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Donoghue responds to criticism

February 19, 2004|by GREGORY T. SIMMONS and LAURA ERNDE

gregs@herald-mail.com
laurae@herald-mail.com

State Del. John P. Donoghue on Wednesday responded to criticism that he has not been available at public events, saying he had valid reasons to be absent from two events cited this week by a Hagerstown city official.

At Tuesday night's Hagerstown City Council meeting, Councilman Kristin B. Aleshire said Donoghue should have attended a Saturday fund-raiser for the REACH cold weather shelter in Hagerstown, and should have been present for the county delegation's meeting with the City Council in December.

Donoghue, D-Washington, who is staying in Annapolis during the General Assembly session, said Wednesday he did not attend Saturday's event because he had promised his son he would watch his basketball game.

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"I missed every one of my son's basketball games since the session started," Donoghue said.

When he has a chance to go home during the session, he said, "I'm going to set my priorities and I'm going to do what's right for my family."

Donoghue also said he notified REACH officials of the conflict, and that he is supportive of the group "and they know that."

Donoghue said he missed the December meeting due to a scheduled meeting with Del. Norman H. Conway, D-Eastern Shore, to discuss the University System of Maryland Hagerstown Education Center. He said he also sent a letter to the Hagerstown mayor and council prior to the meeting explaining his absence.

Donoghue said he didn't understand why Aleshire would single him out.

"I think his comments were way out of line," Donoghue said. "I do everything I possibly can. ... Certainly between January and April, that's our time in Annapolis."

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