- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 23, 2014

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Republican Gov.-elect Larry Hogan introduced his health secretary on Tuesday, along with five other cabinet members.

Van Mitchell, who has been working as a lobbyist for Manis Canning and Associates in Annapolis, represented Charles County from 1995 to 2004 as a Democrat in the Maryland House of Delegates. He also served as principal deputy secretary of the state health department during the administration of former Gov. Robert Ehrlich, a Republican.

“He knows the department inside and out,” Hogan said. “He’s a proven manager and leader and he will use his experience to passionately lead one of largest and most complex agencies in the state.”

House Speaker Michael Busch, D-Anne Arundel, said he believed Mitchell was a good choice.

“I think he’s a good pick,” Busch said. “Solid.”

Hogan also announced appointments to three jobs important to the state’s approach to managing pollution in the Chesapeake Bay.

Charlie Evans, a former assistant secretary of the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, will head the agency. Ben Grumbles, the longest-serving assistant administrator for water at the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, will be secretary of the Maryland Department of the Environment. Joe Bartenfelder, a former member of the House of Delegates, will be Maryland’s agriculture secretary.

The nominated appointees require Senate confirmation.

“All three of the nominees have a history and understanding of the issues surrounding the health of local rivers, streams, and the Chesapeake Bay,” said Alison Prost, the Chesapeake Bay Foundation’s Maryland executive director. “The most important question is what the governor-elect will do to direct these individuals to meet the commitments that Maryland has made?”

Hogan also chose Brig. Gen. Linda Singh, a 33-year member of the U.S. Army Reserve, to be the first woman to lead the Maryland Army National Guard. He chose Jimmy Rhee to be special secretary of minority affairs.

Hogan, who takes office Jan. 21, has named roughly half of his cabinet.

Hogan also met with Gov. Martin O’Malley on Tuesday morning. Hogan said they discussed homeland security issues. He declined to mention details.

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