Whatever Happened To ...?

WHATEVER HAPPENED TO ...?

December 09, 2006|By Jacques Kelly

John T. Willis, 60, who served two terms as Gov. Parris N. Glendening's secretary of state, is now teaching undergraduate students the eccentricities of Maryland politics, often as reflected in the state's demographics.

He's on the faculty of the University of Baltimore's School of Public Affairs and does research for the William Donald Schaefer Center for Public Policy. (Willis challenged Schaefer in the Democratic primary for state comptroller four years ago. Willis lost.)

These days, Willis is tying up the ends on a book, Maryland Politics and Government, that he's writing with fellow political science professor Herb Smith.

He said Maryland votes 6 percent to 8 percent more progressive than the rest of the country. He also points out Maryland was the only state in last month's election where the incumbent governor lost. In 2002, while the rest of the country was busy electing Republicans, Maryland voters defeated a Republican member of the House of Representatives (Constance A. Morella) and put Democrat C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger into Republican Robert L. Ehrlich Jr.'s seat.

Willis has been working with grants from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission to recruit and train students as election judges. He also runs the school's government internship program.

Willis, who lives in Charles Village, also has another job: He is associated with the Towson law firm of Bowie & Jensen, where he occasionally handles land-use cases.

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