O'Malley Meets, Greets and Retreats
With a month remaining before he is sworn in, Gov.-elect Martin O'Malley (D) is making several overtures in an apparent effort to appear more collegial than the Republican incumbent he defeated.
On Monday, O'Malley and Lt. Gov.-elect Anthony G. Brown (D) are scheduled to huddle behind closed doors in Annapolis with Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert), House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel) and other leaders from both legislative chambers.
O'Malley aides are billing the three-hour meeting as a "retreat" at which lawmakers can talk about their priorities for the upcoming session and talk about ways to worth with the administration. Relations between leaders of the Democrat-led legislature and Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) had soured considerably by the end of his term, with lawmakers grousing that he rarely consulted them and Ehrlich complaining he wasn't shown proper respect.
O'Malley is also in the midst of a listening tour of sorts with county executives from Maryland's largest jurisdictions, another group that had a chilly relationship with Ehrlich.
O'Malley met at his transition headquarters in Baltimore on Thursday with Baltimore County Executive James T. Smith Jr., who also recently hired O'Malley's brother, Peter O'Malley, as his chief of staff.
On Tuesday, the governor-elect is scheduled to welcome Anne Arundel County Executive John R. Leopold and Harford County Executive David R. Craig, both Republicans.
And on Wednesday, two Washington-area Democrats, Prince George's County Executive Jack B. Johnson and Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett will get their turn. Howard County Executive Ken Ulman (D) comes by on Thursday.
These meetings are designed in part, O'Malley aides say, to get a sense of the local leaders' budget priorities for a document O'Malley must submit two days after taking office on Jan. 17.
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