Officials react to death of Kevin Kamenetz, Baltimore County executive and candidate for governor

Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz — a Democratic candidate for governor and a fixture in state politics for nearly a quarter century — died Thursday morning of cardiac arrest, officials said.

Here’s how local political figures, leaders and organizations were reacting.

Governor Larry Hogan: “The First Lady and I are saddened to learn of the sudden passing of Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz this morning. We extend our deepest condolences to his family and loved ones.

“He was a dedicated public servant in Baltimore County for more than two decades, and we join with the citizens of Baltimore County and all Marylanders in mourning.

“Our prayers go out to his wife, Jill, his sons Karson and Dylan, and to his entire family. In the difficult days to come, we will provide any support we possibly can to the Kamenetz family and the citizens of Baltimore County.”

Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh: “He’s been a friend and a supporter who always gave good advice. He will be missed as a leader in our state. My condolences to Jill and the family.”

“He was a great supporter of the city. He always promoted Baltimore in a positive way, encouraging people to visit and support the venues in the city.”

Doug Gansler, former attorney general: Genuine shock and sadness on the passing of my friend Kevin Kamenetz. Prayers to his wife Jill and the entire Kamenetz family.

Ben Jealous, Democratic candidate for governor: ”I’m incredibly saddened to learn of the passing of Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. He dedicated his life to public service, to making a difference, and he helped move Maryland forward.”

David Marks, a Perry Hall Republican: “I was stunned to receive the news this morning from our Council Chairman about the death of County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.

“My service on the Council coincided with his tenure as Executive. While I did not always agree with him, County Executive Kamenetz was a strong and smart leader who provided 24 years of service to Baltimore County. My prayers are with his family during this difficult time.”

Alec Ross, Democratic candidate for governor: “I’m shocked and saddened by the passing of Kevin Kamenetz. My family sends our deepest condolences to Jill, his kids, and the people of Baltimore County.”

Howard County Executive Allan H. Kittleman, posted on Facebook: “This morning we are all stunned and shocked by the news of the sudden passing of Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. Kevin gave nearly a quarter-century to public service and I got to know him well when I served with him on the MACo Executive Board. We may have come from different counties and different political parties but he always promoted the strengths of our entire region. Please keep his wife, Jill, their two sons, and his entire family in your thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.”

State Senate President Mike Miller: County Executive Kevin Kamenetz dedicated his adult life to serving his fellow citizens, and saw public service as a calling. Patti and I were shocked this morning to hear of Kevin’s passing. As a father and husband, I cannot imagine the pain of his family right now and our thoughts are with Jil and their children.

Sean Naron, Kevin Kamenetz campaign spokesman: "It’s shocking to say at the very least. We really don’t know how to put it into words. Right now, we’re focused on the fact he was the father to two teenaged sons.”

Harford County Executive Barry Glassman: “I am saddened by the loss of my fellow county executive in local government Kevin Kamenetz. We share a long history in local government and most recently as Board members for the Maryland Association of Counties where he served as President in 2017. As a member of Maryland’s Big 7 counties, he was always interested in ways we could help each other and our regions as partners. Harford County’s hearts and prayers go out to his family and host of statewide supporters.”

Baltimore City Council President Bernard C. “Jack” Young: ”I’m completely devastated and saddened by the sudden passing of my friend and regional partner, Balt. County Executive Kevin Kamanetz. Words cannot express the pain and sorrow the people of the Baltimore region are experiencing.”

Rushern Baker, Prince George’s County Executive and Democratic candidate for governor:

“Today is a tragic day in Maryland. Citizens around the State of Maryland awoke to terrible shocking and sad news that Baltimore County Executive and Democratic candidate for Governor Kevin Kamenetz passed away earlier this morning. I was with Kevin yesterday evening at a Democrat gubernatorial forum at Bowie State University. This morning, I am stunned by this news as I had just watched hours earlier Kevin passionately and eloquently share his goals, vision, and ideas for the State of Maryland.

“Over the past seven years, we worked together on critical pieces of legislation and shared goals for improving the education of Maryland children, achieving quality health care for all the state’s residents, and creating jobs and opportunity for our constituents. As much as Kevin was advocating for what was best for Baltimore County, he was also always looking out for all Marylanders.

“The thoughts and prayers of Prince George’s County are with our neighbors in Baltimore County along with the family and friends of County Executive Kevin Kamenetz.”

Rich Madaleno, state senator and Democratic candidate for governor:

“Mark and I are deeply saddened at the sudden and tragic loss of Kevin. Though rivals for the Democratic nomination, we’ve gotten to know each other well over the past year plus, finding a shared sense of wit and humor, as well as a deep love of family and our great state. Kevin’s story of growing up in Lochearn, working at his father’s drug store and ultimately rising to become Baltimore County Executive is a classic tale of Maryland grit and determination. His knowledge and dedication to all Marylanders will be sorely missed. Our deepest sympathies go out to Jill, his sons, and his family.”

Luwanda Jenkins, Madaleno’s running mate for lieutenant governor:

“As a Baltimore County resident, wife and mother, my heart goes out to his wife Jill and his family at this incredibly difficult time. Kevin served his constituents with passion, dedication and honor. This is a loss for all of Maryland.”

Mary Kay Sigaty, Howard County Council chairwoman, posted on Facebook: "My condolences to Kevin Kamenetz’s family, friends and colleagues. Kevin’s service to his neighbors in Baltimore County and the people of Maryland will be sorely missed."

Calvin Ball, Howard County Council vice chair and Democratic candidate for county executive, posted on Facebook: "I am saddened by the recent and shocking news that my friend, Baltimore County's dedicated County Executive and candidate for Governor, Kevin Kamenetz has died. Sending my heartfelt condolences to his wife, sons, family and friends as they navigate Kevin's loss. A loss such as this weighs heavily on us all - may you find peace in the sea of sorrow and hope and resilience in what lies ahead. Kevin was loved and respected and will be missed dearly."

Towson University President Kim Schatzel: “Kevin was a much valued partner whose leadership had a most positive impact on Baltimore County and the Towson community. He will be greatly missed and was a true friend of Towson University.”

Baltimore County Councilman Tom Quirk: “Kevin was exceptionally smart and understood policy and the nuances of policy. He was effective even when people had disagreements. … He was never to be underestimated. … He was a forceful personality, driven, very focused. I had a lot of respect for him from a policy and intellectual standpoint.”

Jim Shea, Democratic candidate for governor: “Kevin Kamenetz’s passing is a tremendous loss for Maryland. He was a dedicated public servant, and I considered him a friend. My heart goes out to Jill and his family, along with his many friends and staff.”

Brian Frosh, Maryland Attorney General: ”Shocked and incredibly saddened to hear the news of the death of Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. Sending prayers of comfort and strength to his wife Jill, his two young sons, and all of his family and loved ones.”

Julian Jones, County Council Chairman:

Verletta White, Interim Superintendent, Baltimore County Public Schools: ”First and foremost, my thoughts and prayers go out to the family of County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. We are saddened and shocked by the news. Kevin was a tireless supporter of BCPS and I am thankful for his commitment and dedication to the children of Baltimore County.”

Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen: “I join the millions of Marylanders in mourning the sudden death of Kevin Kamenetz. The County Executive was a courageous supporter of many important healthcare proposals to improve access and serve the most vulnerable. My heart goes out to his family and so many loved ones.”

Maryland House of Delegates Speaker Mike Busch: ”Kevin Kamenetz was an honest and direct public servant who put the needs of his community before politics. He was a strong partner with the Maryland General Assembly on behalf of both his county and our state. He will be missed. My heart goes out to Jill and their boys.”

Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot: ”I’m stunned and saddened to learn of the death of County Executive Kamenetz. While we didn’t always agree on the issues of the day, I’ll always remember him as an exceptionally steadfast public servant. My prayers are with his wife, Jill, and his two sons.”

Glenn C. Resnick, Baltimore County Volunteer Firemen’s Association president: “On behalf of all the members of the Baltimore County Volunteer Firemen's Association, we are in shock [and] deeply saddened on the sudden passing of Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. We express our heartfelt condolences to his wife Jill, their two sons and the residents of Baltimore County. County Executive Kamenetz was an ardent supporter of first responders and was a frequent guest at many of our volunteer fire and EMS company banquets and events across the county. As President of the BCVFA, I have worked closely with the County Executive on many issues for the last 5 years and know his leadership and support will be greatly missed.”

Congressman Andy Harris: ”Nicole and I are deeply saddened by the passing of Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. We extend our deepest sympathies to Kevin's family and friends.”

U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen: ”I am deeply saddened by the sudden death of County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. My heart is with his family and the entire Baltimore County community. Kevin dedicated himself to our community and his good works are all around us. He will be deeply missed.”

Congressman Steny Hoyer: “I was shocked and saddened to learn of County Executive Kevin Kamenetz’s sudden passing this morning, and I extend my deepest condolences to the Kamenetz family. Kevin was a thoughtful leader and outstanding representative for the people of Baltimore County. For more than twenty years, he brought the Jewish principle of Tikkun Olam - repairing the world - to his work in public service, where he led efforts to feed the hungry, heal the sick, and bring opportunities to those in need. My thoughts and prayers are with Kevin’s wife Jill and their sons Karson and Dylan during this difficult time.”

U.S. Senator Ben Cardin: ”Kevin Kamenetz was an energetic public servant who cared about making a difference for those he served. MD and I both just lost a friend.”

Congressman Elijah Cummings: “Kevin Kamenetz was a dedicated public servant who worked tirelessly to better Baltimore County and our state. I am saddened to learn of his passing, and cannot help but think of all the work he still wanted to accomplish. I will miss his fighting spirit for his constituents and his drive to push our community forward. My deepest condolences to his wife and children.”

Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger: “I was shocked and incredibly saddened to hear the news this morning of Kevin’s passing. None of us know when the moment might come, but for Kevin, it was way too soon. He had so much more to offer and was in the prime of his career. Some might say that Kevin was his own brand. But I was proud to call him my friend always. He was exceptionally smart, extremely principled and always did what he felt was in the best interest of his community.

“He did a tremendous job as Baltimore County Executive over the last eight years, making historic investments in the basics of good government, like public safety and education – and doing it all without raising tax rates. He held regular roundtables with all of the former county executives, both Republican and Democrat. He wanted to hear different perspectives and opinions from those of us who have been in his shoes. I admired that and looked forward to our lively discussions.

“But Kevin was a lot more than a hard-working politician. He was an involved dad, a dedicated husband and a loyal friend. My heart is broken for his wife, Jill, and their two sons, Karson and Dylan. I’m asking all of my constituents to join me in prayers for his family in the difficult days ahead.”

Congressman Jamie Raskin:

Edward Gilliss, chair of the Baltimore County Board of Education: "Kevin has been a spectacular public servant and champion for the county," Gilliss said. "Kevin was a loving husband and father. … He was a champion of public education. We know that he committed $1.4 billion of public funds to improve the county's school infrastructure. Kevin was a very talented, bright person and was particularly adept at making sure that the county's fiscal condition stays strong. "

Ravens President Dick Cass: “This is stunningly sad news, and our hearts reach out to his wife Jill and teenage sons Karson and Dylan. Kevin is remembered as a champion for Baltimore County. His passion to help those who live and work here was sincere and impressive. He got things done.

“Kevin rooted for the Ravens. He brought his family to training camp each year, and he was sincerely interested in our team. Our deepest sympathy and our prayers go out to Kevin’s family.”

The Baltimore Orioles:

Former Maryland governor Martin O’Malley:

Robert Ehrlich, former Maryland governor and Kamenetz’s classmate at the Gilman School: "We disagreed on just about every issue over five decades, and we never had an ill sense between us. There was never any bitterness, any partisanship, mostly laughs. ... It was the way it was supposed to be."

Nicholas Stewart, vice chair of the Baltimore County Board of Education: "There are few, if any, people who have had a greater impact on the people of Baltimore County than County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. From his 16 years on the County Council to his 8 years as County Executive, he did a lot of good for a lot of people. Public service is hard. It takes you away from family, it requires many weekends and nights, it invites criticism (too often of a personal nature), and much of the work and progress happens outside of public view. But he clearly believed that government can tangibly improve lives in the here and now for those it serves, and that this was worth the sacrifice.

“Our County is a special place, with a storied history, but its strength has never been pre-determined. It was forged by people like Kevin Kamenetz who committed themselves to serving others and achieving results. His is an important chapter in the centuries-old story of this County, and the effects of his work, and the work of his remarkable team, will endure."

Former Baltimore Police Commissioner Kevin Davis:

Democratic Governors Association:

Maryland Hispanic Chamber of Commerce:

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett: “I am deeply saddened by the untimely passing of my friend Kevin Kamenetz. I worked closely with Kevin to win additional State school construction funding for our two counties and other jurisdictions throughout Maryland, as well as on transportation and environmental issues and in the Maryland Association of Counties.

“Kevin was a bold and effective leader in Baltimore County and a strong voice on issues affecting all Marylanders. More importantly, he was a good man. That is rare enough.

“His passing is a loss to Baltimore County, to Montgomery, and to the entire state.

“I send my heartfelt condolences to his wife Jill, to his sons Karson and Dylan and to all his family.”

Donna Edwards, former congresswoman and candidate for Prince George’s County executive: “Today our state is reeling from the sudden loss of Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. Kevin was a devoted husband and father. He was one of our state’s most faithful public servants — a true servant leader who was committed to doing great things for all of Maryland. My thoughts and prayers are with his family, colleagues, and the residents of Baltimore County during this difficult time.”

Baltimore City State’s Attorney Marilyn Mosby:

Maryland Democratic Party Chair Kathleen Matthews: “All of us at the Maryland Democratic Party are shocked and saddened by the tragic death of Kevin Kamenetz, and today our condolences go out to his wife Jill, their two sons, his running mate Valerie Ervin, and his staff as they mourn the loss of a husband, father and mentor.

“County Executive Kamenetz devoted his life to public service and spent his entire career fighting to improve the lives of Marylanders as a Young Democrat, prosecutor, councilman, county executive, and candidate for governor. He put every ounce of energy and discipline he had into serving his constituents in Baltimore County, and he would have been a great governor. Maryland families lost one of their best champions this morning.”

Michael B. Kelly, executive director of the Baltimore Metropolitan Council: "We are deeply saddened by the sudden passing of County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, a member of the BMC Board of Directors. County Executive Kamenetz chaired our board in 2015 and was a strong voice, advocate and leader for our region. Our most sincere condolences go out to his family and friends, as well as to our colleagues in Baltimore County Government."

Valerie Ervin, Kamenetz’s running mate for lieutenant governor: “Like so many, I am shocked and heartbroken by this sudden and unexpected loss. I want to thank those across Maryland for their outpouring of support, sympathy, and gratitude during this difficult time.

"Kevin was first and foremost a loving husband to his wife Jill and a proud father to Karson and Dylan. And he was a dedicated, bold leader who served the people of Baltimore County for over 20 years. I have been honored to call him a friend and partner.

"Today all of Maryland mourns with his family, friends, and loved ones."

Maryland Republican Party Chairman Dirk Haire: "We are saddened to learn of the sudden passing of Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz this morning. We thank him for his service to all of the residents of Baltimore County over the past 24 years as a County Councilman and County Executive. We extend our condolences to his wife Jill, sons Dylan and Karson, and all of his friends and family at this tragic time."

Former U.S. Senator Barbara A. Mikulski: “Like so many Marylanders, I mourn the death of Kevin Kamenetz. I wish to express my heartfelt condolences to his family and his constituents on this shocking loss.

“Kevin was a dedicated leader working for the good of all of Baltimore County.

“I so enjoyed working with him as a senator on everything from jobs to infrastructure – Social Security jobs at Woodlawn, the revitalization of Sparrow’s Point, the Red Line or career education for our many young people.

“He was a tireless advocate who worked closely with the Maryland delegation for the people of Baltimore County.”

Baltimore Jewish Council: “On behalf of the Baltimore Jewish Community and The Associated, the Baltimore Jewish Council grieves the loss of Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. For nearly 25 years — first on the Baltimore County Council, and then as the County Executive — Kevin Kamenetz was passionate in his commitment to his constituents and to Baltimore County, Baltimore City and the State of Maryland. A lifelong Baltimorean, he has been a champion of our community's needs, priorities and values. Throughout his many appearances at meetings and events in our community, he regularly reminded us of the important role that his faith played in both his personal and political life. We extend our deepest condolences to Jill, their sons Karson and Dylan, their extended family, and his colleagues and friends in Baltimore County government. Our community lost a leader this morning. May his memory be a blessing.”

Donald C. Fry, Greater Baltimore Committee president and CEO: "He was a steadfast supporter of business and a great regional partner. The Greater Baltimore Committee enjoyed his support on a number of projects including the Red Line and his leadership on the redevelopment of Sparrows Point.

"I have known Kevin for over 30 years through political circles. He was a dedicated public servant, committed to Baltimore County and its citizens, and a consummate political leader. He leaves behind an impressive record of accomplishments and an impactful legacy. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife, children, family and the citizens of Baltimore County."

Congressman John Sarbanes and former U.S. Senator Paul Sarbanes: “We are deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz. He was a friend and colleague. Our thoughts are with Kevin’s wife, his two children and all of his family members and friends during this difficult time. In his 24 years of public service, Kevin was a champion for working families in Baltimore County, and fought tirelessly to make our communities more prosperous and safe. His effective and thoughtful leadership will be sorely missed in Baltimore County and across Maryland.”

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