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McKee, Myers seeking delegation's leadership

October 29, 2003|by LAURA ERNDE

laurae@herald-mail.com

ANNAPOLIS - Two Washington County lawmakers are vying to chair the Western Maryland delegation during the upcoming legislative session.

Republican Delegates Robert A. McKee and LeRoy E. Myers Jr. both want the job being vacated by Del. George C. Edwards, R-Garrett/Allegany.

On Tuesday, Edwards said he would step down as Western Maryland delegation chairman when the legislative session starts in January to allow another Republican to hold a leadership position.

Edwards was elected minority leader of the House Republican Caucus in July.

The majority-Republican Western Maryland delegation, made up of lawmakers from the state's five westernmost counties, meets weekly to take positions on regional issues. The chairperson sets the agenda.

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"I just feel that it's a way to show my leadership, get into the action," said Myers, who purposely tried to keep a low profile after beating Democratic House Speaker Casper R. Taylor Jr. at the polls last year.

Myers and McKee both serve on the House Ways and Means Committee, members of which have been traveling across the state seeking input on the legalization of slots. The committee will visit Western Maryland at 2 p.m. Nov. 5 at Allegany College in Cumberland, Md.

Myers acknowledged he has missed many of the slots meetings, citing vacation and other commitments. Besides, Myers said, he has made up his mind on the issue.

"Being a no vote on slots, what do I have to hear?" he said.

McKee argued that the chair of the Western Maryland delegation should be a supporter of Republican Gov. Robert Ehrlich's key initiative and criticized him for his lack of attendance at the hearings.

"If everybody followed LeRoy's lead, there wouldn't be any people for the public to talk to," McKee said.

The Western Maryland delegation has not scheduled a vote on the chairmanship, but Edwards said it will probably be done after the session begins Jan. 14. Edwards said he will push for a secret ballot.

Edwards declined to say whether he was supporting either Myers or McKee.

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