Members of the Hagerstown-Washington County Chamber of Commerce got a glimpse of politics from a business point of view this morning as three local lawmakers gave them a summary of the recently completed Maryland General Assembly session.
Sen. Don Munson and Dels. Bob McKee and Chris Shank, all Washington County Republicans, responded to questions from the chamber's government affairs committee during its annual post-legislative forum at the Clarion Hotel and Conference Center.
This year, the chamber had a vested interest.
The chamber had partnered with three other entities to hire lobbyist Mike Johansen to press for money for improvements to the Edgewood Drive-Dual Highway intersection, a homeland security grant for the county's communication system, money to upgrade local water and sewer plants, and to protect the county's charitable gaming activities from encroachment by the state. They wanted to know whether their investment paid off.
"The money's well-spent and well-earned," McKee assured them. He noted that a bill offered by Del. Jon Cardin, D-Baltimore County, to have the state regulate gaming activities had died in the House Ways and Means Committee, on which both served. Now, with new election results pending this fall, Washington County's gaming activities "are probably safe for another year and a half before the legislature wants to mess with that again," he said.