Obama: “It's Time for Us to Take Care of Business” • How Larry Hogan Won in Blue Maryland • Capitol Technology University to Expand • Maryland’s Loggers Work to Protect Environment • MGM Resorts College Programs Ready to Launch Careers of Maryland Students


   

November 20 - November 26, 2014

 

President Obama: “It's Time for Us to Take Care of Business” 

By Press Officer
O
ffice of the White House

On November 5, 2014, President Obama addressed the White House press corps to discuss the midterm elections and his next steps forward.

“What stands out to me,” he said, “is that the American people sent a message, one that they’ve sent for several elections now. They expect the people they elect to work as hard as they do. They expect us to focus on their ambitions and not ours. They want us to get the job done.”

“As President, I have a unique responsibility to try and make this town work”

The President said that he has “a unique responsibility” to make Washington work. In that vein, the President will host the Democratic and Republican leadership at the White House this Friday for a meeting to chart a new course forward.

And in a message to all Americans -- both those who voted yesterday and those who didn't -- the President made clear that he hears them:

To everyone who voted, I want you to know that I hear you. To the two-thirds of voters who chose not to participate in the process yesterday, I hear you, too. All of us have to give more Americans a reason to feel like the ground is stable beneath their feet, that the future is secure, that there’s a path for young people to succeed, and that folks here in Washington are concerned about them. So I plan on spending every moment of the next two-plus years doing my job the best I can to keep this country safe and to make sure that more Americans share in its prosperity.

President Obama also noted that while we've made real progress since the financial crisis, we have to do more to ensure that every American can share in our country's prosperity:

We’ve just got to keep at it until every American feels the gains of a growing economy where it matters most, and that's in their own lives.

 Obviously, much of that will take action from Congress. And I’m eager to work with the new Congress to make the next two years as productive as possible. I'm committed to making sure that I measure ideas not by whether they are from Democrats or Republicans, but whether they work for the American people. And that’s not to say that we won’t disagree over some issues that we’re passionate about. We will. Congress will pass some bills I cannot sign. I'm pretty sure I'll take some actions that some in Congress will not like. That’s natural. That's how our democracy works. But we can surely find ways to work together on issues where there’s broad agreement among the American people.

“There's still business on the docket that needs attention this year”

As the President noted, however, there's still work that needs our attention right now -- and detailed three areas in which the Administration and Congress can work together over the next few weeks:

On Ebola: “I’m submitting a request to Congress for funding to ensure that our doctors, scientists, and troops have the resources that they need to combat the spread of Ebola in Africa, and to increase our preparedness for any future cases here at home.”

On ISIL: “I’m going to begin engaging Congress over a new Authorization to Use Military Force against ISIL. The world needs to know we are united behind this effort, and the men and women of our military deserve our clear and unified support.”

On keeping the government open: “Back in September, Congress passed short-term legislation to keep the government open and operating into December. That gives Congress five weeks to pass a budget for the rest of the fiscal year. And I hope that they’ll do it in the same bipartisan, drama-free way they did earlier this year. When our companies are steadily creating jobs -- which they are -- we don’t want to inject any new uncertainty into the world economy and to the American economy.”

“The point is, it's time for us to take care of business. There are things this country has to do that can’t wait another two years or another four years.”

“I'm optimistic about our future”

President Obama concluded his remarks by expressing his optimism about America's future. Making clear that “the United States has big things to do,” the President said that we'll be able to make progress if we do it together:

The truth is I’m optimistic about our future. I have good reason to be. I meet Americans all across the country who are determined, and big-hearted, and ask what they can do, and never give up, and overcome obstacles. And they inspire me every single day. So the fact is I still believe in what I said when I was first elected six years ago last night. For all the maps plastered across our TV screens today, and for all the cynics who say otherwise, I continue to believe we are simply more than just a collection of red and blue states. We are the United States.

And whether it's immigration or climate change, or making sure our kids are going to the best possible schools, to making sure that our communities are creating jobs; whether it's stopping the spread of terror and disease, to opening up doors of opportunity to everybody who’s willing to work hard and take responsibility -- the United States has big things to do. We can and we will make progress if we do it together. And I look forward to the work ahead.

“The United States has big things to do. We can and we will make progress if we do it together."

 

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How Larry Hogan Won in Blue Maryland

        

By Lejla Sarcevic and Max Bennett
Capital News Service

COLLEGE PARK - Republican Larry J. Hogan Jr. pulled off a remarkable electoral triumph Tuesday to defeat Democratic candidate Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown in Maryland’s gubernatorial election.

Pundits and politicians have been left with plenty to discuss as they reflect on a surprising Hogan campaign, and consider the future of the Democratic party.

Despite a fundraising advantage through the general election, including direct donations of about $4 million to the campaign and $1.6 to the Maryland Democratic Party, and a strong political machine, Brown faltered in the final weeks.

Hogan, 58, who chose to take public funding, was limited to $2.6 million, although other groups spent money on his behalf.

Governors’ associations for both parties each spent over $1 million in ad buys, according to state campaign finance filings and a statement from the Republican Governors Association. New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, chairman of the RGA, campaigned for Hogan several times in the final weeks.

“It was a combination of a bad campaign and a bad environment that pretty much did Anthony Brown in. That’s the simple explanation,” said Josh Kurtz, political blogger with Center Maryland.

Hogan is the son of former U.S. Rep. Larry J. Hogan Sr., who represented Maryland’s 5th Congressional District -- now occupied by U.S. House Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer.

The younger Hogan, a successful businessman, campaigned on a promise of being a financial manager for the state.

Hogan’s tax-cutting, pro-business message hit a nerve: Polls leading up to Tuesday’s win showed that the economy and jobs concern Maryland voters the most, followed by taxes, and education.

“That was brilliant, he made it a single-issue campaign,” said Blair Lee IV, a long-time political commentator. “Hogan was able to handcuff him to the O’Malley record.”

By using this strategy, Lee said, Hogan undermined Brown’s message at every step.

“I think there has to be recognition because (Hogan’s) message carried,” said outgoing Attorney General Doug Gansler, whom Brown defeated in the Democratic primary. “The message he brought to voters was the economy was not doing well and the tax burden was part of that.”

Travelling around the state in a large Hogan/Rutherford campaign bus, Hogan told voters he was not a politician, and characterized himself as a Maryland businessman, concerned about O’Malley-era tax hikes. However, politics have been a part of his life since his father’s first run for Congress, when the young Hogan attended rallies and helped his father hand out pamphlets.

“Hogan was driving his bus all over the state,” Gansler said. “If you are holding yourself out there as a leader of the state, you need to go across the state.”

Brown appeared less accessible to media and voters; for example, he did not take questions after several debates, unlike Hogan, who made himself available for a few minutes each time.

Brown’s campaign staff could not be reached for comment on Wednesday.

Hogan is the owner and president of The Hogan Companies, a real estate brokerage firm he started in the mid-1980s that has to date handled over $2 billion in property transactions.

In the administration of Gov. Robert Ehrlich Jr., Hogan served as appointments secretary, a cabinet-level position where he familiarized himself with the ins and outs of Annapolis.

Hogan’s campaign was bolstered by the national political climate, which turned its back on Democrats across the country.

It’s a pattern that has manifested itself in Maryland previously: In 1994, Republican Ellen Sauerbrey came within 6,000 votes of beating Democrat Parris Glendening; and in 2002, a post-9/11 nation rallied around President George W. Bush, and the Maryland electorate handed Ehrlich the governorship.

In 2010, the conservative Tea Party movement surged nationally, but largely bypassed blue Maryland, said Lee. Registered Democrats outnumber Republicans 2-1 in the state.

“They thought they had a mandate to keep taxing because they weren’t hurt in 2010. Now they’ve been punished,” Lee said.

O’Malley’s larger political aspirations also may have played a role in Brown’s disappointing loss.

“His whole campaign for president has been an affront to the people of Maryland,” Lee said. “Every time there was a headline ‘O’Malley is in Iowa,’ ‘O’Malley is in New Hampshire,’ Brown lost a vote.”

But in the last three weeks, O’Malley attended about three dozen events for the Brown/Ulman campaign -- appearing at sign wavings, campaign offices and rallies, according to an official with the governor’s PAC.

“The governor worked hard to elect Lt. Gov. Brown — attending countless events, raising money, and organizing support — and was disappointed with the outcome of the race,” said Lis Smith, spokeswoman for O’Malley’s O’Say Can You See PAC.

Hogan remained confident throughout the campaign, despite the fact that most polls showed Brown holding on to win.

The polls tripped up analysts at Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight site, a polling aggregation blog, which predicted a 10-point Brown win. Hogan won by more than 4 percentage points.

Harry J. Enten, a senior political writer and analyst with FiveThirtyEight, said that political observers were thrown by the result because news organizations stopped polling Maryland with a month to go before the election.

“The  Post and (Sun stopped polling the race in early October,” Enten said.

Enten added that even Wilson Perkins Allen, a Republican-leaning research and polling firm, didn’t see Hogan ahead until the last week.

Hogan endured continuing attack ads from Brown’s camp, most of which sought to paint the GOP challenger as a dangerous social conservative. Hogan refused to take the bait and continued down the fiscal path.

“He was speaking to the No. 1 concern of Maryland voters,” Lee said. “It was not abortion, it was not gun control.”

Maryland Democrats have been left leaderless and someone will need to pick up the pieces, some observers noted.

The field is now wide open and the leadership for the taking. Some pundits have named Comptroller Peter Franchot, Attorney General-elect Brian Frosh, Baltimore Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker III, and Brown’s running mate, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman.“It puts him in an enviable position thinking about four years from now,” he said.

Democratic strongholds are concentrated in Prince George’s and Montgomery counties and Baltimore City, and Brown needed a strong showing in those jurisdictions to carry him over the line.

Despite Brown winning all three, plus Charles County, Delegate Ana Sol Gutierrez, D-Montgomery County, said Montgomery did not live up to its turnout standards.

“We definitely underperformed,” she said.

Gutierrez said Montgomery County’s lower turnout may have determined the outcome of the race.

Brown earned nearly 152,000 votes in the county in 2014, out of 245,636 voters, according to preliminary results.

In 2010, the O’Malley-Brown ticket earned almost 199,000 votes out of 291,873 voters in Montgomery.

Delegate Aisha N. Braveboy, D-Prince George’s County, pointed to a lack of grassroots organization and efforts supporting Brown at the precinct level.

Brown, who lives in Prince George’s County, should have garnered more than the just over 175,000 votes he received, said Braveboy. Early results indicate 207,706 Prince George’s County residents cast their ballots this year.

In the 2010 gubernatorial election, turnout for O’Malley and Brown totaled 203,957 voters in the county out of 231,836 who cast their ballots, according to the State Board of Elections.

Not only was overall voter turnout lower in 2014, but the Democratic gubernatorial ticket’s share of that total also dropped in both Prince George’s and Montgomery counties.

“We should have come out in stronger numbers to support him” this year, Braveboy said.

While turnout for Brown was not what she hoped, Braveboy said, the black community came out strong in the districts where blacks hold a majority of the voting bloc.

“What that tells me is that angry Democrats came out to vote (for Hogan) and a lot of traditional Democrats stayed home,” Lee said.

Hogan garnered 851,366 votes to Brown’s 774,383 statewide this year, according to preliminary data from the Maryland Board of Elections.

On election night, Brown’s stunned supporters watched as returns slowly, then decisively, ran in Hogan’s favor, and then, the crowd began to thin. Brown conceded just after midnight.

"We're in shock," said Devang Shah of the governor's commission on South Asian affairs at Brown’s election night party at Samuel Riggs IV Alumni Center at the University of Maryland. "We took the election for granted. Republicans did not. The only way Democrats can lose in this state is if we don't show up."

--Capital News Service correspondent Daniel Kerry contributed to this report.


 

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Capitol Technology University to Expand

        

By Press Officer
Capital Technology University

Laurel, Md., – Capitol Technology University has announced plans to build a new residence complex on the school's 52 acre campus that will house 300 undergraduate students when completed. The project is a component of Capitol's five-year strategic plan to address the demand for STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education on the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Capitol made the announcement at a groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday, October 22, during which keynote speaker Michael Steele, former Lieutenant governor of Maryland, emphasized the growing importance of education in science, technology, engineering and math.

"From expanding cybersecurity and gaming degree programs to building new dorms here on campus, this university speaks with assurance about its future. And indeed your future is bright," said Steele. "It is bright because Capitol Technology University remains true to its founding -- to nurture the talent of

its young people, to ensure that each generation not only survives academically but thrives professionally."

The new Capitol Technology University residential complex will be built in two phases. The first phase will accommodate 198 students in 50 suites and is expected to be completed for the Fall 2015 semester. The second phase will begin shortly after the first phase is finished and is expected to be completed by Fall 2016, providing housing for an additional 102 students. The residence hall will include kitchens and living rooms in each suite. Common areas will include exercise rooms and study areas.

As part of Capitol's five-year expansion initiative, the school is also planning for the development of an innovation and leadership institute as well as a convocations center and gymnasium complex.

"Capitol is entering a new era to fulfill the increasing need for a workforce educated for the challenges and opportunities of tomorrow," said Dr. Michael Wood, president of Capitol Technology University. "We have a very forward-looking plan for campus development with residence halls, academic buildings and other facilities that will transform Capitol physically as we expand our reach as a provider of higher education."

The Capitol Guarantee

Serving 801 students from 19 states and several foreign countries, Capitol Technology University blends academic excellence with practical learning experiences that prepare students for a range of challenging and competitive careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering, business and mathematics.

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Maryland’s Loggers Work to Protect Environment

     

By Max Bennett
Capital News Service

LOVEVILLE, MARYLAND — Chainsaws, feller-bunchers, skidders, loaders and trucks all work in harmony, creating a buzz in the woods.

Sounds from the saws and heavy machinery echo through the air at a southern Maryland farm where a team of loggers are clear-cutting trees to replant healthier wood.

Robert Beale and a four-man team are working to clear about 80 acres of white and red oak, poplar, maple, gum and beech trees in order to replant loblolly pine that will be ready for harvesting in about 15 to 20 years.

Beale owns Loveville Timberworks LLC, a logging and firewood company in southern Maryland.

“Logging in Maryland is the same as logging anywhere,” said Beale.

But challenges exist.

Beale said Maryland requires permits and bonds to be filed and paid for prior to starting a logging job. Each county controls its own permitting process.

“In another state like Virginia, you get a job, you move onto the job, you call the state foresters and they actually physically come out to the job,” said Beale. “You don’t get a permit.”  Foresters in Virginia come to sites regularly and discuss the property and how to mitigate damage to the environment.

“There’s a lot of red tape over here” in Maryland, he said.  But, he said, it’s just red tape. “There’s no inspection process after you’re done [with a job],” Beale said.

That can be frustrating for loggers who try to do everything right on job sites because the loggers who don’t play by the rules can go unnoticed without site inspections like those in Virginia, said Beale.

“We’re paying that additional cost to do it right and we’re not getting the benefit for it,” said Beale.

Clear-cutting isn’t a typical job for Beale and his crew, however.

“About 90 percent of what I do is a select cut,” said Beale.

A select cut entails going into a mature forest, cutting the mature and damaged trees, which in turn improves the forest by allowing other trees to compete and make new timber for harvesting in 15 to 20 years.

Beale said most of the wood he harvests goes to Amish saw mills in Mechanicsville and Charlotte Hall, while pulpwood goes to Glatfelter in Pennsylvania or pulpwood mills in western Maryland. Some of the pine harvested by Loveville Timberworks goes to Potomac Supplies in Virginia, Beale said.

The wood being harvested on a recent Thursday behind Bowles Farms in Loveville is going to the Amish mills, said Beale.

Beale said when working for a mill, a load of about 80,000 pounds of wood will net about $500 or $550. However, Beale said prices always depend on the type of wood and the board-footage, the standard unit for lumber volume, of the load.

“It’s about 12 to 15 cents per board-foot,” said Beale. “Most loads carry between 3,500 and 4,000 board-feet.”

Logging is subject to supply and demand like any other industry and right now a lot of wood is going to foreign markets.

“A lot of poplar and white oak gets shipped directly to China,” Beale said.

MD/DE Master Logger Program Coordinator Lyle Almond said China, Korea and Japan have always been major importers of American wood.

“The Chinese are lucrative customers for unprocessed timber due to build up of their economy,” said Almond. “It’s sort of like we are with oil from the Middle East.”

Ships get loaded with sea-going containers that are jammed full of raw logs and sent to Chinese plants where the whole log is processed.

“We’re in a good time for selling timber,” Beale said.

The Maryland/Delaware Master Logger Program is an educational program offered through the University of Maryland Extension in which loggers are taught safe practices, proper logging techniques, forest ecology, and the best ways to harvest forests while minimizing damage.

Almond says there are about 116 certified active Master Loggers operating in Maryland, Delaware, Virginia and Pennsylvania and about five people are taking at least one of the four four-hour digital courses in the program.

Active Master Loggers must earn eight continuing education credits every two years to maintain their status through courses or other activities, such as serving on the group’s steering committee, hosting a program promoting forestry and logging, or participation in other events.

Almond said that since loggers spend their days in forests, they tend to have stronger sensitivity and connection to the environment.

“The primary reason for environmental concerns is it’s their livelihood,” said Almond. “They have to make sure the forests stay healthy to produce lumber.”

“We’re seeing more of a push for environmental things,” said Eddie Moore, a Master Logger who owns Forest Friendly Logging Inc. in Willards, Maryland.

For example, loggers are now more aware of endangered species and, Moore said, the Delmarva fox squirrel being removed from the endangered list is reflective of loggers’ growing environmental concerns.

The Maryland Department of Natural Resources website says the “species’ success rests heavily on ... the commitment of loggers … to maintaining a mature forest.”

Moore said environmental concerns and safe practices in logging have increased in the past 15 to 20 years.

Moore was named Logger of the Year in 2013 and was the first to receive the award twice. His first win was in 1990.

Logger of the Year is awarded by the MD/DE Master Logger Program and the Maryland Forests Association (www.mdforests.org) for exemplifying the best management practices in the logging industry.

However, the Logger of the Year will not be named for the first time since 1987 due to a lack of nominations. While Logger of the Year nominations have never flooded the program, no nominations came in for a 2014 Logger of the Year.

“The award is designed to highlight the good work of

the guys who are at least

 doing a good job and anything innovative,” said former MD/DE Master Logger Program Coordinator Nevin Dawson, coordinator of Sustainable Agriculture for the University of Maryland Extension’s College of Agriculture and Natural Resources.

“It’s an oddity on that award this year,” said Bill Cheesman, chairman of the Master Logger Program’s steering committee and forester with Vision Forestry LLC.

The website for the award states self-nomination is encouraged. However, Almond said, most loggers are not likely to self-nominate.

“My understanding is it’s just the nature of logging professionals,” he said. “They’re pretty humble about what they’re doing.”

“Another reason is it’s a very small community,” said Dawson. “A lot of guys who’ve gotten the award in the past are no longer in the industry.” Winners also must not have won the award in the past five years in order to be eligible to win again.

Beale said the active loggers in Maryland are getting older and not many young loggers are cropping up.

“The younger people aren’t taking it up,” said Beale, 41. “Most of the guys are getting into their 60s and 70s and they’re still working but they’re not going to go forever.”

Equipment cost is a barrier for potential new loggers.

Beale said his large pieces of equipment cost about $250,000 and he had five on the job in Loveville.

“It’s not something you can just jump into,” said Beale. “If [a logging business] is not given to you by your parents, it’s hard to get into.”

Beale also said he thinks it’s a changing demographic that isn’t interested in hard, manual labor.

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MGM Resorts College Programs Ready to Launch Careers of Maryland Students

     

By PRESS OFFICER
MGM Resorts International

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD  – MGM National Harbor, LLC, a subsidiary of MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM), announced today that it is currently accepting applications from current students and recent college graduates for the 2015 sessions of MGM Resorts International’s acclaimed Hospitality Internship and Management Associate programs.

MGM Resorts’ Hospitality Internship Program (HIP) is a full-time, paid summer internship for college students entering their junior or senior years. Beginning the first week of June and running for 10 consecutive weeks, students accepted into the HIP Program are embedded with working departments at MGM Resorts or in supporting Corporate Departments. The program also provides a practical curriculum on corporate culture and the expectations of professionals in the working world. The HIP Program provides current college students the opportunity to demonstrate their leadership potential by executing critical projects while taking part in collaborative workshops and classes.

The Management Associate Program (MAP), a 12-month leadership development program for recent college graduates, begins in mid-July and offers a far more in-depth learning experience. Over the course of the year-long program, MAP participants are placed in specific resort or corporate departments, with the same responsibilities and expectations as full-time employees. Upon successful completion of the program, participants are offered an assistant manager or equivalent position and begin their careers as MGM Resorts employees.

Participants in both programs apply for positions in specific departments that correspond with their course of study. Positions are available in a wide range of professional areas, including Advertising and Public Relations, Finance and Accounting, Food and Beverage, Hotel Operations, Human Resources, Interactive and Brand Marketing, and Information Technology.

Established in 1989, MGM Resorts College Programs has launched the careers of many current members of the company’s executive leadership. Many property executives and vice presidents, and the highest ranking executives at five of our resorts – Excalibur, Monte Carlo, Vdara, Delano, and MGM Grand Detroit – are all Management Associate Program alumni.

“MGM Resorts College Programs have served not only as a launching pad for the careers of hundreds of young professionals, but also as a place where we identify and encourage the next generation of company leaders,” said Lorenzo Creighton, MGM National Harbor’s President and Chief Operating Officer. “With an MGM destination resort at National Harbor less than two years away, we encourage career-minded Maryland college students to consider spending some time with our company as an intern or management professional. I’m confident some of our best and brightest who will play a role in our future success are already right here in Prince George’s County.”

MGM Resorts is currently recruiting participants for the 2015 HIP and MAP classes and applications are being accepted for both programs. Prospective applicants can learn more about these exciting opportunities and apply online at http://www.mgmresortscareers.com/college. The application deadline for both programs is November 30, 2014. Successful applicants will be selected and notified by the end of March 2015.

Mr. Creighton added, “The MAP program is a great way to get ahead in your career, especially if you have an eye toward working at our new resort at National Harbor. The 2015 Management Associates class will run through May of 2016, which aligns with the opening of MGM National Harbor later that year. Successful MAP participants will be experienced members of our MGM team and excellent candidates to apply to join the MGM National Harbor team right from the start.

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