Two prominent advocacy groups in Maryland have new leaders.Maryland Working Families, the progressive organization backed by organized labor and connected to the national Working Families Party, has named Jay Hutchins its executive director following the recent departure of founding director Charly Carter to an affiliated group.Carter is moving to Step UP Maryland, which will offer trainings to progressive candidates and potential government leaders.“In the past four years, Maryland Working Families has fought to improve the lives of Maryland families with progressive policies such as a higher minimum wage, earned paid sick leave, pay equity, automatic voter registration, and more,” Carter said in a statement. “Though we’ve made progress, our work is far from finished.”Jay HutchinsCarter has become increasingly critical of the political culture in Annapolis and has argued that the agenda emerging from the legislature ought to be more progressive considering the veto-proof Democratic majorities in the House and Senate. That’s where Step UP Maryland comes in.“We plan to create a pipeline of new and visionary leaders ready to challenge the status quo across Maryland,” she said.Hutchins had been serving as Maryland Working Families’ legislative and policy director. He has worked for the Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO, for the state Department of Labor Licensing and Regulation during the O’Malley administration, and for the Greater Baltimore Committee, among other entities. He also ran unsuccessfully for the House of Delegates in Montgomery County’s District 19, in 2010.“I am excited to lead Maryland Working Families in this essential election year to push for change, and to ensure that we elect candidates to office who will put working families first,” Hutchins said.Coincidentally, Maryland Working Families unveiled seven political endorsements on Tuesday. The group is backing:
Montgomery County Councilman Marc B. Elrich (D) for Montgomery County executive.
Attorney Rob Johnson, who is challenging Sen. Delores Kelley (D) in the Baltimore County-based 10th District.
State Del. Clarence K. Lam (D), who is seeking to replace retiring state Sen. Edward J. Kasemeyer in the Baltimore-Howard District 12.
Del. Angela M. Angel (D), who is seeking an open Senate seat in Prince George’s County’s District 25.
Del. Antonio L. Hayes, who is challenging Sen. Barbara A. Robinson in the Democratic primary in Baltimore City’s District 40.
Incoming state Sen. Jill P. Carter (D), who was just appointed to the District 41 job on an interim basis but is running for a full term this year.
Alethiea McCaskill, a union organizer who is challenging state Sen. Shirley Nathan-Pulliam (D) in the Baltimore-area 44th District.
A new friendMeanwhile, the environmental and smart growth group 1000 Friends of Maryland, whose longtime executive director Dru Schmidt-Perkins departed in November after 19 years on the job, fired her short-serving replacement, John Campagna, and hired Kimberly Golden Brandt as its new leader. Brandt has been with 1000 Friends since 2012.Campagna, who proved to be unpopular with 1000 Friends’ board members, staffers and other environmental leaders, has landed as executive director of Camp McDowell, a camp and conference center run by the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama.Schmidt-Perkins remains affiliated with 1000 Friends in an advisory capacity, with the title of president and CEO emeritus.
Founding Editor Josh Kurtz is a veteran 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 was an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, for eight years, and for eight years was the editor of E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill. For 6 1/2 years Kurtz wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz regularly gives speeches and appears on TV and radio shows to discuss Maryland politics.