The Rural Counties Coalition held its annual lunch meeting at the MACo 2019 January Winter Conference on January 3. The Coalition elected a new chair and received an update on rural and environmental issues.
The Maryland Rural County Coalition was formed by the governing bodies of Allegany, Carroll, Frederick and Washington counties on December, 12, 2011. Working in conjunction with MACo, the Coalition provides a voice for Maryland’s rural counties, allowing them to offer their unique perspective on important state and federal policy issues. Since its inception the Coalition has grown to include 16 member counties, including: Allegany, Calvert, Caroline, Carroll, Cecil, Dorchester, Garrett, Kent, Queen Anne’s, Somerset, St. Mary’s, Talbot, Washington, Wicomico and Worcester. The Coalition now represents more than 1.3 million rural Maryland residents.
The Coalition elected Queen Anne’s County Commissioner Jack Wilson to serve as its new chair. Wilson replaces former chair and Calvert County Commissioner Evan Slaughenhoupt.
MACo Legal and Policy Counsel Les Knapp provided an election and legislative update for the Coalition. Knapp discussed the ramifications of the 2018 elections for rural counties, the altered composition of the General Assembly and county governments and urged the rural counties to meet and educate all new General Assembly members on rural county issues. Knapp also discussed various pending policy concerns, including climate change, the Chesapeake Bay restoration, stormwater runoff permits, septic systems, Smart Growth, the Forest Conservation Act, and local zoning for solar facilities.