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Hogan appoints April Rose to fill delegate vacancy

The vacancy in the House of Delegates representing Carroll County in District 5 has been filled.

Gov. Larry Hogan announced late Friday evening that he has appointed April Rose to replace Sen. Justin Ready in the House.

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The seat was vacated Feb. 2 when Hogan appointed Ready as replacement to former Sen. Joe Getty in the Senate.

Ready said though there were several well-qualified candidates for the seat, he is happy with Hogan's decision.

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"She is someone with a varied and wide-ranging resume," Ready said. "She's conservative, but like me, she's very professional."

Del. Haven Shoemaker, R-District 5, said he thinks Rose will do a tremendous job for the people of Carroll County.

"She has political experience, serving two terms on the [Carroll County] Republican Central Committee; she has business experience, which is always appreciated in Annapolis...so she has a whole host of experience she'll bring to the table to represent the citizens well down here," Shoemaker said.

Rose's first venture into politics took place in 2002, when she attended a meeting of the South Carroll Republican Club, eventually holding the position of club president. She is a former member of the Carroll County Republican Central Committee, having served from 2004 to 2010, ending her second term as the chairwoman of the committee.

She was appointed to the Carroll County Board of Elections in 2014 and worked as a legislative aide during the Republican National Convention in 2008.

Rose was selected after a "thorough vetting process" that included interviewing multiple candidates, according to a news release from Hogan's office.

Though it was the Carroll central committee's responsibility to recommend someone to the governor to fill the vacancy, the nine-member group was unable to do so by its March 4 deadline.

A lawsuit filed by Melissa Caudill, Amy Gilford and Kathy Fuller — all members of the committee — sought to keep it from recommending three names to Hogan. During a Feb. 12 meeting, the committee voted 5-4 to agree to Hogan's request that all central committees send multiple names.

Matt Helminiak, member of the committee, said despite the Court of Appeals in Maryland — the highest court in the state — agreeing with a Carroll County Circuit Court judge that the committee could send multiple names, the group was unable to meet prior to deadline to vet the 27 applications they received for the vacant delegate seat.

The committee also did not send the applications and questionnaires each candidate completed to the governor because it never voted to do so, he said.

"That would've been against the rules without a motion and a vote to transmit anything to the governor," Helminiak said.

The committee put the resumes and questionnaires they received on their website, so the office most likely chose those to be interviewed based in part on that, he said.

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Though the committee was unable to perform its responsibility in vetting the candidates, Helminiak said the governor's Office of Appointments has done an excellent job of assessing the qualities of each applicant, conducting interviews and seeking the advice of other Carroll legislators.

"The best part about this is there is no constitutional challenge possible from this, so [Rose] won't have to suffer the indignity of a lawsuit," he said. "[She] will be constitutionally unchallengeable."

However, Del. Susan Krebs, R-District 5, said she was not pleased with the appointment.

"I'm disappointed he picked a political person versus a business person," Krebs said. "There were a lot of applicants that had good applications and resumes. I thought we were going to move past the political realm and pick someone that had ties to the community but I guess it's just business as usual."

She also questioned the Office of Appointments' vetting and interview process.

"I'm not sure who did the vetting, but it's embarrassing who got interviewed," Krebs said. "Rose is an unknown to people in the county except to those on the [central] committee. She has no real resume in regard to personal accomplishments, and this is not an entry-level position."

Krebs said there were several applicants who were far more qualified, vetted, and well-liked in the community than Rose, yet these people did not get an interview.

"I'm very disappointed in the whole process," she said. "This is why we need special elections."

Reach staff writer Wiley Hayes at 410-857-3315 or wiley.hayes@carrollcountytimes.com.

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