From the New Harford Democratic Club:
MONTHLY MEETING MINUTES
New Harford Democratic Club
Minutes of the January 6, 2016 meeting
~ Meeting called to order by President Steve Johnson a 7:04 p.m.
~ President Johnson led the members in the pledge to the flag.
~ President Johnson announced that the featured speaker for the evening, Attorney General Brian Frosh had taken ill and would not be able to speak tonight. In his place, David Nitken, communications director for the Attorney General’s office will be speaking in his place.
~ Johnson also announced that in addition to Mr. Nitken, Jim Ireton will speak on his plan to run for 1st District congress.
~ Johnson introduced guests, including Pat Folk of the Cecil County Democratic Central Committee, Chuck Cook, Legislative director for the AFL-CIO in Maryland. Members were asked to introduce themselves.
~ Treasurer George Harrison presented the treasurer’s report. He said the operating account has a current balance of $12,429.53. The club ended the year with total income of $4,030.97. Dues accounted for $2,905, miscellaneous contributions of $684 and candidate contributions of $1,350 for the Aberdeen municipal elections. For expenses, rental for the meeting hall, $795, mailing expense, $653.65 and Aberdeen campaign expense of $2,102.41. Net gain for the year, $1,371.49. Johnson asked approval of the minutes. Moved and seconded, with unanimous voice approval.
Committee reports: Fundraising: Wendy Sawyer is working to get a high profile speaker for a fund raising event. She has talked to Congressman Elijah Cummings’s staff and they are aggregable for him to appear, it is a matter of timing considering the needs of congress.
~ Membership: Pamphlet has been printed and will be used a part of the dues renewal mailing in February. Art Helton suggested a separate mailing to appeal to those Harford Democrats who are scored highly by the state party but have not been active with the club or candidate committees. It was moved and seconded to approve an expenditure of no more than $1500 to do a mailer to these “super Dems.” Voice vote unanimous approval.
~ Tracy Robertson, a member of the Central Committee, noted that there is a vacancy on the committee and they are looking for a female to fill the opening. Details are available on the central committee website.
~ Legislative issues: George Harrison noted that the legislature is about to go back into session and we are waiting to determine the upcoming issues. The club will be kept apprised of what we consider important to Harford County.
President Johnson then introduced the night’s main speaker, David Nitken, a former reporter and editor for the Baltimore Sun, and now Director of Communications and policy advisor to Attorney General Brian Frosh.
~ Mr. Nitkin extended the condolences of Mr. Frosh. He said he wanted very much to meet with the club. He had planned to meet with officials at APG and other officials as well and would like to have the opportunity to talk to the club in the future.
He noted that this date makes 0ne year since Mr. Frosh took office. As a result he had prepared a list of eight accomplishments since Mr. Frosh took office.
Guidance document stating that discrimination profiling is not allowed for any activity in government.
Issued detailed analysis showing Maryland’s leadership in supporting same sex marriage.
Top priority in the last session, the false claims act, which deals with fraud in medical claims.
Structured settlements issues, which involves court settlements that are paid out in increments and which have been used to cheat plaintiffs of the full amount.
Health benefits exchange issues involving major fraud by contractors involved in running the exchanges. Investigations have resulted in significant reimbursement to the state.
Removal of the confederate flag from state license tags.
Consumer protection issues, dealing with identity theft, phony charities raising money, none of which went to charity, collection of debt efforts that should not have been collected
Environmental Advocacy. Worked to make sure environmental laws are followed. The Attorney General’s office challenged efforts to reduce standards involving clean water, clean air and other environmental issues.
Commitment to open government, making sure that citizens have access to all the information they need from government in a timely manner. Supported an ombudsman to deal with these issues.
He noted that he believes the AG’s office had a good year and is looking to continue during the next few years.
~ President Johnson then introduced Jim Ireton, Mayor of Salisbury, who has decided to take on Congressman Harris in this year’s congressional elections.
He said there are over 100,000 people in the 1st district who now have health insurance because of Obamacare. And Any Harris has voted yet again to kill the Affordable Care Act. This is why he is driving all over the district from Ocean City Baltimore County, to get his message across and meet as many people as he can. “We cannot let this guy have a pass,” he said. “We need to stop sending people to Washington who just want to make a point, and start sending people to Washington who really make a difference.”
~ Ireland said he is in the process of setting up operations in all parts of the district and is asking to help from Democrats everywhere.
~ Both Ireton and Nitkin were involved in a question and answer session afterward.
~ President Johnson thanked everyone for coming.
~ There being no further issues to discuss, President Johnson adjourned the meeting at 8:29p.
~ Submitted by acting secretary George Harrison