Maryland power couples, 2023 edition
Yes, we’ve ushered out some Republicans from the list, which we publish annually on Valentine’s Day, now that Gov. Larry Hogan (R) has left office after eight years. And we’ve ushered in a few new Democratic couples, with Democrat Wes Moore moving into Government House.
So say goodbye, for example, to Hogan administration Budget Secretary David Brinkley and his spouse, Presiding Judge of the Maryland State Board of Contract Appeals Bethamy Beam Brinkley, and say hello to Moore administration Budget Secretary Helene Grady and her spouse, Matthew Gallagher, president and CEO of the Goldseker Foundation in Baltimore. But not every Republican has disappeared from this list.
And we subscribe to the theory that there’s a permanent government in Maryland that hangs on no matter who is officially in power. As a result, many holdover names appear here from previous years.
This is by no means a definitive list. We apologize for any glaring omissions. And our definition of power may not line up neatly with everyone else’s.
On this list, our bias leans heavily toward those who spend most of their days in Annapolis — an incestuous town if ever there was one — working for or adjacent to state government. But we try to see beyond the confines of State Circle every now and then.
Who have we left off? Let us know, because the work of assembling the 2024 list begins on Feb. 15.
Now, to our selections:
Wes Moore and Dawn Flythe Moore: This may be the strongest political partnership in the history of Government House. Many recent governors have had formidable, accomplished wives, but none is as experienced in Maryland politics as our new first lady, who came up in the Glendening administration, under the tutelage of former Secretary of State John Willis, made lots of important friendships there, and later worked for then-Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown (D). It’s pretty apparent that Dawn Moore was one of Wes Moore’s main entrees into Maryland politics, and that the Moores plotted his political path together — to evident perfection.
The Moore administration is still in its infancy, but it has already put the spotlight on a number of power couples, beyond the aforementioned Grady and Gallagher. Among them:
Aruna Miller, the lieutenant governor, and David Miller, the state’s second second gentleman — and like his wife, a civil engineer.
Secretary of Commerce Kevin Anderson and Tiffany Anderson, a Prince George’s County Circuit Court judge.
Eric Luedtke, the chief legislative affairs officer, and Montgomery County Councilmember Dawn Luedtke (D).
Natural Resources Secretary Josh Kurtz and Samantha Zwerling, managing director of political and legislative affairs at the Maryland State Education Association.
Fagan Harris, Moore’s chief of staff, and Meryam Bouadjemi, a documentary filmmaker.
The next category of couples we’ve got is elected officials whose partners are elected officials. We could only come up with a few:
U.S. Rep. Glenn Ivey (D) and Prince George’s County Councilmember Jolene Ivey (D). And of course, one of their five sons is an elected official, too — Del. Julian Ivey (D-Prince George’s).
State Sen. Jack Bailey (R-St. Mary’s) and Karin Bailey, chair of the St. Mary’s County Board of Education and chair of the St. Mary’s County Property Tax Assessment Board.
State Sen. Ron Watson (D-Prince George’s) and Prince George’s County Councilmember Ingrid Watson (D).
State Sen. Sarah Elfreth (D-Anne Arundel) and Baltimore City Councilmember Eric Costello (D).
Judges can have powerful mates, too. See Tiffany Anderson, above. Plus:
Court of Special Appeals Judge Laura Ripken and baseball Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr.
Baltimore County District Court Judge Michael Siri and Michelle Daugherty Siri, executive director of the Women’s Law Center of Maryland.
Multiple politicians have powerful significant others. Here are some of these couples, in alphabetical order:
Howard County Executive Calvin Ball (D) and Shani Ball, an operations manager at the University of Maryland Medical System.
House Appropriations Committee Chair Ben Barnes (D-Prince George’s) and Caitlin McDonough, an attorney and lobbyist with the firm Harris Jones & Malone.
House Environment and Transportation Committee Chair Kumar Barve (D-Montgomery) and Maureen Quinn, the acting chair of the State Workers Compensation Commission.
Attorney General Anthony Brown (D) and Karmen Walker Brown, a seasoned government affairs professional.
State Treasurer Dereck Davis (D) and Monique Whittington Davis, assistant superintendent of the Anne Arundel County Public Schools.
Del. Jessica Feldmark (D-Howard) and Joshua Feldmark, director of community sustainability for Howard County government.
Senate President Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City) and Lea Ferguson, chief operating officer at the Baltimore Civic Fund.
Senate Budget and Taxation Committee Chair Guy Guzzone (D-Howard) and Susan Lawrence, senior government affairs specialist at the University of Maryland Baltimore.
U.S. Rep. Andy Harris (R) and Nicole Bues Harris, chair of the Maryland Republican Party.
Montgomery County Councilmember Will Jawando (D) and Michele Lawrence Jawando, senior vice president of the Omidyar Network.
Del. Anne Kaiser (D-Montgomery) and Nancy Lineman, director of advancement initiatives and professor at Montgomery College.
U.S. Rep. Kweisi Mfume (D) and Tiffany McMillan Mfume, a Morgan State University administrator.
Baltimore City Councilmember Sharon Greene Middleton (D) and Glenard S. Middleton Sr., executive director, Maryland Council 67 and president of Maryland Public Employees Local 44.
State Sen. C. Anthony Muse (D-Prince George’s) and Pat Lawson Muse, NBC4 broadcaster.
Frederick City Alderwoman Katie Nash, who’s also a registered Annapolis lobbyist, and Josh Bokee, a former alderman and founder of the nonprofit Connect for Broadband.
Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski (D) and Marisa Olszewski, environmental policy manager for the Maryland League of Conservation Voters.
Sen. James Rosapepe (D-Prince George’s) and Sheilah Kast, host of WYPR’s “On the Record.”
Del. Emily Shetty (D-Montgomery) and Ash Shetty, chief procurement officer for the Montgomery County government.
Senate Judicial Proceedings Committee Chair Will Smith (D-Montgomery) and registered lobbyist Camille Fesche.
We could go on, but let’s face it: Lobbyists really run the show in Annapolis. So we’ve got to give them some Valentine’s Day love, too. And our lobbyist list is headed by partners who lobby:
Erin Appel, senior associate with the firm Capitol Strategies LLC, and Travis Martz, with the law firm Kagan Stern, who continues to lobby for the Maryland Auto Dealers Association.
Erin Favazza, director of state government affairs at University of Maryland Global Campus, and John Favazza of the lobbying firm Manis Caning & Associates.
Hannah Garagiola and Rob Garagiola, partners in life and the machers at Compass Advocacy.
Lisa Harris Jones and Sean Malone, partners in life and the names behind the Baltimore-Annapolis firm Harris Jones & Malone.
Maryland Chamber of Commerce President Mary Kane and John Kane, former state GOP chair now lobbying with his own firm, Aton Strategies LLC.
More lobbyists and their noteworthy mates:
Joe Bryce of the firm Manis Canning & Associates, and Kristen Jones Bryce, senior vice president and chief external affairs officer of the University of Maryland Medical System.
Michele Douglas, a partner with the firm Public Policy Partners, and Laura Howell, executive director of the Maryland Association of Community Services.
Gerard Evans of Evans and Associates and Kathleen Evans, a member of the State Workers Compensation Commission.
Aaron Greenfield, lawyer and State House lobbyist, and Adrea Turner, chief of staff of the Urban Institute and an alumna of the O’Malley administration and Baltimore City government, as well as the Greater Baltimore Committee.
Delora Sanchez Ifekauche, a principal at Cornerstone Government Affairs in Annapolis and Arinze Ifekauche, the communications director for the Baltimore City Department of Health.
Pam Kasemeyer of the firm Schwartz, Metz, Wise & Kauffman, and her husband Ed Kasemeyer. The latter is no longer in the state Senate, but he still chairs the state’s Interagency Commission on School Construction and the Maryland Community Health Resources Commission, among other civic activities.
Leonard Lucchi, a lawyer and lobbyist with O’Malley, Miles, Nylen & Gilmore, and Brenda Lucchi, director of Italian-American Democrats.
Isaac Meyer, senior manager for EDP Renewables, where he handles government relations, and Ashley Meyer, grants coordinator for the Baltimore County government.
And here are several other power couples, from a range of mostly-political categories, in alphabetical order:
Alex Austin, CEO of the Prince George’s County Chamber of Commerce and Candice Austin, director of state government and community affairs for Verizon and a former senior aide to Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks (D).
Bill Cole, a partner at the politically-juiced development firm Margrave Strategies, and Michelle Cole, a state administrative law judge.
Jessica Cook, a field representative for U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D) and Chuck Cook, the former labor organizer who is now vice president of policy and outreachBusiness Network for Offshore Wind.
Diane Croghan, vice president of community engagement and chief of staff at the University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center, and Brady Walker, head of government affairs and strategy for Maryland and Delaware at Ørsted, the wind energy company.
Karen Polet Doory, a Baltimore-based fundraising and political consultant, and Brian Doory, who is wearing a few different hats with Annapolis-based Scarlet Oak Strategies, Firehouse Strategies, a Washington, D.C., firm, and Compass Advocacy in Annapolis.
Bob Ehrlich and Kendel Ehrlich. More than any former governor and first lady, the Ehrlichs are the most politically visible in Maryland — the most likely to hit the rubber chicken circuit, the most likely to seek political office again, and the most likely to land a prominent role in a Republican administration in D.C.
Guy Filippelli, managing partner of Squadra Ventures, a venture capital firm and an ex-Army Intelligence officer who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, and Raina Dieterle, a photographer and digital planner. Both do charitable work.
Tom Fleckenstein, an attorney and longtime power broker in Anne Arundel County, and Kristin Riggin Fleckenstein, the chief of staff for the Maryland Department of Planning.
Vicki Gruber, head of the Department of Legislative Services, and Tom Lewis, a seasoned government hand now serving as development ombudsman for Montgomery County, where he’s heading efforts to redevelop the area around the old White Flint Mall.
Beth Levine, a partner at KO Public Affairs in Baltimore, and Brian Levine, vice president of government relations at the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce.
Rich Madaleno, the chief administrative officer of Montgomery County, and Mark Hodge, a senior administrator for School Health Services at the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services.
Allison Mayer and Doug Mayer. The Hogan administration is no more, but the Mayers remain prominent citizens. Allison Mayer, who had been Hogan’s deputy chief of staff, has just signed on with the firm Womble Bond Dickinson’s Baltimore office as a senior adviser in the capital markets group. Doug Mayer remains in the former governor’s political orbit as a partner in the Annapolis firm Strategic Partners & Media.
Sonia Mora, Montgomery County assistant chief administrative officer, and Gustavo Torres, executive director of CASA.
Major Riddick, an old government hand who runs a lobbying and business and consulting firm and a fast food concessions business at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport, and Manervia Riddick, a business consultant who serves on the Maryland Stadium Authority.
Ross Seidman, senior adviser to Senate President Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City), and Jamie Sexton, director of health insurance regulatory affairs and national partnerships for the Maryland Insurance Administration.
Maria Harris Tildon, the vice president of state and local affairs for Johns Hopkins University and Johns Hopkins Medicine, and Chuck Tildon, vice president of external affairs at the University of Maryland Medical System.
Krish Vignarajah, CEO of the Baltimore-based Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, and Colin O’Mara, president and CEO at the National Wildlife Federation.
Happy Valentine’s Day to one and all!
(Editor’s Note: The Maryland Department of Natural Resources secretary is of no relation to the Maryland Matters reporter by the same name.)