state and their community,” Miller said. The higher wage, he said, creates a political challenge for passing a state-wide wage lower than $11.50 and it discourages chain businesses from launching new enterprises in those counties.... 

JUICE #7: ANTHONY BROWN ENDORSES MARIJUANA DECRIMINALIZATION PROPOSAL  //  PLUS: MARYLAND LEADS NATION IN POT ARRESTS -  that Lt. Governor Anthony Brown is endorsing a legislative proposal to remove the 90-days-in-jail penalty for marijuana possession in Maryland (excerpt below):
BALTIMORE SUN: Speaking at a Baltimore Sun Newsmaker Forum, Brown also came out strongly for decriminalization of possession of small amounts of marijuana. But he said Maryland should wait and learn from the experience of other states before moving to full legalization of the drug.... On marijuana, Brown took a middle ground between the O'Malley administration's cautious support of the limited medical marijuana program approved last year and the legalization plan offered by Del. Heather R. Mizeur of Montgomery County, one of Brown's rivals in the June Democratic primary....
Meanwhile, Christopher Neely of the of being one of the top five states in the nation for marijuana arrests (excerpt below):
CAPITAL NEWS SERVICE (VIA PATCH.COM):  Maryland is a state with a serious marijuana arrest problem, according to the FBI’s 2011 annual Uniform Crime Report. With 22,043 arrests for marijuana possession producing an arrest rate of 378 people per 100,000, Maryland ranked among the top five in marijuana possession arrests according to the most recent data available. This is not new for the Free State. Since 2007, Maryland has been in the top five states in marijuana possession arrest rate.

“I have no idea why these numbers are so high,” said state Sen. Bobby Zirkin, D-Baltimore County, who is an advocate for marijuana decriminalization in Maryland. “The numbers are shocking and staggering.” Experts say the numbers are in part the result of the war on drugs being focused on petty marijuana possession arrests starting in the 1990s. Some also attribute much of the increase to then-Baltimore Mayor and now Gov. Martin O’Malley, who helped introduce both statistics driven policing and zero tolerance policies to the state.

From 2000-2007, Maryland’s overall marijuana possession arrest rate rose by 4,916 arrests per year, or 28 percent statewide. During the same time period, Baltimore’s marijuana arrest rate surged by 3,686 arrests per year - more than 155 percent....

But according to a recent poll conducted by Democratic-affiliated Public Policy Polling, 68 percent of Marylanders support decriminalization. Fifty-three percent support legalization similar to Colorado and Washington.... 
In other news, a coalition of groups including the ACLU, Equality Maryland, League of Women Voters of Maryland, NAACP and more have formed .


JUICE #8: GANSLER ATTACKS ANTHONY BROWN CAMPAIGN CONTRIBUTIONS FROM HEALTH CARE EXCHANGE CONTRACTORS - In response to the ongoing controversy over Maryland's bungled roll-out for Obamacare enrollment, Attorney General Doug Gansler issued the following press release slamming Anthony Brown for taking thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from contractors working on the project (excerpt below):
PRESS RELEASE

Brown/Ulman Took Nearly $130K from Health Care Interests for Campaign, Leaving Marylanders to Foot $170 Million Bill

While Taxpayers Have Spent $170 million on Botched Health Exchange, Brown Reaping Campaign Contributions

Silver Spring, MARYLAND – According to campaign finance reports, the Brown/Ulman gubernatorial campaign received $45,850 in campaign contributions between 2011 to 2014 from health care interests directly associated with the Maryland Health Insurance Exchange that Brown is overseeing – in addition to $84,000 Brown has received in donations linked to the health care industry in prior years.

A description of the contributions is below.

“While taxpayers have spent over $170 million on a botched insurance website overseen by Lt. Governor Brown, he has been reaping nearly $130,000 from health care interests. That is outrageous. Lt. Governor Brown owes taxpayers an answer for this ethical lapse – and an apology for the state of the exchange,” said Bob Wheelock, communications director for the Gansler/Ivey campaign....

Campaign Contributions to Anthony Brown and Ken Ulman from Healthcare Interests Directly Related to Exchange

Friends of Anthony Brown & MBHE Vendors
  • Friends of Anthony Brown received $8,550 from vendors listed as receiving contracts from the Maryland Health Benefit Exchanges and executives or employees with those vendors.
  • Friends of Anthony Brown received a total $4,750 from lobbyists who currently or formerly represented companies that received contracts from the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange. $2,450 came from individuals who are currently registered to lobby on behalf of vendors, and $2,300 came from individuals who had formerly been registered to lobby on their behalf. (Note that some of these lobbyists were also registered on behalf of insurance carriers on the Exchange.)
 Friends of Anthony Brown & MBHE Insurance Providers
  • Friends of Anthony Brown received $22,700 in contributions from authorized marketplace insurance carriers and their executives.  The carriers were CareFirst, Evergreen, and Aetna.
  • Friends of Anthony Brown received $10,495 from lobbyists who currently or formerly represented Maryland Health Benefit Exchange insurance carriers $4,325 came from individuals who are currently registered to lobby on behalf of carriers, and $6,170 came from individuals who had formerly been registered to lobby on their behalf. (Note that some of these lobbyists were also registered on behalf of vendors contracted with the Exchange.)
###

JUICE #9: HEATHER MIZEUR BEATING DOUG GANSLER IN POLL OF BALTIMORE CITY VOTERS? - showing Heather Mizeur leading Doug Gansler in the Governor's race (excerpt below):
DMV DAILY: In a recent DMVDaily poll of likely voters, both from the citywide voter file as well as the avid readers of this publication, the once unknown Mizeur campaign has seemingly catapulted its way into the mainstream conversation of likely victors. Polling in single digits late last year, the Mizeur/Coates campaign has gained considerable ground amongst Baltimore City voters, closing the gap with such tenacity that one has to wonder how well she will do statewide with more time to connect with voters.

Our recent survey, asking roughly 500 area voters who they would choose for Governor if the election were held today, showed Mizeur trailing Brown by a mere three percentage points (32%-29%), while Gansler lagged far behind at 18%. And while over 20% of respondents were still undecided as to whom they would support, the fact that Mizeur has already bypassed her Montgomery County colleague Gansler, shows her campaign’s strategic success over the past few months....
Note: I have not seen the actual polling memo, sample or crosstabs, so I have no idea whether this was a statistically valid poll.


JUICE #10: DEL. LUIZ SIMMONS SENDS ANOTHER DIRECT MAIL PIECE IN D17 SENATE RACE AGAINST CHERYL KAGAN  //  PLUS: WASHINGTON POST EDITORIAL CRITICIZES SIMMONS ON DOMESTIC VIOLENCE - Delegate Luiz Simmons sent a second direct mail piece to D17 voters regarding "mudslinging" in his State Senate battle against Cheryl Kagan (see below):



Meanwhile, highlighting Delegate Simmons' obstruction of legislation to combat domestic violence (excerpt below):
WASHINGTON POST: Maryland has long had the dubious distinction of being the only state that imposes a rigid burden of proof for victims of domestic abuse to receive a civil protection order. Past efforts to change the outdated law never got very far in a hidebound legislature, and advocates became so discouraged that they didn’t even raise the matter in recent years....

Sen. Brian E. Frosh (D-Montgomery), chairman of the Judicial Proceedings Committee and a candidate for attorney general, is sponsoring legislation that would establish a more reasonable burden of proof for victims seeking protection orders....

Mr. Frosh expressed confidence that the reform will pass in the Senate, but the real obstacles lie in the House of Delegates, notably its Judiciary Committee. It killed similar legislation when it was last proposed in 2010. Not even the wrenching testimony of a woman whose three children were drowned after she couldn’t obtain a protective order against her estranged husband could convince the committee of the need for change. The callous, if not hostile, treatment of Amy Castillo brought justifiable criticism to the committee and its chairman, Del. Joseph F. Vallario Jr. (D-Prince George’s), but it remains to be seen whether lawmakers have learned from their mistakes.

Del. Luiz R.S. Simmons (D-Montgomery), who led the effort to kill the bill four years ago, told us he might be open to the change and has some ideas for “compromise” that he plans to discuss with Mr. Frosh. Perhaps not coincidentally, Mr. Simmons is seeking election to the Senate and is locked in a primary battle with former delegate Cheryl Kagan in which women and domestic violence issues are sure to be a focus....

JUICE #11: MONTGOMERY COUNTY EXECUTIVE CANDIDATES COMPETE WITH EACH OTHER TO PROTECT "TEN MILE CREEK" - An interesting environmental issue has emerged in Montgomery County's County Executive race. Activists with the "" coalition are trying to stop development that would impact a MoCo waterway that serves as a back-up water supply:
SAVE TEN MILE CREEK: Just outside the boundaries of Clarksburg Town Center runs one of the healthiest waterways in the Chesapeake Watershed: Ten Mile Creek. A designated drinking water supply, Ten Mile Creek flows steadily, clear and cold, and teems with fish, many different kinds of aquatic insects, salamanders and other life forms. But large commercial and residential development proposals threaten this creek and watershed. Ten Mile Creek is delivering clean, healthy water to Little Seneca Reservoir and the Potomac. We want to keep it that way now, today and tomorrow....
Notably, this issue is becoming a key political debate ahead of the 2014 Democratic Primary, as candidates for County Executive have weighed in on the issue. Below we excerpt a regarding this issue, as well as an :
IKE LEGGETT: As you know, protecting the environment is a priority of mine. It is for this reason I am making a commitment that the County will forego any development on the 128-acre County/Clarkwood site. Further, I have made a decision that the County will not build the proposed addition to the County Correctional Facility. Together these two properties owned by the County total over 400 acres in the Ten Mile Creek area. The commitment to forego any development on these two County properties represents a signficant reduction in impervious surface, and therefore a substantial contribution to protection the environmental resources in this watershed.
DOUG DUNCAN: Montgomery County is facing a major land use decision with environmental consequences that will outlive all of us by decades or centuries. Ten Mile Creek in the Clarksburg area is a County treasure - one of a very few high quality reference streams in the County. In the coming weeks, the County Council has to decide how much development to allow in the Ten Mile Creek watershed, a decision that will say a lot about our commitment to protecting our environment and our region's water supply. The Creek is like an endangered species - we value it for many reasons. If we destroy it, we will learn, to our regret, that it was truly irreplaceable.... The County Council must make this right by limiting development in the headwaters of Ten Mile Creek so that the current water quality of the Creek is maintained and that no further degradation occurs.... We can and must save Ten Mile Creek. If you agree, contact the County Council to please ask them to base their decision on this issue by supporting the policy of no further degradation to the Creek.
For what it's worth, County Exec candidate Phil Andrews also joined Duncan and Leggett at a "Save Ten Mile Creek" event this weekend.


JUICE #12: DOUG DUNCAN WINS ENDORSEMENT OF MOCO FIREFIGHTERS - Last week of the Montgomery County firefighters union in his bid for County Executive (excerpt below):
JEFFREY BUDDLE, IAFF LOCAL 1664: As president of the Montgomery County Career Fire Fighters Association, IAFF Local 1664, I am pleased to let you know that we have endorsed Doug Duncan to be the next County Executive of Montgomery County.

Having been a career fire fighter for 15 years now, and having worked with different administrations and politicians, I know that the traits Doug brings to the table are exactly what Montgomery County needs at this point in time in order to get us back on track.

His resolute commitment to public safety, both in the past and going forward, his vision for tomorrow’s Montgomery County, and his leadership style are what distinguish him as the clear choice in this race and made it an easy decision for us.

Doug has been an ardent supporter of the career fire fighters since day one. He understands the importance of working together to create one of the finest fire and rescue services in the country.  Doug knows how critical safeguarding the residents of Montgomery County is.

Montgomery County needs a strong, invigorated leader with innovative and new ideas. More of the status quo will just simply not work and we must once again get Montgomery County moving in the right direction. It was an honor to work with Doug before and we look forward to working together again with him as the next Montgomery County Executive....

JUICE #13: NARAL PRO-CHOICE MARYLAND PAC ISSUES CALL FOR CANDIDATE SURVEYS - Maryland  Juice received the following alert from the NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland PAC requesting candidate surveys for its endorsement process:
PRESS RELEASE

NARAL PRO-CHOICE MARYLAND PAC
Announces Endorsement Process

SILVER SPRING, MD--Today, the Political Action Committee of NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland announced that they have launched a new portion of their website dedicated to preparing for the upcoming elections.

Persons interested in the endorsement process, voting information, and volunteer opportunities should visit www.prochoicemd.org. The site will be continually updated and will include endorsed candidates when they are announced.

The NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland Political Action Committee is the only statewide PAC dedicated solely to electing pro-choice candidates to office in Maryland. Since 1982, NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland PAC has worked to elect pro-choice officials at the state and county levels.

NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland is dedicated to ensuring that Maryland continues to be a leader in the reproductive rights movement

To learn more about the endorsement process, please visit .

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Thursday, January 16, 2014

MEASURING CONTEST: Maryland Juice's Round-Up of Cash in Statewide Races, All of MoCo's Campaigns & Some Hot Primaries

UPDATE: A few of the late fundraising reports have finally been posted, so we're updating the post below. Here are the campaigns we've added:
  • Attorney General Race - Aisha Braveboy: $42,918.44
  • D12 Delegate - Brian Bailey: $977.35
  • D17 Delegate - Jim Gilchrist (incumbent): $11,602.65
  • D19 Delegate - Melodye Berry: $152.00
  • D40 Delegate - Doc Cheatham: $87.00
  • D44 Senate - Verna Jones-Rodwell (incumbent): $62,843.00
We've also added on more race to our round-up -- the Democratic Primary battle between District 42 Sen. Jim Brochin and O'Malley ally Connie DeJuliis:
  • Jim Brochin (incumbent): $228,744.52 
  • Connie DeJuliis: $41,745.06

CASH ON HAND: Over the last few months, candidates have announced for various races in the upcoming June primary elections. But yesterday, politicos had the opportunity to start assessing the various Democratic candidate fields through an age-old measurement: cash on hand. Indeed, January 15th was the due date for candidates across the state to show their hands and disclose the state of their finances. There is much you can learn from the reports that have been posted online, but below Maryland Juice provides a simple round-up of how much cash various campaigns now have available. Also note that where there were discrepancies between bank balances and cash on hand figures, I've listed the larger of the two numbers. Our report below includes "cash on hand" figures for many high-profile races, along with all of Montgomery County's Democratic Primary races. (Full Disclosure: My own campaign appears below). The non-Montgomery County races are at the bottom of this list:

STATEWIDE RACES

Governor
  1. Anthony Brown + Ken Ulman = $7,093,647.94
  2. Doug Gansler + Jolene Ivey  = $6,304,091.99
  3. Heather Mizeur + Delman Coates = $750,000 *
* Note: It is very difficult to calculate funds raised and cash on hand for this committee by looking at the accounts of Friends of Heather Mizeur, Mizeur-Coates for Maryland, and the public matching fund report. I had to pick up the phone to get this number. For the other gubernatorial campaigns, I added up the totals reported for the teammates' individual accounts, joint accounts, and slates.


Attorney General
  1. Sen. Brian Frosh = $795,909.69
  2. Del. Jon Cardin = $374,269.65
  3. Del. Bill Frick = $133,546.28
  4. Del. Aisha Braveboy = $42,918.44

Comptroller
  1. Peter Franchot (incumbent) = $1,457,657.31

MONTGOMERY COUNTY RACES

Montgomery County Executive
  1. Ike Leggett (incumbent) = $971,159.00
  2. Doug Duncan = $330,120.86
  3. Councilmember Phil Andrews = $118,805.41

Montgomery County Council At Large
  1. Nancy Floreen (incumbent) = $144,908.57
  2. Hans Riemer (incumbent) = $122,859.93
  3. George Leventhal (incumbent) = $117,467.90
  4. Beth Daly = $98,640.89
  5. Marc Elrich (incumbent) = $52,232.01
  6. Vivian Malloy = $10,195.87

Montgomery County Council District 1
  1. Roger Berliner (incumbent) = $52,368.60

Montgomery County Council District 2
  1. Craig Rice (incumbent) = $60,996.81
  2. Neda Bolourian = Affidavit Filed (under $1,000)

Montgomery County Council District 3
  1. Gaithersburg Councilmember Ryan Spiegel = $17,374.81
  2. Guled Kassim = No Report Filed
  3. Gaithersburg Mayor Sid Katz = No Committee Exists
  4. Rockville Councilmember Tom Moore = No Committee Exists

Montgomery County Council District 4
  1. Nancy Navarro (incumbent) = $16,707.26

Montgomery County Council District 5
  1. Del. Tom Hucker = $146,904.57 (Note: Also weighing re-election in District 20)
  2. Evan Glass = $57,115.43
  3. Terrill North = $25,409.91
  4. Board of Education Member Chris Barclay = $5,000

State Senate District 14
  1. Karen Montgomery (incumbent)  = $43,278.80

State Senate District 15
  1. Brian Feldman (appointed incumbent) = $112,197.59

State Senate District 16
  1. Del. Susan Lee = $220,359.81

State Senate District 17
  1. Del. Luiz Simmons = $101,569.63
  2. Cheryl Kagan = $49,934.34

State Senate District 18
  1. Rich Madaleno (incumbent) = $36,869.66

State Senate District 19
  1. Roger Manno (incumbent) = $120,168.32

State Senate District 20
  1. Jamie Raskin (incumbent) = $155,253.95

State Senate District 39
  1. Nancy King (incumbent) =  $91,050.39

State House District 14 (3 seats)
  1. Craig Zucker (incumbent) = $42,412.75
  2. Anne Kaiser (incumbent) = $37,025.67
  3. Eric Luedtke (incumbent) = $25,865.47
  4. John Evans = Affidavit Filed (under $1,000)

State House District 15 (3 seats)
  1. Aruna Miller (incumbent) =  $108,790.30
  2. Bennett Rushkoff = $53,470.77
  3. Kathleen Dumais (incumbent) = $52,291.12
  4. David Fraser-Hidalgo (appointed incumbent) = $32,974.12

State House District 16 (3 seats)
  1. Ariana Kelly (incumbent) = $122,964.88
  2. Marc Korman = $120,791.41
  3. Hrant Jamgochian = $116,698.81
  4. Kevin Walling = $30,653.11
  5. Jordan Cooper = $26,908.82
  6. Gareth Murray = $2,474.32

State House District 17 (3 seats)
  1. Kumar Barve (incumbent) = $78,363.07
  2. Andrew Platt = $36,141.02
  3. Laurie Anne Sayles = $22,092.75 or $44,185.50 (Note: There are two reports posted for this account)
  4. Jim Gilchrist (incumbent) = $11,602.65
  5. Susan Hoffman = $11,109.51

State House District 18 (3 seats)
  1. Jeff Waldstreicher (incumbent) = $113,873.00
  2. Rick Kessler = $68,782.37
  3. Al Carr (incumbent) = $42,107.65
  4. Ana Sol Gutierrez (incumbent) = $28,270.44
  5. Liz Matory = $17,435.88
  6. Emily Shetty = $10,463.28
  7. Natali Fani-Gonzalez = Affidavit Filed (under $1,000)

State House District 19 (3 seats)
  1. Bonnie Cullison (incumbent) = $33,395.13
  2. Ben Kramer (incumbent) = $33,174.71
  3. Marice Morales = $15,498.99
  4. Melodye Berry = $152.00
  5. Charlotte Crutchfield = No Committee Exists

State House District 20 (3 seats)
  1. Tom Hucker (incumbent) = $146,904.57 (Note: Also weighing County Council District 5 race)
  2. Jonathan Shurberg = $65,423.79
  3. David Moon = $52,340.84
  4. Will Jawando = $45,916.09
  5. Sheila Hixson (incumbent) = $32,303.96
  6. Will Smith = $28,311.45
  7. Darian Unger = $24,937.19
  8. George Zokle = $15,880.05
  9. D'Juan Hopewell = $8,942.39
  10. Justin Chappell = $38.18
  11. Saschane Stephenson = Affidavit Filed (under $1,000)

State House District 39 (3 seats)
  1. Charles Barkley (incumbent) = $91,538.35
  2. Kirill Reznik (incumbent) = $46,379.65
  3. Shane Robinson (incumbent) = $26,025.53

SOME CONTESTED DEM PRIMARIES OUTSIDE OF MOCO

State House District 12 (3 seats)
  1. Clarence Lam = $60,594.65
  2. Terri Hill = $49,491.08
  3. Nick Stewart = $27,799.69
  4. Eric Ebersole = $17,023.40
  5. Rebecca Dongarra = $9,342.63
  6. Renee McGuirk = $9,011.30
  7. Adam Sachs = $1,291.02
  8. Brian Bailey = $977.35
  9. Michael Gisriel = No Report Filed

State House District 13 (3 seats)
  1. Shane Pendergrass (incumbent) = $111,718.04
  2. Frank Turner (incumbent) = $56,245.78
  3. Janet Siddiqui = $45,233.50
  4. Fred Eiland = Affidavit Filed (under $1,000)

State House District 22 (3 seats)
  1. Anne Healey (incumbent) = $51,046.65
  2. Alonzo Washington (appointed incumbent) = $27,041.00
  3. Rushern Baker IV = $26,542.99
  4. Tawanna Gaines (incumbent) = $16,179.37

State Senate District 26
  1. Anthony Muse (incumbent) = $78,810.25
  2. Brian Woolfolk = $50,117.17
  3. Del. Veronica Turner = $25,249.06

State House District 37A
  1. Rudolph Cane (incumbent): $47,742.40
  2. Wicomico Councilmember Sheree Sample-Hughes = $7,147.04

State House District 40 (3 seats)
  1. Frank Conaway Jr (incumbent) = $33,247.29
  2. Shawn Tarrant (incumbent) = $29,603.91
  3. Barbara Robinson (incumbent) = $20,837.51
  4. Rob LaPin = $7,124.20
  5. Doc Cheatham = $87.00
  6. Quianna Cooke = No Report Filed

State Senate District 42
  1. Jim Brochin (incumbent) = $228,744.52
  2. Connie DeJuliis = $41,745.06

State Senate District 44
  1. Del. Shirley Nathan-Pulliam = $79,983.43
  2. Verna Jones Rodwell (incumbent) - $62,843.00

State House District 45 (3 Seats)
  1. Cheryl Glenn (incumbent) = $52,103.58
  2. Talmadge Branch (incumbent) = $50,473.52
  3. Cory McCray = $40,651.07
  4. Nina Harper (appointed incumbent) = No Report Filed

Monday, January 13, 2014

JUICE: Delaney Polling for Governor?, Van Hollen on Hillary's Hit List, O'Malley for $10/Hr Wage, Updates on Gov Race & More

Below Maryland Juice provides a round-up of news of interest to politicos:

JUICE #1: IS CONGRESSMAN JOHN DELANEY POLLING MARYLAND GOVERNOR & US SENATE RACES? - UPDATE: Maryland Juice received the following anonymous response from a source denying that the poll below involved the U.S. Senate race: "I have it on very good authority that Congressman Delaney has not been polling on Senator Mikulski in any way whatsoever. I'd prefer to not be attributed with this update, but wanted to pass the message along to you based on this morning's post."

Over the last week, Maryland Juice sources and readers have been mentioning a mysterious statewide poll surveying opinion about the 2014 Governor's race and U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski. Notably, the poll appears to weigh the status of Congressman John Delaney in both contests. Below you can see some messages we received on Facebook and Twitter regarding the poll. We received the following :
PATRICK ALLEN: January 5, 2014 - John Delaney push polls began today in an effort for Mr. Delaney to assess his future political aspirations and / or opportunities. Mr. Delaney currently represents the Maryland 6th Congressional District.

The polling is being conducted by Mountain West Research, based in Pocatello, Idaho, using satellite telemarketers located in Armada, Michigan (1-586-625-1581). This firm is generally known as a telemarketing firm and has a number of complaints filed against it.

It is important to note that the pollsters are asking a number of Gubernatorial questions regarding Mr. Delaney as well as a series of negative questions related to Senator Barbara Mikulski.

One can imagine that Mr. Delaney's Republican-styled legislative experience during his first term as a congressman has him a bit worried regarding his chances of re-election.
After Maryland Juice mentioned rumors of the poll on Twitter, , the Executive Director of Maryland's League of Conservation Voters:
KARLA RAETTIG: I can confirm. I was lucky enough to get a call Thursday night. It was pretty interesting.... Just want to clarify that it was clearly Delaney's poll and not a decoy.
Today (excerpt below):
WASHINGTON POST: Is Rep. John K. Delaney (D-Md.) thinking about running for governor of Maryland? There’s at least some circumstantial evidence. A telephone poll has been conducted in recent days that includes the names of Democrats who’ve already announced they’re running for governor — along with that of Delaney, the freshman congressman....

Karla Raettig, executive director of the Maryland League of Conservation Voters, happened to be among those who got called as part of the poll. Raettig said she was interviewed Thursday and surprised to hear one of the choices offered for governor.... Raettig said the poll did not identify its sponsor. It included questions about negative aspects of the candidacies of Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown (D) and Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler (D), Raettig said....

JUICE #2: REP. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN ON HILLARY CLINTON'S HIT LIST? - One of Congress's insider newspapers, The Hill, released an interesting report this week that staff for a perceived betrayal during her 2008 presidential campaign (excerpt below):
THE HILL: A longtime adviser to Hillary Clinton played down the importance of a list drawn up by campaign aides that noted the lawmakers and superdelegates who staffers believed had betrayed the former presidential candidate during the 2008 Democratic primary.

Among those named on the list, and earning the most negative rating from Clinton loyalists under a points system they devised, were Secretary of State John Kerry, the late Edward Kennedy, and a number of other prominent Democrats including Sens. Claire McCaskill (Mo.), Jay Rockefeller (W.Va), Bob Casey (Pa.) and Patrick Leahy (Vt.), and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Md.).... The list, sources tell the authors, was sent to Doug Band, who at the time served as aide de camp to former President Bill Clinton....

JUICE #3: GOV. MARTIN O'MALLEY SUPPORTING $10/HOUR MINIMUM WAGE HIKE IN MARYLAND - that Maryland Governor Martin O'Malley appears to be getting behind a $10 an hour minimum wage increase (excerpt below):
WTOP: Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley is calling for an increase in the state's minimum wage to at least $10 per hour. In an interview Sunday with CNN's "State of the Union", O'Malley said that if the minimum wage had only kept pace with inflation since 1968, it would be a little more than $10 per hour now. He says it would be $20 per hour if the wage had kept pace with productivity....
Correspondingly, O'Malley is now scheduled to speak at an . Progressive Maryland circulated the following event announcement (excerpt below):
PROGRESSIVE MARYLAND:  TUES. Stand with working families, PM, allies, leaders in Annapolis to Rally with Gov. O'Malley to 'Raise the Minimum Wage, Raise Maryland!'

Tuesday, Jan. 14th, 5:45 p.m. at Lawyers Mall, State Circle before the State House, Annapolis
  • Raise the minimum wage to $10.10
  • Index it to the cost of living
  • Boost the pay of tipped workers from 50 to 70% of the prevailing wage
More than 500,000 Maryland workers will get a raise, boosting our state's economy for all.

JUICE #4: DOUG GANSLER CALLS FOR PRESS CONFERENCE AS REPORTS REVEAL MD OFFICIALS WERE WARNED ABOUT OBAMACARE ENROLLMENT PROBLEMS - that Maryland officials were warned for at least a year about potential problems with the state's Obamacare enrollment platform (excerpt below):
WASHINGTON POST: More than a year before Maryland launched its health insurance exchange, senior state officials failed to heed warnings that no one was ultimately accountable for the $170 million project and that the state lacked a plausible plan for how it would be ready by Oct. 1.

Over the following months, as political leaders continued to proclaim that the state’s exchange would be a national model, the system went through three different project managers, the feuding between contractors hired to build the online exchange devolved into lawsuits, and key people quit, including a top information technology official because, as he would later say, the project “was a disaster waiting to happen.”

The repeated warnings culminated days before the launch, with one from contractors testing the Web site that said it was “extremely unstable” and another from an outside consultant that urged state officials not to let residents enroll in health plans because there was “no clear picture” of what would happen when the exchange would turn on.

Within moments of its launch at noon Oct. 1, the Web site crashed in a calamitous debut that was supposed to be a crowning moment for Maryland officials who had embraced President Obama’s Affordable Care Act and pledged to build a state-run exchange that would be unparalleled.

Instead, by the next morning only four people had signed up using the Web site — and amazed that anyone had gotten through the system successfully, state officials contacted each of them to make sure they were real. The site’s problems continue to prevent Marylanders from signing up for health insurance. As of Friday, 20,358 people had selected private plans, and state officials have said they do not expect to come close to their initial goal of 150,000 by the end of March....
In response to The Washington Post expose, Attorney General Doug Gansler's campaign has announced a press conference today:
PRESS RELEASE

Doug Gansler to Hold Press Conference Today, Will Address Revelations About State’s Disastrous Health Exchange Rollout

Silver Spring, MARYLAND – Democratic gubernatorial candidate Attorney General Douglas Gansler and his lieutenant governor candidate Delegate Jolene Ivey will hold a press conference Monday afternoon to address recent revelations in the media about the role of Lt. Governor Anthony Brown in mismanaging the rollout of Maryland’s health exchange.

WHAT:  Press conference with Democratic gubernatorial candidate Doug Gansler and his lieutenant governor candidate Jolene Ivey

WHEN:  Monday, January 13, 2014 at 3 p.m.                

WHERE: Gansler / Ivey Campaign HQ , 1300 Spring Street , Silver Spring, Md.

###

JUICE #5: DOUG GANSLER SAYS EQUALITY MARYLAND TRADED ENDORSEMENT OF ANTHONY BROWN FOR TRANSGENDER NON-DISCRIMINATION BILL - that Attorney General Doug Gansler believes Equality Maryland (an LGBT rights group) traded an endorsement of Lt. Governor Anthony Brown for support for a stalled transgender non-discrimination bill (excerpt below):
WASHINGTON BLADE: Attorney General Doug Gansler told the Washington Blade last week that Equality Maryland “traded” its endorsement of Lieutenant Gov. Anthony Brown for governor for his support of a bill that would ban discrimination against transgender Marylanders.

Gansler told the Blade during a Jan. 10 telephone interview that Brown should “honor” the Equality Maryland endorsement by making the trans rights measure an administration bill as Gov. Martin O’Malley did in 2012 when he designated the same-sex marriage bill a legislative priority.... “That would be sort of putting his money where his mouth is,” said Gansler. “If it’s not an administration bill, I just don’t know....”

JUICE #6: FEMINIST MAJORITY ENDORSES HEATHER MIZEUR FOR GOVERNOR - that Delegate Heather Mizeur has received the endorsement of the Feminist Majority in her bid for Governor (excerpt below):
MS MAGAZINE: The Feminist Majority announced today its support for Del. Heather Mizeur in her bid to become governor of Maryland. Mizeur is an established state leader who fights for women's and human rights, health care access and education. If elected, Mizeur will become Maryland's first woman governor and the first openly gay governor in the nation....

"Maryland has a chance to make history by electing Heather Mizeur," said Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal. "I am extremely impressed with Heather's leadership in the General Assembly. If elected as governor, she will surely win advancements for Maryland's women, working families, young people and members of the LGBT community...."

Mizeur, in addition to Feminist Majority, has been endorsed by EMILY's List, Maryland NOW, National NOW and Women's Campaign Fund.

JUICE #7: MCGEO DISCUSSES UPCOMING ELECTION FOR MONTGOMERY COUNTY DEMOCRATIC CENTRAL COMMITTEE - A Maryland Juice reader flagged the following (the union representing many Montgomery County government employees). In the following piece in MCGEO's latest newsletter, Stewart discusses the forthcoming Democratic Primary race for members of the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee (excerpt below):
BOB STEWART: In May 2013, we joined our brothers and sisters in the  FOP, the IAFF, the Metro-Washington Council of the AFL-CIO, and the Montgomery County Young Democrats in calling for a boycott and picket of the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee’s Spring Ball. Beyond our dissatisfaction with the Committee’s role in eliminating effects bargaining for the County police, we felt that the party had strayed from  core democratic values especially its support for economic fairness and social justice for our most vulnerable citizens.

Fast forward to now, and you can see that our boycott had a tangible effect on the MCDCC and the choices it’s making in moving forward. An article in Bethesda Magazine says that the Committee is trying to produce a “unity slate” to fill upcoming vacancies on the Committee “who are palatable to local labor groups....”

Whether the MCDCC moves back to progressivism remains to be seen, but we are optimistic about these developments. We are happy to see that Dave Kunes, president of the Montgomery County Young Democrats, will likely play a huge role on the Committee. However, if the Committee doesn’t produce a slate that represents our issues we are ready to move forward with our own candidates....

JUICE #8: D29A DELEGATE JOHN WOOD RETIRING  //  PLUS: DEL. STEVE DEBOY RE-CONFIRMS HIS RETIREMENT DECISION - that Democratic Delegate John Wood of District 29A is retiring. The article also notes that Delegate Steve DeBoy has re-confirmed his retirement from the Maryland House of Delegates (excerpt below):
MARYLAND REPORTER:  “I’ve had enough,” Del. Johnny Wood told his colleagues in the legislature last week, confirming he would not seek reelection after seven terms in the House of Delegates.... In a way, it’s the legislature that has moved on over three decades, and left Wood a dinosaur among Democrats. Conservative Democrats were plentiful in the House when Wood arrived the same year as House Speaker Michael Busch. But over the years, the Democrats have moved to the left and Wood has found himself one of the few Democrats voting with Republicans on many fiscal, business and social issues....
Another conservative-leaning Democrat, [Del. Steve DeBoy] has been rumored to be reconsidering that move, but Friday he said he did not know who had started that rumor and he was sticking to his decision to leave the House of Delegates....

JUICE #9: D46 SEN. BILL FERGUSON AND DELEGATES PETE HAMMEN & LUKE CLIPPINGER FORM SLATE WITH BROOKE LIERMAN - Maryland Juice received the following press release announcing that District 46 Democratic state legislators have formed a slate with newcomer Brooke Lierman (a high school classmate of Maryland Juice):
PRESS RELEASE

BROOKE LIERMAN JOINS 46TH DISTRICT DEMOCRATIC TICKET

Brooke Lierman joins Senator Bill Ferguson, Delegates Pete Hammen and Luke Clippinger as a candidate on the 46th District Democratic slate

BALTIMORE – Brooke Lierman, Fell’s Point resident and civil rights attorney, today announced that she is joining the Democratic ticket with incumbent State Senator Bill Ferguson and State Delegates Pete Hammen and Luke Clippinger. Brooke, a mother and community activist, is running as a Democrat.

“As a mother, community activist, and attorney, I have worked in the neighborhoods of our district to build a better City. I'm running for State Delegate to continue that work by making sure that Baltimore families and communities have a strong voice representing them in the State Legislature,” Brooke said. “I know that Bill, Pete and Luke share my commitment to Baltimore communities and families around the 46th District, and I am excited to be on a ticket with them.”

Brooke has been endorsed by former State Senator Perry Sfikas, former State Delegate Carolyn Krysiak, Councilman Ed Reisinger, and Congressman Elijah Cummings (D-Md.).

“I’m thrilled to have Brooke Lierman join the Democratic ticket for the 46th District,” said Senator Ferguson, who has represented the district since 2011. "Since she launched her candidacy, Brooke has worked tirelessly to get to know the voters in our district. She has proven, time and time again, how dedicated she is to our neighbors and all the residents of Baltimore. Pete, Luke and I are thrilled to welcome her to our team.”

Brooke is civil rights attorney with the Baltimore firm Brown, Goldstein and Levy, where she represents low-wage workers and disabled individuals in wage theft and civil rights abuse cases.  Brooke also provides pro bono representation to homeless individuals and to neighborhood groups advocating in front of the Liquor Board to close dangerous bars. She serves on the boards of the Downtown Baltimore Family Alliance, and the Citizens Planning & Housing Association.

Brooke is a resident of the Fell’s Point neighborhood, where she lives with her husband and young son.

The 46th legislative district represents Southeast, South and downtown Baltimore, as well as the Middle Branch neighborhoods. For more information about Brooke and her campaign, visit .
 
# # #

JUICE #10:  REP. CHRIS VAN HOLLEN'S HELP NEEDED TO STOP THE "TRANS-PACIFIC PARTNERSHIP," A SECRET BIG-BUSINESS TRADE DEAL - that President Obama is working with U.S. House Republicans on passing a secret trade deal that aids big businesses over ordinary consumers. Advocates I've spoken to about the "Trans-Pacific Partnership" (aka TPP) indicate that Maryland Congressman Chris Van Hollen is a key figure whose help is needed to stop the TPP. Here's some brief which indicates that Van Hollen is receptive to our outreach to stop the TPP (excerpt below):
HUFFINGTON POST: President Barack Obama's international trade agenda is dead in the water if he doesn't do a better job engaging with Democrats in Congress.... "We want transparency. We want to see what's going on there," House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters. "We have a problem with that."

As a result, many Democrats fear the actual terms of the deal do not reflect traditional Democratic Party policy priorities. "This is a big problem now," said Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), the top Democrat on the House Budget Committee. "There is inadequate engagement on the substance of what will be in an agreement or out of an agreement."

Democrats in the House and Senate have complained for years about the secrecy standards the Obama administration has applied to the TPP, forcing members to jump over hurdles to see negotiation texts, and blocking staffer involvement. In 2012, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) complained that corporate lobbyists were given easy access while his office was being stymied, and even introduced protest legislation requiring more congressional input.

The issue came to a head Thursday in two ways. In one case, Obama's new nominee for China ambassador, Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.), angered his party by introducing fast-track trade legislation backed by the White House. The bill would ease the passage of the TPP and is cosponsored by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.). But most Democrats oppose the bill, and ultimately, Baucus and the administration introduced the legislation without a House Democratic co-sponsor -- a public embarrassment that prompted House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) to declare Obama needs to get his act together on trade policy....

And most Democrats don't think the pending TPP deal addresses numerous labor, environmental and other issues adequately. Like NAFTA, the TPP would empower foreign corporations to directly challenge the laws and regulations of a country before an international tribunal. Under other trade frameworks, like the World Trade Organization treaties, only nations themselves are permitted to bring trade cases before an international arbiter, meaning companies must first win support from a government before attacking a law. Exxon Mobil, Dow Chemical, Eli Lilly and other corporations have used NAFTA to attempt to overturn Canadian regulations regarding offshore oil drilling, fracking, pesticides, drug patents and other issues....

ACT NOW TO STOP THE TPP CORPORATE POWER GRAB: The online mobilization group and has issued the following alert (excerpt below):
CREDO ACTION:  Stop this massive corporate power grab.  The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a terrible "trade" deal being negotiated in secret by the governments of a dozen countries (including ours) colluding with corporate interests.

Under the TPP, more American jobs would be offshored. Internet freedom would be a joke. Developing countries would lose access to lifesaving medicines. Unsafe foods and products could pour into our country. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

Our best shot to stop the TPP is right now. The enactment of the TPP will hinge upon the passage of so-called “fast-track trade authority,” which would allow the president to sign off on the TPP before the American people or Congress ever have a chance to read it. A fast-track bill was introduced in Congress last week. So we need to speak out today....
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