AFSCME Council 3 and AFSCME Council 67, which together represent more than 50,000 state, county, municipal, school board, and higher education employees across Maryland, endorsed Del. Brooke E. Lierman (D-Baltimore City) for comptroller Wednesday.
Union leaders and workers cited Lierman’s plan to protect pensions and advocacy for workers during her time in the General Assembly as reasons for their endorsement during a press conference outside of State Center in Baltimore Wednesday afternoon.
Glenard S. Middleton, the executive director of AFSCME Council 67, said at the press conference that Lierman is a “fierce and effective advocate for working families and working people.”
Tia McCoy-Johnson, a longtime state employee who has worked as a fiscal account auditor in the comptroller’s office for the past three years, said she and other state workers have struggled with low pay and poor employee retention throughout the pandemic.
“The pandemic has brought unprecedented financial challenges for our neighbors, and in turn the services we provide are becoming more in demand, challenging our understaffed frontline departments,” McCoy-Johnson said. “Delegate Lierman has the history of effective leadership that we need to help our state recover.”
Lierman said at the press conference that she would use the comptroller’s seat on Maryland’s powerful Board of Public Works to ensure federal relief funding to help workers and close the state’s racial wealth gap.
“We are set to receive more federal dollars than we will have ever seen in our lifetime or we will ever see again, and we have one chance to do it right,” Lierman said. “One chance to ensure our state spends that money transparently and with accountability. One chance to make sure that that product reaches the working people of Maryland, and helps us close the racial wealth divide in this state.”
Lierman, who has also highlighted procurement reform and combating climate change as part of her campaign, said she would ensure that workers have a seat at the table in state spending decisions.
“I believe in the power of government to be a positive force in people’s lives, but that only exists when we pay you what you’re worth and we hire people to do the work,” Lierman said.
Lierman’s only declared Democratic primary opponent is Timothy J. Adams, the first Black mayor of Bowie and the founder, president and CEO of the multimillion-dollar defense contracting firm Systems Application & Technologies. Harford County Executive Barry Glassman remains the lone Republican in the comptroller race.
AFSCME Council 3 and AFSCME Council 67 endorsed former U.S. and Maryland Labor Secretary Tom Perez (D) for governor in October.
“The Comptroller plays a critical role as Maryland’s chief financial officer and one of the members of the Board of Public Works, and there’s no one we trust more in that role than Brooke Lierman” AFSCME Council 3 President Patrick Moran said in a statement. “Recovering from the pandemic will require investing in our public services, and Brooke has an exciting vision for how the Comptroller can support Maryland families.”
The competitive race for comptroller comes after incumbent Peter V.R. Franchot (D), who has handily won reelection since he first took office in 2007, embarked on a gubernatorial bid.