Wednesday, December 18, 2013

JUICE: Mayor Bloomberg Endorses Frosh for AG, John Delaney Obamacare Idea, MD Closer to Wind Power, Valerie Ervin Video

Below Maryland Juice provides a round-up of recent news of interest to politicos:

JUICE #1: NYC MAYOR MICHAEL BLOOMBERG ENDORSES BRIAN FROSH FOR MD ATTORNEY GENERAL - The Washington Post's John Wagner reported this morning that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has endorsed State Senator Brian Frosh for Maryland Attorney General (excerpt below):
WASHINGTON POST: In his bid for Maryland attorney general, Sen. Brian E. Frosh has picked up the endorsement of outgoing New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, a noted national gun-control proponent.

Frosh (D-Montgomery), chairman of the Judicial Proceedings Committee, shepherded legislation introduced by Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) through the Senate this year that subjects handgun purchasers to new fingerprinting and training requirements....

“Reducing gun violence in America is a moral and social imperative,” Bloomberg said in a statement. “No one has done more in Maryland than Brian Frosh to lead the fight against illegal guns and protect citizens from incidents of gun violence....”

JUICE #2: REP. JOHN DELANEY SUGGESTS MARYLAND JOIN FEDERAL HEALTH CARE EXCHANGE INSTEAD OF BUILDING ITS OWN - The Baltimore Sun in an editorial yesterday expressed interest in a proposal from Congressman John Delaney for Maryland to forget about building it's own health care exchange system, and instead adopt the federal Obamacare exchange (excerpt below):
BALTIMORE SUN: Since Gov. Martin O'Malley declared that the state's health insurance exchange website was functional for most users, anecdotal reports have been mixed. Some people report continued problems with frozen screens and other glitches that have bedeviled the site; others say they were finally able to enroll with relative ease.... That said, the pace of enrollments is still far too low....

Under those circumstances, the question raised by Rep. John Delaney, a Montgomery County Democrat, about whether it would be better for Maryland to scrap its effort to build its own exchange and instead join the federal one has merit. Indeed, Gov. Martin O'Malley acknowledged on Monday that the option — and all others — remain on the table.

That's a hard possibility for Governor O'Malley to acknowledge. Under his leadership, Maryland was one of the most aggressive states in the effort to build out its own exchange — a strategic decision that appears in retrospect to have involved no small amount of hubris and political ambition. Walking away now from all that effort and tens of millions in expenditures would be particularly embarrassing....
Both the governor and Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown indicated on Monday that they are open to all options. They need to be. We can't let pride or momentum get in the way of doing whatever it takes to make sure Maryland residents can sign up for health insurance as soon as possible. After all, despite the political overtones, that's what this is about.

JUICE #3: OBAMA HELPS ADVANCE WIND POWER IN MARYLAND - Maryland Juice received the following press release from Environment Maryland this week indicating that President Obama has helped the state move one step closer to harnessing wind energy:

Obama Administration Sets A Major Milestone for Offshore Wind in Maryland

Baltimore, Maryland -- Today, the Obama Administration joined state officials to announce another major milestone for clean, renewable energy in Maryland.  Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell and Governor Martin O’Malley announced the sale of an area off the coast of Maryland suitable for offshore wind development.

The announcement comes in the wake of a bill passed earlier this year that would help finance offshore wind in Maryland.  The bill was a signature issue for Governor O’Malley and strongly supported by a wide range of stakeholders; including environmental advocates and business groups; 

Three additional wind energy areas have been approved – two off the coast of Rhode Island and Massachusetts and one off the coast of Virginia.

The lease sales represent a key element of President Obama’s plan to expand clean renewable energy to meet our nation’s energy and carbon reduction goals. 

“There is tremendous potential for producing clean, pollution-free offshore wind energy off our coast,” concluded Environment Maryland’s Energy Program Director, Rob Sargent.  “Today’s announcement represents another important step forward on clean energy for Maryland and the nation.   It’s a great example of the collaboration between state and federal officials that is necessary for continued progress on reducing pollution.”

"Today’s announcement brings our state one step closer to harnessing the tremendous potential of offshore wind energy off our shores and realizing Maryland's clean energy future,” said Governor O’Malley. “The development of offshore wind will drive economic development in Maryland, create high-quality, family-supporting jobs for Maryland residents and play a major role in reducing emissions and protecting the environment.”

“Responsibly harnessing the power of the wind blowing off our coast is critical for cutting pollution, and repowering America with clean, renewable energy,” said Joanna Diamond, Environment Maryland Director.  “We are thrilled with this progress and look forward to continued action from our officials so that we can start reaping the benefits of offshore wind power.”


JUICE #4: VIDEO FOOTAGE FROM VALERIE ERVIN'S RETIREMENT PRESS CONFERENCE - Maryland Juice was unable to attend the press conference announcing MoCo Councilmember Valerie Ervin's retirement last week. But for those who are interested in what happened and what was said at the event, check out the video below:

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