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Howard Elected Chairman of Maryland Rural Counties Coalition

December 9th, 2014 by WCBC Radio

WESTMINSTER, MD – At the Maryland Rural Counties Coalition Fall Meeting, Carroll County Commissioner President Doug Howard was unanimously elected as Chairman of the Maryland Rural Counties Coalition.

The purpose of the Maryland Rural Counties Coalition, a Chapter Organization of the Maryland Association of Counties, is to help balance the decision-making process in Annapolis so rural Maryland’s interests are equated to the interests of the larger jurisdictions.

The Maryland Rural Counties Coalition was formed by the governing bodies of Allegany, Carroll, Frederick, and Washington Counties on December 12, 2011. Working in conjunction with MACo, the Coalition provides a voice for Maryland’s rural counties, allowing them to offer their unique perspective on important state and federal policy issues.
Since its inception the Coalition has grown to include 11 member counties, including: Allegany, Caroline, Carroll, Cecil, Dorchester, Frederick, Harford, Kent, Somerset, Washington, and Wicomico. The Coalition now represents more than 1.1 million rural Maryland residents.

Chairman Howard noted he was honored to be selected by his peers to lead the Coalition, and praised the leadership of fellow founding Coalition member, Allegany County Commissioner President and Chairman Mike McKay, who was successfully elected to the Maryland House of Delegates.

“As one of the original four founding members of the Maryland Rural Counties Coalition, I have been honored to work with Chairman McKay and some of the finest men and women representing and working on behalf of the special concerns and issues of rural Maryland.”
Chairman Howard highlighted that the Coalition has continually spoken out on behalf of local autonomy and authority, that the general legislative philosophy of one size fits all does not work in Maryland.

“The Coalition was particularly active over the last two years in opposing the proposed Phosphorous Management Tool (PMT) regulations and will continue to speak for farmers and those who make a living in the rural jurisdictions of Maryland to have fair, effective and scientifically proven regulations, and not to accept faulty regulations,” stated Chairman Howard.

A study by Salisbury University released last month found that compliance with the regulations could cost chicken growers, farmers and businesses between $22 million and $53 million over six years. The regulations have been proposed three times in the last two years, but they have been delayed from implementation due to opposition.
“It is because of issues and matters such as this that requires the Coalition to be active and diligent in educating Annapolis to our concerns and potential repercussions from policies which have not been fully planned and implemented,” stated Chairman Howard.
Former Chairman and Delegate-Elect Mike McKay stated, “The Coalition has grown from its infancy to a credible organization working with the Maryland Association of Counties in bringing a clear rural voice to the policy and legislative tables in Annapolis. Commissioner Howard has the unanimous support of all of the member jurisdictions to lead this body and work for a better Maryland.”

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