The Maryland Chamber of Commerce has tapped Mary Kane, the former Maryland secretary of state, as its new president and chief executive.
Kane, 59, began work at the business advocacy and lobbying group in Annapolis last week. She previously worked as executive director of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce in Washington, D.C., from 2008 to 2011.
The longtime Republican said in an interview Tuesday that she’s looking forward to strengthening relationships across party lines in Annapolis as she takes over the helm of the nonpartisan business advocacy group.
“I’ll be doing a different job and I will be working with both sides, everyone here in Annapolis, and I’m looking forward to that,” said Kane.
She described pushing for policies that will help businesses bounce back from pandemic disruptions as her top priority ahead of the Maryland General Assembly’s upcoming legislative session, followed by pushing for increased diversity among business leaders. She also pointed to a handful of perennial Chamber of Commerce issues: Taxes, infrastructure needs, education and worker training efforts.
Kane served as Maryland’s secretary of state under Republican Gov. Bob Ehrlich from 2003 to 2007 and also ran for lieutenant governor on a ticket with Ehrlich during his 2010 attempt to unseat Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley.
Shortly afterward, Kane ran to chair the Maryland Republican Party — a post held during the Ehrlich administration by her husband, businessman and prominent GOP donor John M. Kane — but finished second to conservative former state senator Alex X. Mooney, now a Republican congressman representing West Virginia.