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Getting Along Makes a Difference

How government works for us in Maryland

       It’s easy to be cynical about government.
      We never have to wait long for a new example of a politician behaving badly. No doubt, if we were under such scrutiny as they, our own faults would get similar publicity. Still, politics is a stage where drama is acted out in clearer outlines and bolder colors than in ordinary life. So many big egos in one place, with so much power and often wealth at stake, you get, if not Shakespeare, at least House of Cards. Writ big, that’s human nature, we could say if we wanted to make excuses.
      Harder to excuse is how little politics, at its worst, does for us, the ordinary people politicians are supposed to represent. The mess we see in Washington is politics at its worst. 
      Here in Maryland, we are served far better.
      The big news out of our General Assembly, which wrapped up its year’s business this week, is how well politicians in Maryland can get along. Republican Gov. Larry Hogan fired out volleys of Bipartisan Alerts during the last days of the Assembly, with flashing purple type and balloons rising above smiling images of himself and his Democratic counterparts, Senate President Mike Miller and House Speaker Michael Busch, all thumbs-up. 
       Many of these laws passed with bipartisan support make a real difference to us as the people of Maryland.
       State taxes will be variously adjusted so that many Marylanders can recoup federal losses, and retired servicemen and women and correctional officers will get more write-offs.
      Affordable — though we all know that doesn’t mean inexpensive — health care will continue for more ­Marylanders. 
Small businesses will get support for supporting their employees with family leave.
      Maryland government has listened to March for Our Lives students, too, improving school safety and banning bump-stock fast-action gun modifications. 
      What about beer and pot, you ask? More licenses will be allowed for growers and dispensers of medical marijuana, opening some of the action to minorities. But no recreational marijuana, and no increased opportunity for small breweries this year.
       Inside Bay Weekly, you’ll find a pair of stories about how government in Maryland works — and works to our advantage.
       Three months in, Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley reconfirms what he told us as a candidate: that he has a new vision for Annapolis that brings the future into the very elastic concept of history. Interviewed by reporter Leigh Glenn for this Bay Weekly conversation, he proves himself as full of ideas as a sparkler — and acknowledges that not all of these sparks are going to fly.
       Those ideas and the realities that spring from them will touch us all, no matter where we live, for our historic capital city belongs to all of us. As Buckley says, “You’re a local if you live in Arnold or Crownsville or Edgewater; it’s still your downtown, so getting people invested in it and committed to it — that’s our goal.”
        Also in this issue, reporter Warren Lee Brown reminds us that Congress is still, occasionally, on our side. Much threatened federal spending on the Chesapeake was restored, in Maryland Sen. Ben Cardin’s words, because “nearly every elected official in the watershed, regardless of political party affiliation, knows and appreciates what the Bay provides us.”
      Brown’s story tells us what some of that much talked-about money actually does. And it reminds us that in just a few months the battle to preserve that money will restart.
       So, as Brown concludes, “This is a good time to thank the senators and congressmen you sent to Washington for supporting investments in the health of the Chesapeake for 2018. Thank them now, and demand the support continue in the years ahead.”
      It’s easy to be cynical, but it’s not always smart.