Washington County lobbying coalition holds reception, trade show in Annapolis

Group met with the Senate president, the House speaker and other lawmakers in leadership positions

February 09, 2012|By ANDREW SCHOTZ |
  • A lobbying coalition from Washington County hosted a reception in Annapolis on Thursday.
By Andrew Schotz, Staff Writer

Washington County’s lobbying coalition talked with top state lawmakers in Annapolis on Thursday, then hosted a reception and trade show for the first time.

It was the coalition’s annual chance to get face time with key decision-makers and spread the word about important local projects and priorities.

In the morning and afternoon, the group met with the Senate president, the House speaker and other lawmakers in leadership positions.

Brien J. Poffenberger, who coordinates the coalition’s activities, said the group shared its 2012 legislative agenda, which includes a road and bridge project near Eastern Boulevard and Robinwood Drive, and a possible multiuse stadium for sports and entertainment.

At the end of the day, the coalition, made up of local government and nonprofit organizations, hosted a reception at the Governor Calvert House near the State House.


There was roast beef and hors d’oeuvres. Knob Hall Winery in Clear Spring served wine, and Palmyra Farm Cheese, which is south of Hagerstown, offered two types of cheddar and two types of Colby.

About 15 booths were set up around the room, with representatives from Hagerstown Community College, Hagerstown Regional Airport, Volvo Powertrain North America, Meritus Health, the University System of Maryland and others.

Poffenberger said the goal of the county’s day of lobbying and networking was “to project a brand.”

In the past, the coalition went out to dinner to cap off the annual lobbying day. This year, a public reception was held, similar to celebratory events other jurisdictions hold regularly in Annapolis.

The cost of the event became an issue last month, when the Washington County Board of Commissioners decided to pull out as a contributing partner in the coalition. Terry Baker, the commissioners’ president, who favored the withdrawal, criticized the $15,000 estimated cost of the reception as “appalling.”

The actual cost turned out to be much lower. Poffenberger said Thursday that the total will be “in the $6,000 range.”

Thursday also was a busy day for other Washington County groups that converged on Annapolis.

A group of Hagerstown Community College students took part in the Maryland Association of Community Colleges’ day of lobbying for state funding.

And about three dozen people from Leadership Washington County got a briefing on PlanMaryland, a statewide planning initiative, and joined the coalition for some of its activities.

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