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Beltway lawmakers get top posts

December 12, 2002|by LAURA ERNDE

laurae@herald-mail.com

Most of the power positions in the Maryland House of Delegates will be held by lawmakers from the Baltimore-Washington area when the legislature convenes in January.

Del. Michael E. Busch, the Anne Arundel County Democrat who will replace outgoing House Speaker Casper R. Taylor Jr. of Western Maryland, announced most of his leadership team on Monday.

Southern Maryland lawmaker Del. John F. Wood, D-St. Mary's, was stripped of chairmanship when Busch eliminated his Commerce and Government Matters Committee.

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All the other committee chairs are Democrats from the Baltimore, Montgomery County and Prince George's County areas.

Del. John P. Donoghue, D-Washington, one of two Democrats remaining in Western Maryland after the November election, said Busch has assured him he will have a key leadership position.

"I'm going to want to be at the leadership table and speak up for the rural areas," he said.

Donoghue said power is concentrated around the metropolitan areas because that's where the Democratic voters live.

"That's a political reality. When you look around at the election, that's where the numbers were," he said.

Previously, Donoghue chaired the health insurance subcommittee of the House Economic Matters Committee.

But in a reorganization designed to address the growth and complexity of health issues, Busch has created a new Health and Health Insurance Committee.

Donoghue said he doesn't know if he'll become part of that committee or remain in Economic Matters. Either way, he said he will remain involved in health care legislation.

Donoghue said Busch expects to finalize all committee assignments by the end of the week.

Del. Robert A. McKee, R-Washington, said he expects to stay on the House Ways and Means Committee.

Del. Christopher B. Shank, R-Washington, doesn't know where he will end up because his committee was phased out.

In the Senate, 16 of the 17 Democrats who will serve in positions such as committee chairs and vice chairs come from urban and suburban districts in the Baltimore-Washington corridor.

The exception is Sen. Thomas Middleton, a Charles County farm owner who will be chairman of the Finance Committee.

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