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Government & Politics

Maryland Power Couples — 2022 Edition

State House dome framed by a heart-shaped ornamental fence
Love is in the air in and around Annapolis. Photo by Danielle E. Gaines.

Back by popular demand — or at least, because we felt like doing it again — here’s our almost annual Valentine’s Day look at the power couples of Maryland politics.

We last did a full listing in 2019. In 2020, we added a few names and included a link to the 2019 list. In 2021, in those dark days when the COVID-19 vaccines were just being rolled out, and when official Annapolis was effectively shut down, we weren’t feeling it.

But even if the pandemic hasn’t left us, why shouldn’t we celebrate romance — and some of our favorite people? So cue your favorite version of the Burt Bacharach/Hal David standard (ours is Dionne Warwick’s): “What the world needs now is love, sweet love.”

Ain’t it the truth?

A few words about how this list was assembled: Pretty randomly.

This is by no means a definitive list. And it tends toward the people who are regular denizens of Annapolis, rather than the broader world of Maryland civic, business, political, community, academic and cultural leadership. Without a doubt, we’ve left some couples off the list who belong there. Those are sins of omission. And our definition of power doesn’t necessarily align with everyone else’s. Feel free to tell us who we missed.

We’re sure ready for another administration in Annapolis. That’s not a political statement — just a recognition that after seven-plus years of the Hogan administration, we could stand some fresh faces in the corridors of power to freshen up our Valentine’s Day list. Of course, governors come and go, but lobbyists are forever.

It’s often said that power is an aphrodisiac. We’ll leave it to those with real power to tell us whether that’s true.

Without further ado, here is our list of Maryland political power couples, 2022 edition, in alphabetical order:

— Former Prince George’s County Councilmember and candidate for lieutenant governor Monique Anderson-Walker and Del. Jay Walker (D)

Bethamy Beam Brinkley, chair of the state Board of Contract Appeals, and David R. Brinkley, secretary of the state Department of Budget and Management

 Kristin Jones Bryce, chief external affairs officer at the University of Maryland Medical System, and Joseph F. Bryce, lobbyist with the Annapolis firm Manis & Canning

Shareese Churchill, press secretary to Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R), and General Services Secretary Ellington E. Churchill Jr.

Michelle Cole, an administrative law judge, and William H. Cole IV, partner in the development firm Margrave Strategies

Monica Whittington Davis, an assistant superintendent of schools in Anne Arundel County, and state Treasurer Dereck E. Davis (D)

Michele Douglas, a partner in Public Policy Partners, an Annapolis lobbying firm, and Laura Howell, executive director of the Maryland Association of Community Services

Erin P. Favazza, director of state government affairs at University of Maryland Global Campus, and John P. Favazza of the lobbying firm Manis Caning & Associates.

— Del. Jessica Feldmark (D-Howard) and Joshua Feldmark, director of community sustainability, Howard County

Camille G. Fesche, a lobbyist with Rifkin Weiner Livingston LLC, and Senate Judicial Proceedings Chair William C. Smith Jr. (D-Montgomery)

Hannah Garagiola, president of Compass Advocacy, the Annapolis lobbying firm, and Robert J. Garagiola, a principal at the firm

Emily Hollis Gontrum, deputy chief of staff at the Maryland comptroller’s office, and John T. Gontrum, executive secretary at the Board of Public Works

Victoria L. Gruber, executive director of the Department of Legislative Services, and Thomas Lewis, development ombudsman for Montgomery County

Ronald M. Gunzburger, a senior adviser to Hogan, and Dana F. Buker, the ombudsman for the state comptroller’s office

— Anne Arundel County Councilmember Jessica Haire (R) and Maryland Republican Party Chair Dirk Haire

Marta D. Harting, a lobbyist at Venable LLP, and Robert R. Neall, who has held just about every job in state government over the years

— Sen. Shelly L. Hettleman (D-Baltimore County) and Jeffrey Hettleman, executive vice president and CFO of Brightview Senior Living, who serves on several boards

— First Lady Yumi Hogan and Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R)

— Prince George’s County Councilmember Jolene Ivey (D) and former Prince George’s State’s Attorney Glenn F. Ivey, a candidate for Congress

Michele L. Jawando, senior vice president of the Omidyar Network, and Montgomery County Councilmember William Jawando (D)

Lisa Harris Jones and Sean Malone, the principals of Harris Jones Malone, the high-profile Baltimore and Annapolis lobbying firm

— Del. Anne R. Kaiser (D-Montgomery) and Nancy C. Lineman, director of advancement initiatives at Montgomery College

— Maryland Chamber of Commerce President Mary Kane and Annapolis lobbyist John Kane, the former chair of the Maryland Republican Party

Sheilah Kast, host of WYPR’s “On the Record,” and state Sen. James C. Rosapepe (D-Prince George’s)

Susan Lawrence, senior government affairs specialist at the University of Maryland Baltimore, and Senate Budget and Taxation Chair Guy J. Guzzone (D-Howard)

— Beth Levine, a partner at KO Public Affairs in Baltimore, and Brian Levine, vice president of government relations at the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce

— Amanda Brown Lierman, executive director of Supermajority, a women’s equality organization, and Kyle Lierman, CEO of Civic Nation, an organization that fosters civic engagement

— Richard S. Madaleno Jr., the chief administrative officer of Montgomery County, and Mark Madaleno Hodge, assistant chief operating officer in the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services

Allison S. Mayer, deputy chief of staff to Hogan and Douglass V. Mayer, the former Hogan spokesman and now a partner at Strategic Partners & Media, an Annapolis consulting firm

Caitlin McDonough, lawyer and lobbyist with the firm Harris Jones Malone, and Del. Benjamin Barnes (D-Prince George’s)

Ashley Meyer, Baltimore County government grants coordinator, and Isaac Meyer, Annapolis lobbyist.

— Baltimore City Councilmember Sharon Greene Middleton (D) and Glenard S. Middleton Sr., executive director, Maryland Council 67 and president of Maryland Public Employees Local 44

Sonia Mora, Montgomery County assistant administrative officer, and Gustavo Torres, executive director of CASA

— Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn J. Mosby (D) and Baltimore City Council President Nick J. Mosby (D)

— Frederick Alderwoman Katie Nash (D), who is also an Annapolis lobbyist, and Josh Bokee, a former Frederick alderman who just stepped down as a regional director of government and regulatory affairs for Comcast to launch a nonprofit group called Connect for Broadband.

Marisa Olszewski, environmental policy manager at the Maryland League of Conservation Voters, and Baltimore County Executive John A. Olszewski Jr. (D)

— Retired Baltimore City District Court Judge and candidate for attorney general Catherine Curran O’Malley (D) and former Gov. Martin J. O’Malley (D)

Maureen Quinn, a member of the state Workers Compensation Commission, and House Environment and Transportation Committee Chair Kumar P. Barve (D-Montgomery)

Sarah Bloom Raskin, nominated by President Biden to be vice chair at the Federal Reserve, and U.S. Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D)

— Maryland Court of Special Appeals Judge Laura S. Ripken and former Orioles great Cal Ripken Jr.

— Maryland Deputy Planning Secretary Sandra B. Schrader and Maryland Health Secretary Dennis R. Schrader

— Del. Emily Shetty (D-Montgomery) and Ash Shetty, Montgomery County’s chief procurement officer

— Michelle Siri, candidate for lieutenant governor and executive director of the Women’s Law Center of Maryland, and Baltimore County District Court Judge Michael Siri

— Maria Harris Tildon, vice president for state and local affairs at Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Medicine, and Charles G. Tildon III, vice president for external affairs at the University of Maryland Medical System

— Ashley Valis, director of community engagement and strategic initiatives at the University of Maryland Baltimore, and James Gillis, deputy commissioner at the Baltimore Police Department

Krish Vignarajah, CEO of the Baltimore-based Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, and Colin O’Mara, president and CEO at the National Wildlife Federation

— Del. Karen Lewis Young (D-Frederick) and state Sen. Ronald N. Young (D-Frederick)

Sam Zwerling, government relations specialist at the Maryland State Education Association, and Josh Kurtz, Maryland executive director for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation (and no relation to Maryland Matters’ Josh Kurtz).


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Maryland Power Couples — 2022 Edition