Tuesday will be the first meeting of the new Talbot County Council. At that meeting the council will vote to determine who will represent us to the Maryland Association of Counties (MACo) and, hence, to the Maryland legislature.
Our current representative serves on the MACo Initiative Committee, a small, pro-active group that determines what legislation MACo will introduce each session to the legislature.
In addition to the MACo Initiative Committee, there are three subcommittees at MACo: Budget & Tax, Education and Land Use and Planning. Our current representative to MACo servedon the Education Sub-committee for 2 years, 2015 and 2016. That small group discusses the legislation and makes a recommendation to the full legislative committee on education matters.
For 2017 & 2018, our current representative was selected to be on Budget & Tax, which is the premier committee to be on. She is currently slated to be the new chair of the committee in 2019; that powerful position, of course, depends upon her being selected by her colleagues on the council to continue representing Talbot County on MACo.
Laura Price is one of a select few that is asked not only to testify, but to testify as part of the MACo panel. The testimony of MACo is critically important because it communicates the concerns of the counties to the legislators on the various committees before whom MACo testifies. Frequently, that testimony results in some modification of legislation, such as in the restoration of some of the highway funds to Talbot County when Ms. Price was invited to serve on the Sponsor panel by State Senator Waugh, which introduced legislation to fix the “Highway User Revenue” legislation.
Talbot County is frequently regarded as a rich rural area; it is important to have a senior representative who serves on influential committees correcting that misperception and effectively voicing the real needs of the citizens of this county.
Ms. Price was nominated in 2014 by MACo officers to serve on their Board of Directors, of which there are only 16 members. I am hopeful that the current council understands the importance to the county of having someone with seniority who is well respected by her colleagues and by members of the Maryland Delegates and Senators representing our interests. I encourage them to vote for her to continue her important role with MACo. Assignments such as this one must be made based on who can have the greatest impact on Talbot County’s interests in Annapolis. It is the only criterion that is valid and respects the best interests of the voters. Seniority matters in committee assignments and influence. We would surely be foolish to replace that experience with a representative with no seniority and no influence, regardless of other qualifications. Ms. Price is the only one on the council who has the seniority and assignments on MACo that will help protect our interests.