- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Maryland lawmakers are considering a proposal by Gov. Martin O’Malley to create a state-level office to prepare for the thousands of new jobs coming as part of the military’s base-realignment program.

More than 45,000 jobs are expected to come to Maryland by 2011, according to a recent report by the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development.

House lawmakers yesterday voted in favor of the proposal, and the Senate is expected to hold a final vote by next week.

Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown would lead the office, which would not be Cabinet-level. However, it would include eight Cabinet-level secretaries, including the secretary of transportation and the state superintendent of schools.

The members would meet every two weeks and produce a statewide planning report by fall, said Samantha Kappalman, a spokeswoman for Mr. Brown.

“The plan they’ll be completing will be an action plan of what we need to do to maintain the quality of life in Maryland and all the areas affected by BRAC,” she said, referring to Base Realignment and Closure.

Members would work with lawmakers, county executives, local-level BRAC coordinators, county executives, the state’s congressional delegation and military officials.

Mrs. Kappalman said members also would discuss 2008 legislative issues with Mr. O’Malley, a Democrat, and fiscal priorities for 2009.

The format would be a different secretary discussing their BRAC-related issues at each meeting, then giving a progress report in later meetings, she said. Members also would make field visits to the Maryland counties affected by BRAC.

The new jobs are coming to Aberdeen Proving Ground in Harford County; Andrews Air Force Base in Prince George’s County; Fort Meade in Anne Arundel County; and the National Naval Medical Center at Bethesda in Montgomery County. County executives in those areas are asking for state and federal aid to prepare such infrastructure as roads and schools.

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