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Political Notes: Campaign staff unionize, Embry enters race for delegates, changes at GBC

Photo by Mikhail Nilov from Pexels.

Brandy Brooks, Democratic nominee for Montgomery County General Council, announced this week that she and her staff have signed a contract governing salaries, benefits and working conditions during the campaign. Campaign staff members joined the Campaign Workers Guild, a five-year-old organization that bargains on behalf of workers in campaigns and in political party organizations, consultancies and political action committees.

“I am so thrilled that we were able to work with this dedicated and capable team to agree on a great contract to move forward in solidarity to improve Montgomery County,” said Brooks, a progressive activist and educator making her second run for one to -large seat. “I strongly support the right of my staff and all workers to form a union and I wholeheartedly believe in the duty of employers to recognize this right and to bargain in good faith. I believe that with our amazing team, we are setting an important precedent for well-run, pro-worker campaigns that win elections in a big way.

Tyler Wilkinson, a Campaign Workers Guild representative, said Brooks and his staff are “transforming the industry for future campaign workers. We believe that all workers deserve a union and a voice at the table. These workers raised theirs and won protections, wage increases and better working conditions.

Brooks campaign staffer Frankie Santos Fritz said she and her colleagues are “excited to work for a unionized campaign that shows Maryland candidates how we can support campaigns and movements for justice while doing boldly advance the rights of workers to bargain for dignity and respect. at work. »

Embry enters the District 43 race

Elizabeth Embry, who gained statewide recognition in 2018 as the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, announced a candidacy Thursday to represent District 43 in the House of Delegates.

Embry, special assistant to Attorney General Brian E. Frosh (D), is one of three candidates seeking an open seat in the district.

The district is currently represented by Democratic delegates Curt Anderson, Maggie McIntosh and Regina T. Boyce.

Boyce, who has represented the district since 2019 and lives in the city, has sought re-election to the district.

McIntosh announced his retirement at the end of that term. And the outlines of the neighborhood are likely to change later this year, expanding beyond the city border to include Towson in Baltimore County. If the boundaries are approved, two delegates would be chosen from the city portion of the district and one from the county portion.

Two other townspeople have filed official nomination papers to run in the 43rd Democratic primary: Reginald Benbow filed with the State Board of Elections in September and Logan Endow entered the race in December.

Although she hasn’t officially filed her candidacy, Embry restarted a campaign fundraising committee and began soliciting donations on Thursday.

“District 43 is a community with a tradition of exceptional leadership, service and vision, and if elected, I will be proud to continue that tradition,” she wrote in a letter to supporters Thursday.

Embry’s campaign account, originally opened in 2015 to support an unsuccessful bid for mayor of Baltimore, has remained largely dormant recently. In late November, she gave the campaign $2,500, which was used to pay Nicholas London for political advice. His campaign account keeps $694 in cash.

Endow has had a campaign finance entity open since 2019. He maintains a cash balance of $55,060, much of it — $50,467 — from loans he’s made to the campaign since January 2020.

Benbow opened a campaign finance account last spring. On Thursday, he said he raised $31,800.18, all from individual backers. His campaign has spent just over $8,400 in the past year and is keeping $23,354 in cash.

Boyce’s campaign raised more than $39,000 last year and keeps more than $73,000 in the bank.

Legislative overview to a changing GBC

The Greater Baltimore committee is holding its annual legislative preview virtually Monday morning — two weeks after the start of the legislative session.

Five lawmakers are scheduled to speak: Del. Stephanie M. Smith (D), chair of the Baltimore City House delegation; Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, William C. Smith Jr. (D-Montgomery); Sen. Christopher R. West (R-Baltimore County); Of the. Haven N. Shoemaker Jr. (R-Carroll), the new House Minority Whip; and Del. CT Wilson (D-Charles), the new chairman of the House Economic Affairs Committee. Keiffer J. Mitchell, Legislative Director to Governor Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R), is also on the agenda. Jeff Salkin, host of Maryland Public Television’s “State Circle,” will serve as moderator.

The GBC, a leading regional business and civic group, is about to enter a period of transition: Donald C. Fry, who served as President and CEO for nearly 20 years, will take his retirement June 1. He took over the organization in November 2002, after serving 3½ years as executive vice president and general counsel. He is only the fifth leader of the GBC since the organization was launched in 1955.

Prior to his time at GBC, Fry was a Democratic member of the State Senate and House of Delegates representing Harford County.

“I have enjoyed every minute at GBC and am very proud of our work during my tenure,” Fry said.

Calvin Butler, the executive of Exelon and chairman of the board of GBC, said the board would launch a nationwide search for Fry’s successor, with the aim of having a successor in place when Fry leaves. .