Glendening hires ex-state senator for lobbying team

September 03, 1995|By From Staff Reports

Gov. Parris N. Glendening, anticipating a difficult legislative session this winter, has decided to hire former state Sen. Catherine I. Riley of Harford County to bolster his legislative lobbying team.

Ms. Riley, a Democrat, served two four-year terms in the House of Delegates and two in the state Senate. During her last term, she chaired the powerful Finance Committee, which had responsibility for legislation involving insurance, banking, racing and other gambling issues, utility regulation and health care.

Bonnie A. Kirkland, the governor's chief legislative lobbyist, said Ms. Riley, 48, will be hired on a four-month contract that will commence before the General Assembly convenes in January and end shortly after adjournment. Ms. Riley's salary is under negotiation, but will be in the $25,000-to-$30,000 range, she said.

"She brings a wealth of legislative and subject matter expertise," Ms. Kirkland said. "She has a former legislator's perspective, which is invaluable. She is very intelligent."

Ms. Riley described herself as "close friends" for 20 years with Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr., a Prince George's County Democrat, and recalled that she entered the legislature in 1975 with another freshman from Allegany County named Casper R. Taylor Jr., now speaker of the House.

Since deciding in 1990 not to seek re-election, Ms. Riley has worked on a contractual basis for the University of Maryland, teaching a course in public policy and assisting in government-related research projects.

Ms. Kirkland said it has not been decided which issues Ms. Riley will be responsible for, although the former senator said she expected to be asked to use her long-standing relationships with members of the House and Senate to build consensus for administration proposals.

But in the waning days of the 1989 session, Ms. Riley caused a furor by bottling up more than 100 House bills in her Finance Committee. The tactic threatened legislation important to the Schaefer administration and various industries, and prompted rival committees to kill the bills of certain senators in retaliation.

In her new capacity, Ms. Riley said she hoped to help Mr. Glendening improve his relationship with the state's more rural counties. In last year's election, the only jurisdictions the governor carried were Baltimore and the populous Washington suburban counties of Montgomery and Prince George's.

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