BERLIN — A pair of familiar names and faces were among Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley’s list of “green bag” nominations submitted to the state senate last week for appointment or reappointment to various state boards and commissions.
Former Worcester County Commission President and current county attorney John “Sonny” Bloxom and former County Planning Commission chairperson and Maryland Coastal Bays Program advocate Carolyn Cummins last week were nominated by the governor to serve on the state’s Critical Area Commission. The nominations were among 225 “green bag” nominations delivered by the governor’s office to the Senate.
“I am proud to announce several appointments and reappointments for key leadership positions throughout Maryland,” said O’Malley last week. “We have worked diligently to put forward a list of individuals who represent diverse gender, geographic and ethnic backgrounds, and whose skills and talents will help us continue the vital progress we are making to protect our shared priorities.”
The term “green bag” derives from the historic green satchel used once every year to bring gubernatorial nominations to the Senate. It has long been a state tradition for a senior member of the governor’s staff to deliver the “green bag” to the Senate. O’Malley nominated six new members to serve on the state’s Critical Area Commission including Bloxom and Cummins, who will represent Worcester County.
Both were on the front lines of the county’s effort to develop its localized version of Critical Area legislation for the coastal bays several years ago. Bloxom was president of the Worcester County Commissioners during the lengthy process, while Cummins was chair of the county’s Planning Commission and one of the original members of the Maryland Coastal Bays Program.
After his service as a county commissioner, Bloxom worked with the Coastal Bays Program’s fundraising committee. He gave up the position with the MCBP after being appointed county attorney, citing a potential conflict of interest, but remains a strong advocate for the health of the coastal bays.
“I am looking forward to serving on the Critical Areas Commission,” he said this week. “In Worcester County, we’ve been on the front lines of this issue for a long time and I’m hoping to bring some first-hand experience and maybe a little local knowledge to the commission.”
Bloxom’s background as an elected official and a volunteer should serve him well in his new appointment.
“I’ve always been a big supporter of the Chesapeake and the Coastal Bays dating back to my time as a County Commissioner,” he said. “The appointment seems to make sense for a lot of reasons, but I am humbled by it nonetheless.”
Meanwhile, Cummins’ record as an environmental advocate and a county planner speaks for itself. The former Osprey Award winner retired from the county planning commission last year after 15 years of service, but remains a dedicated volunteer for the Maryland Coastal Bays Progam and the Adopt-a-Horse program on Assateague.
“I was honored when the County Commissioners called and asked me if I was interested in serving on the Critical Areas Commission,” she said. “After so many years on the Planning Commission and the Coastal Bays Program, I have a pretty good background and I know the issues well. It will be a bit of a learning curve when it comes to the Chesapeake Bay rules.”
Cummins said she is confident she will be able to separate her strong environmental convictions from her role on the Critical Areas Commission.
“I know the difference between voicing my opinion and enforcing the rules,” she said. “I have clear opinions about the state’s critical areas, but I also know it’s about enforcing the rules.”