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O'Malley names new top lobbyist

Gov. Martin O'Malley this week announced his longtime aide Jeanne Hitchcock will lead his lobbying efforts during his final year in office.

Hitchcock, who will also keep her role as secretary of appointments, will take over as chief legislative officer. She began working for O'Malley in 2000 as a deputy mayor in Baltimore, a role that included lobbying state and local lawmakers.

O'Malley said in a statement that "I know that her wealth of experience, wisdom, and commitment to forward progress for our State will serve the people of Maryland well. I have the utmost confidence in her abilities."

Hitchcock has also been chief operating officer of the national NAACP and worked as a lawyer in the Maryland Attorney General's office.

In assuming the role of chief legislative officer on Monday, Hitchcock became O'Malley's third lobbyist in as many years. She replaces outgoing director Stacy Mayer, whom O'Malley appointed last week to be a Baltimore County District Court Judge. Mayer's predecessor, Joseph Bryce, left government to become a lobbyist in fall 2012.

O'Malley, a Democrat, is term limited. Hitchcock will oversee the governor's legislative agenda during the 2014 session of the Maryland General Assembly, which will be O'Malley's eighth and final legislative season.

The governor told The Baltimore Sun in April that he planned to take the next six months to a year considering whether to pursue a campaign for president. 

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