Veterans Affairs head to be named

May 06, 2007|By Jennifer Skalka | Jennifer Skalka,Sun reporter

Gov. Martin O'Malley will announce tomorrow that James A. Adkins, a veteran of the Army and National Guard, will serve as secretary of the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs, according to sources close to the administration.

"While I'm honored to serve Maryland veterans, I'm also fully aware of the responsibility that comes with the job," said Adkins, who worked previously as the department's deputy secretary.

A Cambridge native and resident, Adkins, 52, said he will take over for Secretary George W. Owings III in June. "We'll just do an assessment and build on the successes of the department and look for opportunities to improve," Adkins said.

Adkins has worked for the state for the better part of the last decade, according to biographical information he provided to The Sun. Most recently, he served as deputy of the Maryland Department of Veterans Affairs but also worked as the organization's director of cemetery and memorial programs. From 1997 to 2003, he worked in the Maryland Military Department as chief of staff and in a supervisory role for the Maryland Emergency Management Agency.

He ran unsuccessfully as a Democrat last year for the House of Delegates in District 37.

Adkins said he has a master's degree in history from Washington College and a bachelor's degree in sociology from the State University of New York at Albany.

Last week, O'Malley appointed Luwanda Walker Jenkins as special secretary of the Governor's Office of Minority Affairs, according to a news release. Jenkins, an Owings Mills resident, served for four years as director of the same agency under former Gov. Parris N. Glendening.

Most recently, Jenkins, 45, worked for CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield as manager of community relations, where she oversaw charitable donations in the region. She worked as director of community relations for The Sun from 1997 to 2002.

Jenkins starts May 21 in her new post.

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