With Governor Moore now sworn in and the General Assembly in full swing, DMV Digest is interested to see how Prince George’s County going to fare during the 90-day session. Here are some key things to keep an eye on as the legislative session unfolds.
- Remembering Your Friends: The support candidate Wes Moore received from Angela Alsobrooks and other key PGC officials during last year’s campaign was, by most political observers’ opinions, the reason why he is Governor Wes Moore. While Baltimore City has historically been the largest beneficiary of state support and attention, one would hope that the old expression “dance with the one that brought you” applies here. Keep an eye on the level of education, economic development, and infrastructure funding as a good indicator of whether Alsobrooks’ decision to throw her formidable campaign infrastructure behind Moore early is bearing fruit.
- Powerful Prince Georgians: Prince George’s is now blessed with not one, not two, but three high profile committee chairmanships of some of the most influential committees in the General Assembly. What makes it even more exciting, is those positions are occupied by three of the most capable hands in the county’s delegation. Del. Ben Barnes, Chair of the powerful House Appropriations Committee; Sen. Melony Griffith, Chair of the Senate Finance Committee; and Del. Joseline Pena-Melnyk, leading the Health and Government Operations Committee. This should ensure the interests of Prince George’s County will be looked out for on important matters such as state funding and health care policy.
- Climbing Quickly: In addition to the powerful committee chairs, Prince George’s benefits from having a stable of up-and-coming stars, who are moving up in the House and Senate. Jazz Lewis, 33, was recently named House Majority Whip, the position charged with lining up the votes on critical bills for the Speaker. He also plays an outsized role in coordinating with the Maryland Congressional Delegation. Alonzo Washington, 39, who played a critical role in winning passage of the historic “Kirwan” education funding package, was recently chosen to fill the vacancy in the State Senate left by Paul Pinsky. Malcolm Augustine, 53, is only in his second term as Senator but was recently named Senate Pro Tem, a position that wields authority in setting the Senate’s agenda and reflects his growing clout in Annapolis. Nick Charles, 40, is the Chairman of the House Delegation and recently named Vice-Chairman of the Democratic Caucus. Charles is a dogged champion for Prince George’s who is well liked by colleagues across the ideological spectrum. Julian Ivey, 27, a member of Ivey political royalty, got off to a rocky start with the House leadership last term but has regained his footing and was recently appointed by Speaker Adrienne Jones to the powerful Appropriations Committee. He also played an important role last year in running the successful campaign of his father, Congressman Glenn Ivey.
- Devil in the (Budget) Details: How will the state budget impact Prince George’s County? The “Kirwan” school funding plan that was passed two years ago will mean a great deal of new state funding but also a dramatic increase in the county’s financial commitment to PGCPS. The details of how that all shakes out will be a big test of the county’s clout. Add to that funding for the Blue Line Corridor, UMMS Cancer Center, Bowie State University, and other important projects across the county, and Prince George’s has a lot to gain (or lose) in this year’s budget process.