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Election 2024 Government & Politics

Notes: News about Executive Nominations panel, new CD-3 candidates, death of a legislative trailblazer and a lobbyist’s scholarship

Maryland Appellate Court Judge Anne K. Albright, the daughter of the late Secretary of State Madeline Albright, is one of two nominees to the Commission on Judicial Disabilities that met with members of the Senate Executive Nominations Committee this week. Photo by Bryan P. Sears

The Senate Executive Nominations Committee Monday night cleared the way to confirmation for more than four dozen appointments — including the daughter of the late U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

Maryland Appellate Judge Anne K. Albright was one of two appointments made by Gov. Wes Moore (D) to the Commission on Judicial Disabilities.

The panel is charged with investigating complaints against judges in Maryland and with disciplining judges.

Albright was appointed in 2022 to what was then known as the Court of Special Appeals by then-Gov. Larry Hogan (R).

The full Senate is expected Friday to take up Albright and the balance of the nominees, which includes the appointment or reappointment of eight district court judges.

‘Behind the scenes’ changes coming to Executive Nominations

Sen. Antonio Hayes (D-Baltimore City), who chairs the Executive Nominations Committee, said he expects some changes to how the committee vets some appointments.

Those changes come following the arrest of Carlos Ayala earlier this month. The Republican former member of the Maryland State Board of Elections resigned his position after being charged earlier this month with crimes related to his alleged involvement in the Jan. 6 storming of the U.S. Capitol by supporters of then-President Donald Trump.

“They may not be as visible publicly as they are behind the scenes,” Hayes said of changes to the vetting process while speaking to reporters recently.

“I think, given the latest news that we’ve had, that there are members that are conscious of that, and they’re going to be probing a little bit more,” he said. “More so behind the scenes, we’re doing due diligence and work to try to make sure that the nominees are representative of the ideals and nonbiased as public officials.”

Senate President Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City) said answering questions about election integrity and Jan. 6 may become litmus tests for elections appointees.

One change that may not yet be on the table is requiring all nominees to give testimony to the Senate Executive Nominations Committee under oath.

Currently, only judicial appointments who appear before the committee are subject to such an oath.

Hayes said the committee may not have the legal authority to require everyone to take the oath before testifying before the committee. He also expressed concerns about the effect it might have on people who volunteer to serve on the state’s numerous boards and commissions.

“One of the great things about here in Maryland, we have such a diversity of thought that represents all of our boards and commissions throughout the state and in most cases with many of our boards and commissions,” said Hayes. “It’s a volunteer opportunity where Marylanders are stepping up and taking on an opportunity to lead. There’s a lot of steps along the way before they even get to the executive nominations committee, where we provide a lot of checks and balances and stuff to make sure that we have the right people.”

Legislative pioneer Rudy Cane dies

Former Del. Rudolph C. Cane (D), the first African-American elected to a legislative seat on the Eastern Shore, died on Jan. 20 in Mesa, Ariz., where he had moved to be closer to his children. He was 89.

Cane spent 16 years in the House, serving from 1999 to 2015. He also served for four years on the Wicomico County Council.

The late Del. Rudolph C. Cane.

“He was a true statesman,” said Del. Sheree Sample-Hughes (D-Lower Shore), who replaced Cane in the House. “Service was a part of who he was.”

That service included three years in the U.S. Army in the 1950’s, where he rose to the rank of sergeant. He joined the Army immediately after graduating from Carter G. Woodson High School in Crisfield.

After the Army, Cane largely worked for state government, but quickly became active in civic affairs on the Lower Shore.

In the legislature, he spent his entire time on what was then known as the House Environmental Matters Committee. He also had a stint as chair of the Legislative Black Caucus.

The list of Cane’s other assignments on state and local boards and commissions was substantial — as was the long list of awards he received.

Cane began dating his future wife, Louella Fitchett Cane, in the 8th grade. They were married from November 1957 until her death in 2009.

Cane is survived by two children, three grandchildren, a brother and a sister.

His funeral will be held 11 a.m. Saturday at St. James United Methodist Church in Westover, with a visitation one hour prior. A visitation will also be held from 6-8 p.m. Friday at the church. Burial will be at Springhill Memory Gardens in Hebron.

In lieu of flowers, the Cane family is asking that charitable donations be made to Shore Up, Inc., a nonprofit service agency on the Lower Shore, in the late delegate’s name.

Two more enter 3rd Congressional District race

Two more candidates — a Democrat and Republican — threw their hats into an already crowded field of contenders vying to succeed Rep. John Sarbanes (D-3rd).

Democrat Michael Coburn, an Annapolis criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor, has joined the fray in the Democratic primary.

Coburn’s entry into the race brings the number of candidates in the Democratic primary to 14: Malcolm Thomas; Abigail Diehl; Juan Dominguez; Sen. Sarah K. Elfreth; Lindsay Donahue; Mark Gosnell; Del. Terri L. Hill; Sen. Clarence K. Lam; Matt Liber; Kristin Nabors; John Morse III; Don Quinn; Del. Mike Rogers; and Stewart Silver.

On the Republican side, Rob Steinberg, an attorney who has lived in Arnold since 2016, also announced his candidacy for the seat.

Steinberg’s announcement brings the number of Republican candidates to five including: Bernie Flowers; Jordan Mayo; Naveed Mian; and John Rea.

The filing deadline is Feb. 9 at 9 p.m.

Bereano and son law scholarship

Annapolis power-lobbyist Bruce Bereano and his son, Prince George’s District Court Judge Byron Bereano, are pledging $1.6 million to endow a scholarship at the University of Baltimore School of Law.

Lobbyist Bruce Bereano attends an event in Annapolis. Photo by Danielle E. Gaines.

The endowed fund will provide $40,000 annually to a law student with a demonstrated financial need. Recipients of the scholarship can be part-time or full-time students. Additionally, they must commit to working in Maryland for at least five years after graduation from the law school.

The elder Bereano is routinely atop the list of reported earnings for state lobbyists.

Judge Bereano graduated from the University of Baltimore School of Law in 1999.

The inaugural recipient is a student from Afghanistan who works in local government. The student, who asked to remain anonymous because of security concerns, plans to continue working in Baltimore after her graduation this year.


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Notes: News about Executive Nominations panel, new CD-3 candidates, death of a legislative trailblazer and a lobbyist’s scholarship