Kamenetz to Announce Legislative Priorities
New county executive takes announcement show on the road for the first time in at least two decades.
County Executive Kevin Kamenetz is expected to announce his legislative priorities for what will be the first General Assembly session of his new administration during a morning news conference Tuesday in Annapolis.
This is the first time in 16 years, and possibly longer, that a Baltimore County executive has announced his agenda outside of the county.
Previously, under County Executives Jim Smith and Dutch Ruppersberger, such announcements were affairs held in Towson at the Old Courthouse—a serving of legislative meat and potatoes along with sausage, eggs and coffee for the county's state lawmakers in attendance.
The meetings were as much a social gathering as they were the county executive's attempt to get everyone pulling in the same direction over something as casual as breakfast.
Kamenetz is foregoing the breakfast meeting.
Instead, over the past few weeks the county executive has been meeting individually with legislators from the county's eight legislative districts.
Ellen Kobler, a county spokeswoman who has worked for Ruppersberger, Smith and now Kamenetz, acknowledged the unique nature of holding the news conference outside the county.
"Regarding the venue change, County Executive Kamenetz decided to hold it in Annapolis out of respect for the busy schedules of the delegation," Kobler wrote in an e-mail response to a question.
Kobler said Kamenetz timed his event "to correspond with a Democratic luncheon that was already scheduled."
As for Tuesday's announcement, don't look for too many (or any) bells or whistles on Kamenetz's wish list.
Don Mohler, Kamenetz' main spokesman and chief of staff, said last week that Kamenetz's requests on behalf of the county will be, in a word, "modest."
The primary reason is that Gov. Martin O'Malley and the state's 184 senators and delegates, 29 of whom represent some portion of the county, will have to find a way to deal with a projected structural budget shortfall of nearly $2 billion.
Simply put, it won't do much good to ask for much because the state is nearly broke.
O'Malley said late last year that his upcoming budget will likely contain some painful cuts.