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Broadwater Played Role in Hospital Deal

Rosalind Helderman

At yesterday's press conference announcing a county-state deal to stabilize the Prince George's hospital system, County Executive Jack B. Johnson (D) thanked so many people for their hard work that reporters, lobbyists and others in the back of the room were quietly joking that they had stumbled into the Academy Awards.

But he singled out one man for praise who had not been previously publicly involved with the negotiations: Former State Sen. Tommie Broadwater Jr.

Sure enough, Broadwater, the first African American from Prince George's County elected to the state Senate, attended the conference, standing proudly behind O'Malley and Johnson with other legislative leaders.

"We appreciate your role in all of this. You made all of us listen to you," Johnson told Broadwater at the conference.

What exactly was his role? That is unclear. He reportedly took part in some meetings with state and legislative leaders. In his own words, Broadwater said his role was that of "just a citizen, being there, helping them make sure they advanced."

He noted he's been a patient at the hospital twice, once with heart trouble and once because of colon problems. "I could talk to them from that standpoint," he said.

Broadwater is considered a dean of county politics, and his advice is often sought on all manner of political topics. He has many admirers who respect his ability to bring county leaders together.

Broadwater also has some detractors. They note he owns and operates a strip club--not exactly a natural nexus with health care expertise. And in 1983, he was convicted of food stamp fraud at a supermarket he owned in Fairmount Heights. He spent four months in a federal penitentiary and lost his Senate seat.

By Rosalind Helderman  |  March 7, 2008; 11:44 AM ET
Categories:  Rosalind Helderman  
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