- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Delegate Anthony G. Brown, running mate to Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley in his gubernatorial bid, is quick to tell Maryland voters that he is a Democrat and an Army soldier.

He could have gotten out of deployment to Iraq, Mr. Brown recently told two women at a senior expo in Frederick, “but I went because if I didn’t go, your children and grandchildren would have to go.”

He later that day met a couple whose grandson is a Navy officer who recently returned from deployment. “Bless him for coming back,” said Mr. Brown, 44.

Mr. Brown, the only black man at the top of the Democratic ticket for statewide office this fall, has de-emphasized the role of race in the election.

“It’s not just about the color of your skin, but it is about the content of what you stand for,” he said.

Mr. Brown, who graduated from Harvard Law School one year after U.S. Sen. Barack Obama, an Illinois Democrat and the fifth black person elected to the Senate, also plays up his military experience.

“Military service says a lot about a person’s character and commitment,” he said. “I think it’s well received, but certainly I’m not alone in having served our country in uniform.”

Mr. Brown said he would be qualified to run the state if he was required to take over in an emergency because of “22 years of fairly varied and diverse service” as a soldier, a lawyer and a lawmaker.

The son of a Jamaican father and a Swiss mother, Mr. Brown entered the Army in 1984 and joined the Army Reserve in 1989, eventually moving to the Judge Advocate General’s Corps, where he is now a lieutenant colonel.

He was deployed to Iraq in 2004 and helped deliver humanitarian assistance in the cities of Basra, Fallujah and Kirkuk. Mr. Brown has earned several awards, including the Bronze Star Medal, the O’Malley campaign said.

“It’s going to be very impressive to have a lieutenant governor who served in the military,” said Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, Maryland Democrat.

If Mr. O’Malley and Mr. Brown are elected, Mr. Brown plans to take the lead on health care and higher education.

“Certainly the biggest ticket there is reducing the number of uninsured Marylanders,” Mr. Brown said.

He has proposed to pay for reinsurance pools with money from the Maryland Health Insurance Plan, which has a $110 million surplus.

The pools shift insurance company expenses for high-cost customers to another carrier or the state to reduce the cost of premiums.

However, Kristen Cox, running mate to Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., a Republican seeking re-election, has said that money will be gone soon, and that Mr. O’Malley and Mr. Brown are floating ideas without thinking through them.

“At the Baltimore Jewish Council, she called it election-year hot-dogging,” Mr. Brown said. “If good ideas are hot-dogging, then maybe we need more hot-doggers. But the point is, this governor hasn’t proposed a single idea.”

He also said the number of uninsured Marylanders has increased by about 25 percent since Mr. Ehrlich took office four years ago.

Mr. Ehrlich said he expanded primary care waivers to 30,000 Marylanders and opened 12 federally qualified health centers in Baltimore that focus on drug treatment.

Mr. Ehrlich said Mr. Brown “doesn’t know health care policy, so what [he] says is of no interest to me at all.”

Mr. Brown was elected to the legislature in 1998, after practicing law with Wilmer Cutler and Pickering, in the District, from 1994 to 1998. He switched to the Lanham firm Gibbs & Haller in 1998 and remains an attorney there.

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