Shore Delegation serves legislative wrap-up at Dorchester Chamber breakfast

TAYLORS ISLAND — According to members of the Shore Delegation, the recent Maryland Legislative Session focused a bit too much on fallout from federal changes, but was productive nonetheless.

Sen. Addie Eckardt, and delegates Chris Adams, Sheree Sample-Hughes and Johnny Mautz, offered their thoughts on the session to members of the Dorchester Chamber of Commerce over breakfast Tuesday at Palm Beach Willies.

“We are so close and so dependent to the federal level,” Sen. Eckardt said. “I think that’s a lot of the angst that we experienced at this legislative session with regard to the Democratic leadership, worrying about what’s happening at the federal level.”

Delegate Adams agreed with the senator. “We saw the legislature spend a tremendous amount of time talking about federal issues and what we’re going to do on a state level. I’m highly critical of the amount of time we spent on that,” Delegate Adams said. “All of these bills that passed were all potential issues, not real issues that the state has to deal with. … Here we are as a state spending a lot of time on issues that have almost no bearing on the average Marylander currently, but yet we had no time to spend on issues that would have really helped us.”

Despite the focus on the feds, Dorchester County will benefit from the state budget, Sen. Eckardt said. The county will receive an increase in direct aid as well as education spending. Also, Sen. Eckardt worked with Gov. Hogan to increase transportation spending by 12.7 percent.
Sen. Eckardt said she is also working with the Hogan Administration on another project.

“We’re hoping to secure a biotech company which will be big for Dorchester County,” the senator said.

Dorchester Banner/Bob Zimberoff
From left, Dorchester Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Bill Christopher hands the microphone to State Sen. Addie Eckardt as delegates Chris Adams, Sheree Sample-Hughes, and Johnny Mautz prepare to speak Tuesday morning during the Dorchester Chamber Legislative Wrap-Up at Palm Beach Willies on Taylors Island.

Sen. Eckardt worked on legislation to address blighted properties in the county and City of Cambridge. She also addressed wastewater treatment initiatives and a number of health care issues.

“It was really a very good session,” Sen. Eckardt said. “I think folks have been very pleased.”

Delegate Sample-Hughes said that the state will soon allocate roughly $4 million for the completion of the new North Dorchester High School, in addition to past funding. Also, she said she was pleased with legislation that empowers the state’s attorney general to address issues related to prescription medication and price gouging.

Delegate Mautz said there is a lot of movement and progress in Dorchester County, but this presents a challenge.

“I think one of the biggest challenges for the county is that so much is happening, it’s very hard to comprehend at one time,” Delegate Mautz said while explaining that the county has an ally in the governor. “Gov. Hogan is very invested in rural communities and ours is no exception.”

Delegate Mautz, along with the Shore Delegation and others, helped to establish a task force to bring broadband Internet to rural areas where services are lacking. He said Federal Communications Commission grants are available, but the state has not prioritized seeking those grants in the past. Mr. Mautz said he hopes the statewide task force will help make getting those grants a high priority.
Delegate Adams spoke highly of the Shore Delegation and its advocacy for the Mid-Shore.

“All in all, I think we have a great team,” Delegate Adams said. “We do work very hard for the citizens here in Dorchester County and District 37. I’m proud to be part of this team and look forward to continuing this conversation through the balance of my first term.”

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