Lt. Gov. Ruther­ford stresses devel­op­ment fo­cus

Dorchester Star - - NEWS - By JACK RODGERS [email protected]­pub.com

CAM­BRIDGE — The Mary­land As­so­ci­a­tion of Coun­ties, a non­profit, non­par­ti­san group of elected of­fi­cials from Mary­land’s 23 coun­ties and Bal­ti­more City, hosted Lt. Gov. Boyd Ruther­ford Thursday, Jan. 3, at its in­stal­la­tion of the 2019 board of direc­tors cer­e­mony.

The event was part of MACo’s two-day win­ter con­fer­ence, hosted at the Hy­att Re­gency re­sort.

Ruther­ford thanked lead­er­ship from MACo, say­ing he and Gov. Larry Ho­gan val­ued the or­ga­ni­za­tion greatly as part­ners.

“Mary­land As­so­ci­a­tion of Coun­ties has been an am­i­ca­ble part­ner with our ad­min­is­tra­tion,” Ruther­ford said. “We will con­tinue to do ev­ery­thing that we can to fos­ter that part­ner­ship.”

Ruther­ford spoke briefly on the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s fo­cus from the pre­vi­ous four years and the ar­eas staff planned to fo­cus on for the up­com­ing term.

“Over the last four years, you all know, our pri­mary fo­cus has been on eco­nomic devel­op­ment, grow­ing our pri­vate sec­tor and cre­at­ing more jobs in our state,” Ruther­ford said. “It prob­a­bly won’t sur­prise you, or any­one in this room, that’s ex­actly what we’ve been do­ing, and we ex­pect to con­tinue that over the next four years, as well.”

Ruther­ford said ear­lier Thursday, he and Ho­gan had an­nounced a “plan for even more growth and eco­nomic devel­op­ment, job cre­ation,” in ar­eas of the state that needed it most. Ruther­ford said he was look­ing for­ward to chair­ing a newly an­nounced task force, fo­cused on bol­ster­ing the state’s op­por­tu­nity zones.

“By do­ing more to take ad­van­tage of the fed­eral govern­ment’s op­por­tu­nity to im­prove, I’m look­ing for­ward to chair­ing the just-an­nounced Mary­land Op­por­tu­nity Zone Lead­er­ship Task­force, which will bring to­gether state and lo­cal stake­hold­ers in both the pri­vate and pub­lic sec­tors to iden­tify goals for our op­por­tu­nity zones,” Ruther­ford said.

Ruther­ford said the task force will be as­signed to brains­torm in­cen­tives for op­por­tu­nity zones, along with cre­at­ing a way of bet­ter col­lab­o­rat­ing with MACo, for bet­ter in­vest­ment in the zones, he said.

“Just a re­minder, ev­ery ju­ris­dic­tion has at least one op­por­tu­nity zone. Many ju­ris­dic­tions — most — have more than one,” Ruther­ford said. “Ad­di­tion­ally in this up­com­ing ses­sion, we will be propos­ing leg­is­la­tion to ex­pand our More Jobs for Mary­lan­ders Act, and we will be pro­vid­ing fund­ing to es­tab­lish Op­por­tu­nity Works, an ex­cit­ing work­force devel­op­ment and job train­ing pro­gram, specif­i­cally for the busi­nesses in the op­por­tu­nity zones.”

Ruther­ford said he and Ho­gan looked for­ward to con­tin­u­ing the re­la­tion­ship be­tween MACo and the ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“No ad­min­is­tra­tion can be af­fec­tive in gov­ern­ing this state with­out the strong part­ner­ship be­tween state and all of our lo­cal part­ners,” Ruther­ford said. “You have my com­mit­ment that un­der our ad­min­is­tra­tion ... We will con­tinue to fight on be­half of you and your cit­i­zens ev­ery­day.”

PHO­TOS BY JACK RODGERS

Lt. Gov. Boyd Ruther­ford, left, speaks dur­ing the 2019 Mary­land As­so­ci­a­tion of Coun­ties in­stal­la­tion of direc­tors Thursday, Jan. 3, at the Hy­att Re­gency re­sort. Also pic­tured is Barry Glass­man, Har­ford County ex­ec­u­tive and Mary­land As­so­ci­a­tion of Coun­ties sec­ond vice pres­i­dent.

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