State Digest

STATE DIGEST

September 08, 2005|By From staff reports

In Maryland

Duncan wants state to review its emergency plans

With Democratic criticism of the federal response to Hurricane Katrina increasing, Montgomery County Executive Douglas M. Duncan asked Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. yesterday to convene a meeting of state and local leaders to update Maryland's emergency response plans.

Duncan, a likely Democratic candidate for governor, said in a letter to Ehrlich that "fundamental assumptions about a timely federal response have now been shattered," and the state's disaster plans must be redrawn.

Shareese DeLeaver, an Ehrlich spokeswoman, said the governor was busy working to help hurricane victims and that Duncan's request will be reviewed later.

"Now is not the time for politics and grandstanding," DeLeaver said. "This letter is a presumptuous, politically motivated, misinformed blathering of a politician, not a leader."

Stephen J. Kearney, director of policy and communication for Baltimore Mayor Martin O'Malley, who is also expected to run for governor, said city officials have been working for years to craft emergency plans and continue that process.

"We met today with regional partners to continue to update our preparedness plans," Kearney said. "Our focus right now is on providing all the help we can to people in need along the Gulf Coast."

Cardin receives backing from Montgomery officials

U.S. Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin, a candidate for U.S. Senate, announced yesterday he has received the endorsements of 25 elected officials from vote-rich Montgomery County.

"Ben's support in Montgomery County is already strong, and that support continues to grow as Montgomery County residents learn more about him," Del. Brian J. Feldman, a Potomac Democrat, said in a statement.

Among those endorsing Cardin yesterday were all eight of the county's Democratic state senators and 13 delegates, according to the Cardin campaign. State Treasurer Nancy K. Kopp is also backing Cardin, and four members of the County Council pledged their support.

In addition to Cardin, other declared Democratic candidates seeking to replace retiring incumbent Paul S. Sarbanes include former NAACP President Kweisi Mfume; Montgomery County resident Lise Van Susteren, a psychiatrist; and socialist A. Robert Kaufman. Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele, a Republican, is considering the race.

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