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Election 2022 Government & Politics

Political notes: Braveboy joining D.C. forum, a new bipartisan index, a new leader at MML, and more

Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha N. Braveboy (D). File photo by Danielle E. Gaines.

Prince George’s County State’s Attorney Aisha Braveboy (D) will participate in a symposium next week in Washington, D.C., featuring nationally known Black activists, community leaders and attorneys.

Braveboy, who ran unopposed in the July primary election en route to winning a second term (she also has no general election opponent), will speak next Wednesday, the second day of The Root Institute 2022 conference focused on social justice,.

Braveboy will join two New York prosecutors – Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D) and Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark (D) – to discuss “Criminal Justice in the post-George Floyd era.”

The symposium’s first day on Tuesday will feature remarks from Georgia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams, actor Courtney B. Vance and civil rights attorney Ben Crump.

The next day will feature well-known activists like Women’s March co-chair Tamika Mallory and the Rev. William Barber II, co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign.

The Root, an online magazine-style publication focused on African American news and culture, began last year to hold public discussions on improving the future of Black America.

Trone, Ruppersberger labeled as bipartisan champions

U.S. Rep. David Trone (D-Md.) received a “90” on a congressional scorecard measuring bipartisanship based on four factors: overall performance, personal actions, communications and commitments.

Trone, who represents the 6th District, received 10 bonus points as an “outstanding common grounder.”

Trone earned the designation as a bipartisan “champion” with the best score in the Maryland federal delegation and one of the highest in the nation, according to the Common Ground Committee.

The highest total a lawmaker could receive is 110 points. All scores at 70 or higher received the champion designation.

The nonprofit, nonpartisan organization launched this scorecard prior to the 2020 election to assess whether elected officials sought consensus with their congressional colleagues. The group said it uses data aggregated from the Lugar Index, GovTrack and Bipartisan Policy Center.

“Marylanders want to see government officials put politics aside to deliver on important issues, and I’m committed to doing just that,” Trone said in a statement. “When Congress puts people over politics, we can accomplish amazing things.”

Bipartisan scores for the remaining Maryland officials are, in descending order:

  • Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D) – 83
  • Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D) – 57 (ranked “well above average”)
  • Sen. Ben Cardin (D) – 34 (ranked “average”)
  • Rep. Anthony Brown (D) – 29 (ranked “average”)
  • Rep. Jamie Raskin (D) – 25 (ranked “average”)
  • Rep. John Sarbanes (D) – 20 (ranked “somewhat below average”)
  • House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D) – 20 (ranked “somewhat below average”)
  • Rep. Andy Harris (R) – 0 (ranked “well below average”)
  • Rep. Kweisi Mfume (D) – 0 (ranked “well below average”)

The two lawmakers from across the country with the highest scores at 104: Reps. Don Bacon (R-Neb.) and Dean Phillips (D-Minn.).

The committee also ranked governors. Gov. Larry Hogan (R) stood in a four-way tie for fourth with a score of 50.

Big league

For the first time in 27 years, the Maryland Municipal League will have a new leader starting Oct. 24.

The league announced Tuesday that Theresa Kuhns won the top spot as CEO following a nationwide search that drew at least 110 applicants.

Kuhns, who currently works as vice president of government affairs for the Southern Maryland Association of Realtors, will replace longtime CEO Scott Hancock, who served in that capacity since 1995.

“Finding the next leader of MML after 27 years of Scott Hancock hand was a daunting task,” Salisbury Mayor Jacob Day, who chaired the search committee, said in a statement. “I am proud and excited that we found a person skilled, passionate and eager to inspire a new era for MML. Theresa will be a marvelous and visionary steward, advocate and leader for Maryland’s municipalities.”

Kuhns will be formally introduced to the league’s membership during this year’s MML fall conference on Oct. 9 in Annapolis.

Kuhns, a resident of Calvert County, will lead the 86-year-old organization that represents 156 municipalities in the state.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to continue the great work of the League to serve as the voice for the 1.5 million Marylanders it represents,” she said. “From our engaged elected leadership to an expert staff in Annapolis, we will continue to lead and share the impact Maryland municipalities have on the quality of life in Maryland.”

Md. lawmakers seek efficiency standards for furnaces

Five Maryland lawmakers have joined dozens of their counterparts from around the country to support a Biden administration proposal that would demand more energy efficiency of gas-powered furnaces. 

The lawmakers wrote to U.S. Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm on Wednesday in support of a proposed rule that would increase the efficiency level of gas furnaces to 95% Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency, a thermal efficiency measure. 

“Outdated, inefficient gas furnaces generate high energy bills that particularly burden lower-income households and emit millions of tons of avoidable climate-harming emissions and other pollutants that harm both the environment and human health,” the state lawmakers wrote. “We agree with the agency’s findings that adopting this efficiency level will help save consumers significant money on their monthly energy bills while also benefiting the planet by reducing emissions.” 

The letter, signed by Dels. Lorig Charkoudian (D-Montgomery), David Fraser-Hidalgo (D-Montgomery), David Moon (D-Montgomery), Sheila Ruth (D-Baltimore County) and Dana Stein (D-Baltimore County), asserts that gas furnaces are second only to water heaters in terms of level of potential impact of emission reductions in household appliances. 

“This proposed standard would cut 373 million metric tons of carbon emissions over 30 years of sales,” they wrote. “The standard also would reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides— which cause asthma attacks, cardiovascular disease, and even premature death—by more than 830,000 tons. Given the administration’s goals around decarbonization and achieving a net-zero economy by 2050, it is important to prioritize completion of these standards.” 

The lawmakers also argued that the proposed standard would reduce household heating costs by almost $500 assuming a 20-year life of a furnace. The letter was organized by leaders of the National Caucus of Environmental Legislators.