Maryland political leaders rally for FBI headquarters

COLLEGE PARK — Maryland's top elected officials gathered here Monday to send a message that the state is "all in" for an effort to lure a new FBI headquarters to Prince George's County.

Gov. Martin O'Malley and Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown joined the state's two U.S. senators and two of its congressional representatives in boasting of the advantages a Greenbelt location would have for the county, the state and the nation.

"We have a powerful congressional delegation making the case that the FBI needs to come to Prince George's County," O'Malley told a pep rally-like gathering of about 200 people at the University of Maryland's alumni center. Participants whooped cheers and waved signs saying "We're all in."

Maryland is locked in competition with Northern Virginia to be chosen as the site of an FBI complex that is expected to bring an estimated 11,000 jobs to the state that lands it. Maryland is pushing a site near the Greenbelt Metro Station — the most convenient on Washington's subway to Baltimore.

Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski vowed to use all the connections and all the clout she has as chairwoman of the powerful Senate Appropriations Committee. "We know how to support a high-tech, high-stress agency," she said. "We have the intellectual infrastructure."

Mikulski said 43 percent of the employees who now work at the J. Edgar Hoover Building in downtown Washington live in Maryland — more than either Virginia or the District of Columbia.

"FBI, if you want your work force to be happy, come to Maryland. They already live here," Mikulski said.

The General Services Administration, the federal government's real estate agency, is expected to announce a short list of potential sites as soon as this month.

Besides O'Malley and Brown, Mikulski was joined on the stage by U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, U.S. Reps. Steny Hoyer and Donna Edwards and Prince George's County Executive Rushern L. Baker III. All are Democrats.

There were reminders that this was taking place in an election year. O'Malley Lavished effusive praise on the lieutenant governor, his choice to succeed him when he leaves office next January. O'Malley said he hopes to watch Brown cut the ribbon on the FBI facility.

Sitting in the row behind Brown was Del. Jolene Ivey, running mate of one of Brown's rivals in the governor's race, Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler. Ivey was there in her role as chairwoman of the Prince George's House delegation in Annapolis.

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