A bipartisan panel of Maryland lawmakers recommended Tuesday that Nancy Kopp retain her job as the state's treasurer.
Kopp beat out two other applicants who were interviewed by a group of 10 delegates and senators, securing eight votes. The recommendation will be forwarded to the full General Assembly for a vote next week.
Maryland’s treasurer, who is appointed by the General Assembly, is responsible for managing the state’s finances and investments, and holds a seat on the powerful, three-member Board of Public Works. The Board of Public Works approves state contracts and oversees activities on the state’s public lands and waterways.
In a public interview session Tuesday night, Kopp stressed her experience and accomplishments in maintaining the state’s triple-A bond rating, which is considered a sign of the stability of the state’s finances. A former Democratic state delegate from Montgomery County, Kopp has held the position since 2002.
Kopp said her office is working to fully fund the state’s pension obligations for retired state workers and said she would push for more diversity in the state’s investments.
“It is a great opportunity to serve the public and to serve you,” she said.
Two other applicants, William H. Campbell and Elliott Reed, each earned one vote during the lawmakers’ secret vote.
Campbell, who lives in Howard County, has run for public office as a Republican before, including for comptroller. Reed, who lives in Prince George’s County, ran for state delegate as a Democrat last year before withdrawing his name.
A joint session of the House of Delegates and state Senate is scheduled for Feb. 19 to elect the treasurer. Because the House has so many more votes — 141 to the Senate’s 47 — the House’s choice tends to prevail.
The Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland, which has 57 members and represents a significant voting bloc, had concerns about Kopp’s work as treasurer, specifically her actions on the Board of Public Works.
Del. Darryl Barnes, a Prince George’s County Democrat who chairs the black caucus, said Kopp has too often voted in sync with Republican Gov. Larry Hogan on Board of Public Works matters. The third member of the Board of Public Works is Comptroller Peter Franchot, a Democrat.
“Her voting record aligned with the governor, which was a major concern for us,” Barnes said in an interview.
Barnes also said Kopp didn’t do enough to support minority business participation in state contracts.
The black caucus sought out a candidate to challenge Kopp, and Del. Benjamin Brooks of Baltimore County tried to apply but missed the deadline.
But the caucus and Kopp may make amends. Kopp is scheduled to meet with caucus members Thursday morning, Barnes said.
This article has been updated to reflect the correct number of members of the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland.