The chief lobbyist for Maryland's boating industry has left his post after 14 years to work as the director of state government relations for Chicago-based National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA).
Mick Blackistone, who served as executive director of the Marine Trades Association of Maryland, is taking over a post in which he is to monitor proposed legislation, regulations and taxes that affect boat manufacturers in 15 key boating states in his new job.
"I have worked closely with the NMMA for over a decade," Mr. Blackistone said in an interview. "I worked with them to defeat the lemon law and years ago I worked with the NMMA to help Maryland put through a noise bill and personal watercraft [jet ski] regulations, to make Maryland ahead of the curve on a lot of these issues," he said.
The 1,600-member national group is made up of boat builders, marine products distributors, marine engine manufacturers and other members, such as state marine trades associations.
The group is targeting state legislators to pass its version of laws regulating noise, the environment, personal watercraft, boater education, boating while intoxicated and outboard motor emissions.
Mr. Blackistone described his biggest accomplishment with Marine Trades as "making the public and private sector aware of the importance of the boating industry to the state . . .."
The Maryland group, which had been losing members as marine businesses struggled to stay afloat, has not yet decided whether it will rehire a full-time executive director, said David A. Morrow, the president. It will hire a new lobbyist for the General Assembly's 90-day session that starts in January, he added.