Annapolis lobbyist named president of business advocacy group

Kimberly M. Burns to lead Maryland Business for Responsive Government

February 22, 2011|By Gus G. Sentementes, The Baltimore Sun

Maryland Business for Responsive Government, a state business advocacy group with a bipartisan mission and hundreds of members, on Tuesday named an Annapolis lobbyist with nearly 20 years' experience to be its new president.

Kimberly M. Burns, an attorney and lobbyist with Government Affairs Maryland, her father's firm, replaces Robert O.C. "Rocky" Worcester, who had led the group since its formation in 1983.

"It's a broad-based opportunity to utilize my skills for something I strongly believe in and I'm very passionate about," said Burns. "My passion is letting everyone in the world know that Maryland is open for business."

The nonprofit Maryland Business for Responsive Government is not a lobbying entity but rather aims to educate legislators and the corporate community about issues in government that affect state businesses. The group publishes the annual Roll Call, a document that tracks the voting of each legislative member on business matters.

Worcester praised Burns for her "unique set of capabilities" and for her deep understanding of Annapolis. Burns' clients have included a wide range of companies, including Alamo, Kraft, Honeywell and the Discovery Channel.

The co-chairs of MBRG are former Gov. Marvin Mandel, a Democrat, and former ambassador and Maryland gubernatorial candidate Ellen R. Sauerbrey, a Republican. Board members include corporate leaders from energy, banking, real estate, law and consulting firms.

In an interview, Sauerbrey said the organization was known for being Republican-oriented because of the general belief that being pro-business is a Republican value.

But MBRG remains nonpartisan, and Burns is a registered Democrat, Sauerbrey said. "Our business climate is not a Republican or Democrat issue. It's a jobs issue."

In an op-ed page article in The Baltimore Sun last week, Mandel and Sauerbrey decried the "anti-business" agenda in Annapolis during the General Assembly this year. They called for no additional taxes for businesses, for maintaining the minimum wage at its current $7.25 an hour, and for not reinstating the so-called "millionaire's tax" after the income tax surcharge expired last year.

Burns said she also would like to focus on tort reform.

Burns is a former chair of the Anne Arundel County Democratic Party. She quipped that she has lived a bipartisan life for years, with her husband, Michael Burns, who is a former executive director of the Maryland Republican Party and a former state legislator.

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