State senator and Howard County executive-elect Allan Kittleman said Wednesday that he has chosen Michael Davis, a senior partner at the law firm Davis, Agnor, Rapaport and Skalny, to lead his transition team. Kittleman said Davis has been a friend "for many, many, many years."
Davis previously chaired a transition team for Howard County's first Republican executive, Chuck Ecker, when he was elected in 1990.
In a press release Wednesday announcing the decision, Kittleman said other transition team members would be announced within the next few days. He also said he plans to move from his campaign offices on Columbia 100 Parkway to space in Columbia's Ascend One building "in the very near future."
The decision came a day after Kittleman, a Republican, defeated County Council member Courtney Watson, a Democrat, in the race for Howard County executive. Another Republican, Larry Hogan, made even bigger news when he defeated Lt. Gov. Anthony Brown in the governor's race.
Kittleman said he thought he would work well with Hogan in Annapolis. "I have good relationships with people in the state anyway," he said Wednesday. " I always felt like I would be able to work with a Democratic administration as well, but having a Hogan administration might even be better for Howard County because now I will have that [closer] relationship."
Kittleman reiterated a campaign promise to travel to Annapolis and support legislation that would benefit Howard Countians: "Anything that's going to help the citizens of Howard County, I'll work hard to make it happen."
Both he and Hogan had made protesting the stormwater management fee a campaign priority. "I certainly would support that effort if it comes back in Annapolis again. It's certainly something we can work on locally," he said, pointing to measures in Frederick and Carroll counties that reduced the fee to one cent or eliminated it entirely. "It's something I'll have to talk with the County Council about."
In the first days of his administration, Kittleman said, "My foremost attention is going to be focused on education and implementing a 24/7 campaign to strengthen schools and families."
He also said he would focus on launching HoCo Stat, a government audit program intended to increase transparency and accountability in Howard government, and on creating an Office of Aging that can better address the needs of the county's growing senior population.
Kittleman said he spoke on the phone Wednesday with Senate President Mike Miller: "I appreciate the respect he's shown me and I look forward to working with him in the future."
He also spoke with departing County Executive Ken Ulman, who "offered me congratulations and has very graciously agreed to help in any way he can" with the transition.
In an interview on Election Night that touched on a number of topics, Kittleman had this to say:
On the win: "I'm feeling very grateful for all the support. I was cautiously optimistic from what I was hearing from people, and our polling showed us ahead by a few points. But it would never have happened without the Democrats, Republicans and Independents who voted for me in the county."
On priorities: "I think a lot of people want to have a government that they can trust and that will trust them. I'm looking forward to getting working on that."
On working with a council dominated by Democrats: "All my time in elected office, I've worked well with both sides across the aisle. We need to have a government that works together."