Centrist House Democrats forming Blue Dog group

January 12, 2012|By Michael Dresser, The Baltimore Sun

Centrist Democrats in the House of Delegates have decided to form a group to promote their point of view within the party and weigh in on key issues, a leading member of the group said Thursday.

Del. Mary Dulany-James, a Harford County Democrat, said the groups would probably be called the Blue Dog delegation or caucus -- named after a similarly oriented group of moderate Democrats in Congress.

James said the group could have apotential membership of about 20 members of the Democratic caucus, which has tended to be dominated by more liberal members from Baltimore city and Prinnce George's and Montgomery counties. Among the members she would identify as likely members are Dels. John Bohannon and John Wood of St. Mary's County; Galen Claggett of Frederick County and David Rudolph of Cecil County. All are from swing districts that could swing Republican in a bad year for Democrats.

The Blue Dog group, she said, would be made up of the type of members who tend to be swing votes on crucial issues. She said she hopes the group can be  helpful to Speaker Michael E. Busch, whom she believes is sympathetic to their positions on many issues.

"We tend to be the kind of people who can broker a deal and can negotiate where everyone trusts us," she said. Among the issues the group may take a position on, she said, are proposed increases in the gas tax and transportation priorities.

Dulany-James, a four-term lawmaker and daughter of former Senate Presiident William James, has been a survivor in increasingly Republican Harford. She also represents a section of Cecil County.

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