Moore’s military and service Cabinet secretaries confirmed; GOP elections board pick voted down
Two Cabinet-level appointments topped a list of dozens of nominees approved by the Maryland Senate late Friday evening.
The vote is likely the last from the Senate Executive Nominations Committee this General Assembly session.
Among those confirmed were Brig. Gen. Janeen L. Birckhead and Paul Monteiro, Gov. Wes Moore’s picks to lead the state Military and newly-created Service and Civic Innovation Departments.
Birckhead and Monteiro were confirmed unanimously by the full Senate with no debate. Both were nominated by Moore (D) just days before.
Executive Nominations Chair Sen. Pam Beidle (D-Anne Arundel) told her colleagues the slate was “hopefully the last” for the session that ends Monday.
If true, that would leave the Secretary of the Maryland Higher Education Commission as the last cabinet-level position awaiting appointment by Moore.
It would also mean that the nomination of Maria Martinez to the Maryland Stadium Authority will die without a vote. She could not be reappointed to the position by Moore. Committee members had concerns about Martinez’s troubled financial past.
In a separate but related vote, the Senate voted 12-31 along party lines to reject Christine McCloud’s appointment to the Maryland State Board of Elections. McCloud, a Howard County hypnotherapist, was appointed by the Maryland Republican Party to one of two spots reserved for the party.
Sen. Justin Ready (R-Frederick and Carroll) said Democratic lawmakers should defer to Republican party leaders in the case of political selections.
“They couldn’t point to a situation where she was disqualified or any disqualifying information, just that they didn’t care for certain opinions she expressed and they felt like it should be somebody different,” said Ready.
Sen. Jim Rosapepe (D-Prince George’s and Anne Arundel) said the Executive Nominations Committee isn’t legally bound to rubber stamp any appointment.
“I heard the testimony,” said Rosapepe. “I didn’t agree with everything she said. But that is not why I did not support her. Her level of experience with elections is very thin, very thin.”
McCloud’s election experience, by her own account, is limited to working a poll for a Republican candidate in the last election.
Beidle told committee members earlier in the week that McCloud voted in only one primary and four general elections since 2010.