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March 2, 2012

Mike Miller’s Protégé Won’t Do

Roy Meachum

The Washington Post first published the report. Bethany Rodgers pulled a save for The Frederick News-Post. On the “local front page,” inside the paper, her story ran with the headline: “Earnings missing from Garagiola’s financial disclosures.”


Understand: this is state Senate President Mike Miller’s pick to represent our community in the halls of Congress. Because I-270 runs to Frederick, the powerful Democrat may have mistaken Germantown, where Rob Garagiola lives, with Western Maryland. You can believe the rumors how the new Sixth Congressional District was specifically drawn to benefit Mr. Miller’s protégé. Under his aegis, he had chosen Mr. Garagiola over several veteran party members to be the Senate’s majority leader.


You would have “thunk” the two experienced politicians with more than adequate legal resources to call on would have understood the necessity of filing papers for candidacy completely and accurately. They knew. Their joint disdain and disrespect for voters resulted in Mr. Garagiola failing to mention his considerable several years’ earnings as a lobbyist. On the amended form he first mentions his wife as a Frederick County teacher.


By the way, the original stories for the race contain no reference to his status as a man who “bilked” residents in favor of special interests. Why else would he have been paid “well” by an array of people and companies with axes to grind in Annapolis?


My original objection to the notion of Congressman Garagiola still stands. Unless you live here, you have not a clue about Western Maryland. Before moving here in 1983, my single impression of Frederick was Barbara Fritchie’s signs, whirly-gigs and flags. As a North Market Street householder, I don’t want to be represented in Washington by a man who has a “Metro mentality.” As a one-time Washington Post reporter and executive, I know what is.


Prince George’s-born Mike Miller has chiefly demonstrated interest in accumulating power for himself. Senator Garagiola is only the latest example of the trusted satraps the Senate president chooses in spite of the presumed constituency. As a life-long Democrat, I oppose tyranny imposed by any party. In my view, rural Maryland is in danger from big city mentalities that judge people on their own necessities. Living in Bethesda, fertilizer was not my top priority.


Thanks to his sponsors, the designated Sixth District congressman is awash in money. While writing this column, the mail arrived. A very expensive, glossy, oversized brochure slipped through the yellow door. While it boasts how Senator Garagiola will “protect families with tougher rules for Wall Street,” it could be pointing to his lobbyist experience; certainly during that time he fought against “tougher rules,” at least for his paying clients.


My disgruntlement with his candidacy summons up all kinds of things to my resentful mind. At any rate, Western Maryland, and Frederick particularly, doesn’t need Washington representation from a guy most residents don’t know. State Sen. Rob Garagiola can’t really believe a Saturday night cruise through downtown bars, escorted as it was by popular local Democrats, is the same thing as coming into homes and meeting real people. Maybe he does.


The Miller momentum should take the guy from Germantown into November that brings his real competition. If he believes he is facing the 85-year-old incumbent, I figure he’s in for a real surprise on Tuesday, April 3rd.


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