State, city politicians head to Vegas for business convention

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Once again this year, Maryland politicians and business people will travel to Las Vegas for the Global Retail Real Estate Convention – a three-day deal-making event beginning May 18.

It's considered a "who's who" event, where the worlds of government and business mix among the glitz and glamour of casinos and parties.


In all, 669 Marylanders will be in attendance, including 10 from Baltimore's government. Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake, City Council President Bernard C. "Jack" Young, Council Vice President Edward Reisinger and Councilman Carl Stokes are all slated to make the trip.

"This conference is a great opportunity for the mayor to showcase Baltimore and attract the job investments needed to keep growing our city," said Rawlings-Blake's spokesman Kevin Harris. "Previously the mayor has negotiated deals resulting in a Ross Clothing Store and several grocery stores including a PriceRite, Harris Teeter and a Target among other retail developments. The mayor understands that taxpayers are making an investment when she travels outside the city to recruit jobs, and she wants to make sure the city is seeing a return on that investment with opportunities for everyone to enjoy."


The city's Board of Estimates is set to approve on Wednesday $2,400 for Rawlings-Blake and deputy mayor Colin Tarbert to attend. Taxpayers will pay $2,600 for police officer Kyle Gooden to accompany the mayor.

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The city has approved $4,600 for Young and his staffer Carolyn Blakeney to attend and $2,400 for Reisinger's trip.

Also attending the convention, which is sponsored by the International Council of Shopping Centers, will be Prince George's County Executive Rushern Baker; Harford County Executive David Craig, a candidate for governor; and Maryland Transportation Secretary James Smith, the former Baltimore County Executive, according to the convention's site.

While at the ICSC convention last year, Rawlings-Blake made news when she officiated a wedding between two of the top lobbyists in Baltimore, Lisa Harris Jones and Sean Malone.

Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown, multiple state legislators and a host of State House and City Hall staff members attended the wedding, including Maryland Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Sens. Catherine Pugh and Joan Carter Conway of Baltimore and Del. Dereck Davis of Prince George's County.

Note: This blog post has been updated. Contrary to information on the convention's site, Howard County Executive Ken Ulman is not attending, according to his spokesman.