Hopkins job could lure a state senator or two

THE POLITICAL GAME

Vice president: Two legislators have been approached about vying for a new university post.

April 16, 2002|By David Nitkin | David Nitkin,SUN STAFF

THE CREATION of a new job within the Johns Hopkins University has two high-profile state senators who are Hopkins employees thinking about applying for the position and forgoing re-election bids.

Sens. Barbara A. Hoffman, the Baltimore Democrat and chairwoman of the Budget and Taxation Committee, and Robert R. Neall, an Anne Arundel County Democrat, confirm they are considering applying for the job of vice president for government, community and public affairs.

The position, which would report to the Hopkins president and coordinate with the chief executive officer of Johns Hopkins Medicine and the president of Johns Hopkins Hospital and Health System, would pay more than $200,000 a year. The ideal candidate, according to a posting on the university Web site, "will have broad experience with federal, state and local public policy issues, preferably those affecting higher education and/or health care."

Hoffman said that she has been contacted by a head-hunter looking to fill the position, and is weighing the option.

"It's attractive because it's challenging," she said. "It's the same skill set you need to be successful here [in the General Assembly]."

An education policy adviser at the Hopkins Center for Talented Youth, Hoffman said she wanted to recover from the 90-day session before focusing on her future. "I don't think when you're tired, you make life decisions," she said.

Neall, too, said he "exchanged phone calls" with the head-hunter.

"I haven't made up my mind yet," Neall said. "It's an option to apply. The job is not mine. They're doing a national search."

Neall is the finance director for Johns Hopkins Hospital, and held a previous job with the university that put him in charge of external affairs. "I know a little something about the job," he said. "I left it to run for county executive."

Neall, who switched parties and became a Democrat two years ago, could face a difficult re-election challenge in a district that traditionally elects Republicans. He conceded that he was thinking hard about his future as his four-year term reaches an end.

"This is the time you make career decisions," he said.

Balto. County boasts bulk of departing Md. delegates

Baltimore County needs the biggest cake to bid farewell to its departing politicians.

In the final moments of the General Assembly session last week, House Speaker Casper R. Taylor Jr. asked members of the House of Delegates who knew they wouldn't be back to rise.

About a dozen lawmakers stood, and nearly half of them represented Baltimore County.

Del. Thomas E. Dewberry, the speaker pro tem from Catonsville, will not seek re-election. He is expected to be appointed by Gov. Parris N. Glendening to a position as a state administrative law judge.

Del. Michael H. Weir, the 78-year-old Democrat from Essex who was first elected to the House in 1974, is retiring. He received a standing ovation on the final day of the session to honor his work on Chesapeake Bay protection (Weir is the vice chairman of the Environmental Matters Committee). He is hoping his son, Michael, wins a bid for his seat.

Del. Donald E. Murphy, a Catonsville Republican, has decided against seeking a third term. Redistricting placed his home in a western Baltimore County district with a majority African-American population. Some believe Murphy could win if he changed party affiliation, but the 41-year-old businessman who has made legalizing medical marijuana use his top priority appears unwilling to do so.

Del. Diane DeCarlo of Essex had announced about a week earlier that she would run in the Democratic primary for the state Senate seat now held by Sen. Michael J. Collins.

Republican Del. James F. Ports Jr., the House minority whip, has said he will run for something else - maybe Congress, maybe county executive, maybe lieutenant governor on Rep. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s ticket.

Other lawmakers also rose, signaling that they are seeking other offices.

Del. Sharon M. Grossfeld, a Montgomery County Democrat, is running for the Senate seat being vacated by Christopher Van Hollen Jr., a Democrat who has set his sights on the 8th Congressional District seat.

Van Hollen faces Mongtomery Del. Mark K. Shriver to be the Democratic nominee to take on Republican Rep. Constance A. Morella in the general election.

In Prince George's County, Democratic Del. Rushern L. Baker III is seeking election as county executive and Del. Darren M. Swain, another Democrat, will run for Senate.

Del. David R. Brinkley, a Frederick County Republican, is considering a run against incumbent Sen. Timothy R. Ferguson, a fellow Republican.

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