MACo President Shares Roadmap For 2016 Leadership

John Barr describes the Maryland Association of Counties legislative priorities, including the return of county highway user revenues. 

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Maryland Association of Counties President John Barr of Washington County recently spoke with Washington County’s local broadcast about working with the General Assembly in 2016.

Barr has served on the Washington County Board of County Commissioners Commissioner since December 2006 and was sworn in as Maryland Association of Counties President this December. Commissioner Barr has been an active member of MACo Board and Legislative Committee for many years, often representing MACo on legislative task forces, and testifying before the General Assembly on bills affecting county governments.

MACo mark color.jpgPresident Barr is the first MACo President from Washington County, as reported by,

For the first time in more than 30 years, a Washington County resident is the president of the Maryland Association of Counties (MACo). As president for the organization, County Commissioner John Barr said he’s ready to be the voice for not only Washington County, but for all 24 jurisdictions at the state house.

Barr discussed each of MACo’s four initiatives for the upcoming legislative session, including:

  • Local Transportation Funding Restoration
  • Strong and Smart State Funding for School Construction
  • Addressing the Drug Problems Across the Counties
  • Balancing Release of Police Body Camera Video

As a master electrician and President of the Ellsworth Electric, Inc., Barr has particular insight into MACo’s school construction initiative and ways that school construction costs might be reduced.

“As a contractor, I can tell you there are things being specified in the schools that are way above and beyond what is needed,” said Barr.

Discussing MACo’s top priority, the return of highway user revenues, Barr said,

During the 2010 General Assembly, this fund was cut drastically from $555 million to $167 million. Since then, county governments have lost $2 billion roadway investment for things like bridge upgrades, highway improvements and other local transportation needs.

MACo is a non-profit, non-partisan organization that serves Maryland’s counties. The Association’s members include county elected officials and representatives from every Maryland county and Baltimore City. Every year, MACo’s members determine MACo policy positions through a volunteer Legislative Committee and MACo staff advocate for those positions in the General Assembly.

Read all of MACo’s 2016 Legislative Initiatives.

Watch the full interview with President Barr at