Former Senator ‘A Good Fit’ For UMES In New Role

Former Senator ‘A Good Fit’ For UMES In New Role
Jim Mathias

PRINCESS ANNE — Former elected official Jim Mathias has been named government relations director for the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and will serve as liaison in Annapolis for the lower shore school.

Mathias represented District 38 in the state Senate for eight years before losing a re-election bid last November. Prior to that, Mathias served for over four years in the House of Delegates, representing District 38-B, which encompasses all of Worcester and Somerset Counties and a section of eastern Wicomico.

Mathias served in municipal government in Ocean City for decades including  as mayor from 1996 to 2006 before he was appointed to fill out the House of Delegates term for the late-Delegate Bennett Bozman. After losing a re-election bid to Senator Mary Beth Carozza in November, Mathias found himself on the political outside looking in for the first time in decades, but with his appointment to the UMES’ government relations position last week.

It was Mathias’ combination of local and state-level government experience that made him the university’s top choice when UMES President Heidi Anderson decided the university needed a stronger presence in the state capital.

“Clearly, his deep roots in Eastern Shore political circles, particularly in the state legislature as well as Ocean City made him an ideal candidate,” said UMES chief fundraiser and vice president for institutional achievement David Balcom. “He’s well connected in state government.”

While the 2019 General Assembly session ends on April 8, Mathias has already been reconnecting with state lawmakers and agency heads, getting out the word he will be the point person moving forward for UMES on public policy issues. Balcom said Mathias has a deep understanding of UMES’ role as a public, historically-black university and its unique role as a land-grant institution in the heart of a region heavily reliant on agriculture. Balcom noted both of Mathias’ grown children are graduates of institutions in the University System of Maryland, of which UMES is a member.

“He is a good fit for this campus,” he said. “Mathias is knowledgeable about the key players in state government and the process of lawmaking.”

About The Author: Shawn Soper

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Shawn Soper has been with The Dispatch since 2000. He began as a staff writer covering various local government beats and general stories. His current positions include managing editor and sports editor. Growing up in Baltimore before moving to Ocean City full time three decades ago, Soper graduated from Loch Raven High School in 1981 and from Towson University in 1985 with degrees in mass communications with a journalism concentration and history.