Do-nothing lawmakers duck forum

April 18, 2012
  • Tim Rowland
Tim Rowland

I would have thought this worthy of front page news: Our resident Washington County lawmakers DON’T want to meet  with a local business group to discuss the recent legislative session.

This has to be the first time on record that they’ve missed a chance back home to try to spin three months’ worth of failure and neglect in Annapolis into statesmanship worthy of Winston Churchill.

 Yet there you have it. State Sen. Chris Shank said the delegation doesn’t want to face the Hagerstown Washington/County Chamber of Commerce this year because the organization’s post-legislative wrapup breakfast is “not working.”

And who would know more about not working than Shank, since Washington County’s interests have basically been abandoned since his election to the Senate?

Yeah, can’t trust that chamber: Somebody might bring up that four-letter J-word — as in jobs. Like, why haven’t you helped create any as you said you would during the campaign? Or did some big, invisible factory that no one knows about move in on the outskirts of town?

The delegation’s excuses for ducking the chamber of commerce were as contradictory and nonsensical as a Secret Service agent trying to explain away a Colombian hooker.

Lawmakers said they want to reach more people. So the delegation plans to abandon the chamber function, but attend another forum on the same day — even though  the chamber forum attracted three times as many people last year.

So all right guys, math isn’t my strength, either.

The delegation also said it is concerned because the chamber charges $15 admission for members. But not too concerned, apparently, since they are more than happy to attend a post-legislative forum for the Republican Central Committee where the admission is $25.

At least that explains why budgets give our lawmakers so much trouble.

One other troubling aspect is the sense you get that the lawmakers actually think that chamber members are going to be sorely disappointed at the missed opportunity to see their deified lawmakers in person.

Reality check: You’re the Washington County delegation. Not Lady Gaga. Seeing you perform live and in concert is not at the top of anybody’s bucket list.

And isn’t Shank the one who’s always on Del. John Donoghue’s back for failing to attend public forums? So we’re to think that when Donoghue is a no-show it’s dereliction of duty, but when Shank chickens out, it’s a matter of conscience?

Yeah, on further review, partisan forums probably are a safer bet for this bunch, seeing as how they’ve kind of morphed into a servant of the Tea Party instead of the general public.

The Tea Party won’t care about local jobs or local projects. Its members will just gaze starry-eyed as Del. Neil Parrott wows them with stories about how he carries around his little anti-gay petition like Linus carries around his blanket.

On the other hand, you can’t show up at the chamber and talk about something you didn’t do.

The chamber said it still wants to hold a post-legislative forum, but it’s not sure who should be involved.

That’s easy. Invite all the people the delegation didn’t help this session to talk about all the things the delegation didn’t do.

At least that way, if you’re charging $15 admission, your budget will be balanced for life.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 6997, or via email at

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