As a special legislative panel prepares to interview the four candidates for state treasurer Tuesday evening, Maryland Matters has learned that Del. Benjamin T. Brooks Sr. (D-Baltimore County) attempted to throw his hat in the ring for the job – but missed the deadline for doing so.
The state treasurer position is appointed every four years by the Maryland General Assembly, and the incumbent, Nancy K. Kopp, is seeking a fifth full term.
But it’s not clear if she faces significant opposition. Deeming the application process a personnel matter, the Department of Legislative Services, which collects the applications, won’t release the names of the candidates until just before the public interview process begins at 6 p.m. Tuesday. DLS Executive Director Victoria L. Gruber did say that there were four candidates – and Kopp has been open about wanting another term.
Some members of the Legislative Black Caucus have suggested – some openly, others privately – that Kopp ought to be replaced. They note the absence of an African-American in high state office, other than Lt. Gov. Boyd K. Rutherford (R), and some lawmakers have argued that Kopp hasn’t been aggressive enough opposing Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) and Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot (D) on the Board of Public Works, which doles out large state contracts.
Others have suggested that the BPW hasn’t done enough to promote minority-owned businesses during the state procurement process. The Legislative Black Caucus has spent the last several weeks debating whether to put forward a challenger to Kopp.
With all that in mind, Brooks, an accountant and investment adviser and a Vietnam War veteran, decided to apply for consideration to be treasurer. But he said he was informed that he missed the 5 p.m. deadline on Feb. 5 to submit his application.
“That’s what I was told, so I went with it,” he told Maryland Matters.
Del. Darryl Barnes (D-Prince George’s), chair of the Legislative Black Caucus, said Tuesday that no caucus member has applied for the treasurer job, and he was unaware whether Kopp was facing a significant opponent. He said the caucus would be meeting with Kopp, who has begun reaching out to lawmakers to line up support, on Thursday morning.
A 10-member legislative committee, co-chaired by Senate President Pro Tem Katherine A. Klausmeier (D-Baltimore County) and House Speaker Pro Tem Adrienne A. Jones (D-Baltimore County), will interview the treasurer candidates in the legislature’s Joint Hearing Room Tuesday evening.
Kopp, 75, was elected treasurer in 2002 following the resignation of her predecessor, Richard N. Dixon. She previously represented Montgomery County in the House of Delegates for 27 years.
The legislature is scheduled to select the next treasurer in a joint session on Feb. 19.