Chamber of Commerce Spotlights Majority Leader’s Foe in Newsletter

By Josh Kurtz

Did the Maryland Chamber of Commerce inadvertently and indirectly ‘dis a powerful state senator in an electronic newsletter last week?

The newsletter features a Q&A with chamber member Tim Adams, the CEO of Systems Application and Technologies Inc., a federal and military contractor based in Upper Marlboro.

It’s a pretty basic interview with a successful business leader, emphasizing the importance of promoting minority-owned companies. It also highlights Adams’ work as a disability rights advocate.

Timothy Adams on the day he filed his candidacy papers in Annapolis.

“I believe we need to make sure we have an understanding of what it means to have a diversified community,” Adams says in the interview. “One of the things we have to put at the forefront of our minds is that it is not about the letter of the law—it is about the spirit of the law. We can sometimes say that we are going to make things accessible, but do we really support one’s independence? Do we really work towards their quality of life, or the dignity that everyone deserves? That’s the spirit of the law.”

What the interview does not say is that Adams is a candidate for state Senate – challenging Senate Majority Leader Douglas J.J. Peters (D-Prince George’s) in the Democratic primary.

The oversight isn’t necessarily a big deal. The online newsletter was made to spotlight business leaders.

Still, it’s interesting to note. And if you’re the chamber and you have some key legislation on the table in the last two weeks of the General Assembly session, you maybe don’t want to feature the majority leader’s challenger?

“We have no position on Mr. Adams’ candidacy,” Christine Collins, a chamber spokeswoman, said in an email to Maryland Matters. “Obviously, many candidates for office, and office-holders, have professional jobs as well. We featured him only because SA-Tech is a Maryland Chamber member and a recognized minority-owned business, which fits with our long-planned theme about diversity this month.”

Peters is one of about half a dozen Democratic state senators who face some level of peril in the June 26 primary. His race against Adams is likely to be expensive.

Peters, who is seeking a fourth term, reported $228,000 in his campaign account in mid-January. Fueled in part by $150,000 from his own pocket, Adams reported $113,000 on hand.

Josh Kurtz
Co-founder and Editor Josh Kurtz is the leading chronicler of Maryland politics and government. He began covering the State House in 1995 for The Gazette newspapers, and has been writing about state and local politics ever since. He later became an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, and spent eight years at E&E News, an online subscription-only publisher of news websites covering energy and environmental issues. For seven of those years, he led a staff of 20 reporters at E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill and in national politics. For 6 1/2 years he wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz has given speeches and appeared on TV and radio shows about Maryland politics through the years.



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