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Donoghue blames Shank for proposed USM-H cut

March 18, 2009

ANNAPOLIS -- Del. John P. Donoghue on Wednesday criticized Del. Christopher B. Shank, saying Shank's actions are to blame for attempts to cut funding for the University System of Maryland at Hagerstown.

Donoghue, D-Washington, said Shank, R-Washington, spends much of his time grandstanding and working to be re-elected, instead of voting in ways that will help the people of Washington County.

Donoghue cited Shank's repeated votes against the state's budget, saying Shank's requests that the state cut funding leads lawmakers to request that those cuts come from Washington County expenditures.

Donoghue used the same argument last year after a similar attempt to cut USM-H funding.

"It's hard to dignify such rants with a civil response when we are sent to be down here serving Washington County, and I'd prefer to let my record as well as Del. Donoghue's record stand for itself as to how the public evaluates our performances," Shank said of Donoghue's statements.

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Shank and Donoghue have had a tense relationship at least since Robert L. Ehrlich was governor, and their relationship further deteriorated after the 2006 election, when Shank helped an unsuccessful GOP effort to unseat Donoghue. Last year, Shank offered through a Herald-Mail story to "bury the hatchet" with Donoghue.

Shank said Wednesday that it would be better to speak with Del. John L. Bohanan Jr., D-St. Mary's, about why he made a recommendation last year to cut USM-H funding rather to speculate about his motivation. Shank said this year's recommendation to cut USM-H funding was made by the nonpartisan Department of Legislative Services.

"(Bohanan) has made it clear in his statements that the (recommendation) has nothing to do with any paranoid suggestions that Del. Donoghue has put forth," Shank said.

Donoghue said Shank spends much of his time trying to get re-elected and sponsoring bills that get a lot of media attention, but "never go anywhere." He said Shank's antagonism toward Gov. Martin O'Malley also creates problems for Washington County.

"We're supposed to be working for Washington County citizens, not worrying about re-election ... wreaking havoc for Washington County," Donoghue said.

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