Former Lt. Gov. Steele joins HarVest

Bank sees value in knowledge of government

September 21, 2007|By Jennifer Skalka and Laura Smitherman | Jennifer Skalka and Laura Smitherman,Sun reporters

Former Lt. Gov. Michael S. Steele is joining the board of HarVest Bank of Maryland, a locally owned commercial bank. This is Steele's first corporate board commitment.

Steele, who ran unsuccessfully last year for Maryland's open U.S. Senate seat, is chairman of GOPAC, the Republican political action committee that recruits and trains candidates for office. He is also a partner in LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae LLP, a Washington law firm.

"We are honored and fortunate to have Michael join our team at HarVest Bank of Maryland," said Jack Hollerbach, president and CEO of the financial institution. "As lieutenant governor, he helped us to celebrate our grand opening in late 2004 along with former (Montgomery) County Executive Doug Duncan and Congressman Chris Van Hollen, and he has remained a good friend through our early years of success. As we begin to accelerate our business growth, we anticipate that Michael's extensive contacts and knowledge of the government sector will be very valuable."

With headquarters in Rockville, the bank has locations in north Rockville, Germantown and Bethesda.

Steele said yesterday that he has been traveling all over the country in his work with GOPAC but that his party has "taken a serious hit upside the head, and it's got to recover from that."

He said Republicans have to get back to their political roots of respect for individual rights, and as "responsible stewards of the people's money" and honorable public servants.

"We threw that back in their faces with the Foleys, the Vitters and the Craigs of this world," he said, referring to the congressional sex scandals plaguing the GOP. "People do not like to be disrespected, and I don't blame them."

Florida Rep. Mark Foley resigned following revelations that he had pursued sexual relations with underage House pages. After his phone number turned up on a D.C. madam's call list, Sen. David Vitter of Louisiana admitted to a "very serious sin in my past." Idaho Sen. Larry E. Craig pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct after an undercover police officer at a Minnesota airport alleged that the senator had signaled an interest in a sexual encounter; Craig has denied that he is gay and recently has indicated that he would like to withdraw his plea.

Still, Steele said, recruiting candidates hasn't been as tough as he anticipated. His home state is another story.

"In a bluer state, such as Maryland, it's always tough," said Steele, who lives in Largo.

jennifer.skalka@baltsun.comlaura.smitherman@baltsun.com

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