Brown's Role Is Ambiguous. His Goal Isn't.

"My approach has always been to do the best with what you have," Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown says. "I think things will unfold for me in a positive way." (By Sarah L. Voisin -- The Washington Post)
By Ovetta Wiggins
Washington Post Staff Writer
Monday, April 30, 2007

Anthony G. Brown spent the first couple of months trying to adjust to the change.

He went from being one of the go-to guys in the Maryland House of Delegates to just being on the go: running to prayer breakfasts, black history programs and meetings for and with the governor.

"The days are long, they're busy, they're full of all sorts of activities," said the lieutenant governor, 45, sitting in a beige wing chair in his office on the second floor of the State House in Annapolis.

It just wasn't the kind of busy Brown (D) was accustomed to when he served as majority whip in the House of Delegates, where he played a central role in moving legislation and setting the agenda. Today, he said, his priorities are to help Gov. Martin O'Malley (D) meet his priorities.

Brown, who lives in Mitchellville with his wife and two children, spent much of this year's 90-day legislative session, which ended April 9, in search of a mission. He found one on the final day of the session, when he was called to stand proxy for O'Malley in the contentious negotiations over Prince George's Hospital Center.

It could have been a defining moment. Just 72 days on the job, and he would have been hailed as the one who helped close the deal on the financially troubled hospital system that has consistently teetered on the brink of closure.

But it didn't work out that way. Even someone known for his tactical skills couldn't maneuver the complicated internal county politics in play.

So Brown moved on to his next assignment.

He has been charged with managing the influx of military jobs that will be produced through the Base Realignment and Closure process, and his calendar is filled with meetings about the Pentagon's plan and how it affects eight of the state's jurisdictions.

"I found him to be fully engaged," said Robert Leib, the BRAC coordinator in Anne Arundel County. "He has been given a horse to ride, and he's going to ride this horse. I don't believe he's going to be hands-off."

Brown also is working with community colleges, economic development, health care and veterans affairs.

O'Malley said Brown offers a "broad understanding of state government and public policy" to each of these areas.

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