New speaker shuffles delegates in leadership


Lawmakers from the Baltimore area and Southern Maryland came out as winners in a reshuffling of the Maryland House of Delegates by the incoming speaker.

Casper R. Taylor Jr., a Democrat from Cumberland, announced last night he was promoting two delegates from Baltimore County and one each from Anne Arundel County, Baltimore and Southern Maryland for major new leadership roles. All are Democrats.

Mr. Taylor also dumped a fellow Western Marylander, Majority Leader D. Bruce Poole, and re-created a sixth committee abolished last year.

He chose delegates from areas that supported his bid last month to succeed retiring Speaker R. Clayton Mitchell Jr., a Kent County Democrat.

"I started this whole process trying to reach fair and equitable regional balance," said Mr. Taylor, a former tavern owner who is expected to be formally elected speaker next month.

As he had promised when securing their support, he retained members of Mr. Mitchell's leadership team with the exception of Mr. Poole. He replaced Mr. Poole with another lawyer, Kenneth H. Masters of Baltimore County.

Mr. Taylor said he offered Mr. Poole the chairmanship of a second-tier committee, but Mr. Poole turned it down, even though he would have been allowed to attend top-level meetings.

Mr. Poole could not be reached for comment last night.

Mr. Taylor said he removed Mr. Poole because he didn't believe both the speaker and the Democratic majority's floor leader should hail from the same region.

The new chairman of the Economic Matters Committee, replacing Mr. Taylor, will be Michael E. Busch, an athletics administrator from Annapolis and an early supporter of Mr. Taylor's candidacy.

The chairman and vice chairman of the new Commerce and Government Matters Committee are, respectively, insurance broker Gerald J. Curran of Baltimore and shop owner John F. Wood Jr. of Southern Maryland.

The committee will handle bills on banking, election laws, ethics, local government, procurement and transportation.

Richard Rynd of Baltimore County will become vice chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, a position that became vacant when Sheila E. Hixson of Montgomery County moved into the top job.

For those who are keeping score, the top House leadership posts -- the six committee leaders, majority leader and speaker pro tem -- will be held by two Prince George's County delegates, two from Baltimore and one each from the Eastern Shore and Anne Arundel, Montgomery and Baltimore counties.

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