As legislative sessions go, 2013 isn’t likely to be considered a banner year in many Western Maryland circles. From gun control to an increase in gasoline taxes, the priorities of Annapolis are clearly different from those of the rural counties.
Still, we believe the session was a decent one from the perspective of our local lawmakers, who performed about as well as could be expected in hostile territory.
Over the past several years, however, some of our local lawmakers have used the policies of liberal majorities to rub dirt in the face of General Assembly leaders.
Grandstanding might play with the local partisans, but landing oneself on state leaders’ blacklists does the people of our locale no favors.
This session, lawmakers tempered their rhetoric. That doesn’t mean they have sacrificed their principles — they can speak out and vote their conscience without going out of their way to ridicule the leadership.
(The exception is Del. Neil Parrott, whose serial petitioning of Democratic initiatives appears to be isolating him in the General Assembly.)
And it’s amazing how far civility can go.
After a couple of years of being outside looking in, Washington County was on the receiving end of state grant money that will help demolish the old MELP building, improve the C&O canal visitor experience at Williamsport and move the Antietam Fire Co.
The county also will receive a more equitable share of education funding, and for once the University System of Maryland-Hagerstown funding was not held hostage by out-of-area lawmakers.
Contrary to popular opinion, the price for being a player in Annapolis is not huge: Don’t show up the leadership and don’t cast knee-jerk votes against every issue they bring to the fore. There is no need to sell one’s soul.
We congratulate the delegation’s membership for practicing restraint and in so doing, winning some initiatives for the men, women and children of the district.