Montgomery Senator Leaving for Post as Md. University System Lobbyist

P.J. Hogan (D) served in the state Senate for 13 years.
P.J. Hogan (D) served in the state Senate for 13 years. (Courtesy Of Patrick-j. Hogan)
By Miranda S. Spivack
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, July 17, 2007

A leading member of the Montgomery County delegation in Annapolis who is well-known for his expertise on budget issues is stepping down to become the chief lobbyist for Maryland's university system.

Sen. P.J. Hogan (D) confirmed yesterday that he has accepted the position as chief legislative strategist in Annapolis and Washington for the university system's chancellor, William E. Kirwan, and the 17-member board of regents. He expects to start his new job in a month.

The post previously was held by Joseph C. Bryce, now a top aide to Gov. Martin O'Malley (D). Hogan will be paid $175,000.

"It will give me an opportunity to work on the state level and federal level for a university system that I think is fantastic," Hogan said. The system is facing challenges, including a chronic funding crunch. O'Malley's recent round of budget cuts to help plug a $1.5 billion state budget gap is likely to affect the system's 11 public universities and two research centers.

Hogan plans to step down Aug. 10 and said he will be able to start his new job immediately because the one-year prohibition on legislators lobbying state officials does not apply to someone moving from one state post to another.

Once he leaves office, the Montgomery Democratic Central Committee will recommend a successor to the governor. Already, the three delegates in Hogan's district -- Charles E. Barkley, Nancy J. King and Saqib Ali, all Democrats -- have expressed interest in succeeding him. Former delegate Gene W. Counihan (D), whom Hogan defeated in 1994, also is said to be interested. Hogan's seat, District 39, includes Montgomery Village, parts of Germantown, North Potomac and Darnestown.

Hogan, 44, switched to the Democratic Party in 2000 after saying the GOP's conservative wing had made him feel like a "pariah." He was once a top aide to then-Rep. Constance A. Morella (R), who represented Montgomery before Democrat Chris Van Hollen defeated her in 2002.

During his 13 years in the Senate, Hogan rose to become vice chairman of the Budget and Taxation Committee and chaired the subcommittee with jurisdiction over education. He also led a state commission this year whose assignment was to find new ways to buttress funding for the state's public universities and colleges. In his new role, he will be a staff member at those commission meetings.

Hogan was among several lawmakers who openly acknowledged interest in succeeding Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert), who had said this four-year term would be his last. But after Miller began waffling about plans to step down, Hogan said he decided it wouldn't be worth the wait.

Hogan also said the money and tuition aid the job offers for his two children, who are a few years away from attending college, are attractive. When he wasn't in the Senate, he said, he ran a Web site design business, with mixed success.

Montgomery County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) said he will miss Hogan's fiscal acumen as the county faces the prospect of declining revenue from the state's coffers and the likelihood of widespread fighting over who will get a share of the smaller fiscal pie.

"These are big shoes to fill," Leggett said. "He has been a very strong player, not only for his district but for Montgomery County. His expertise in finance and budget matters are extraordinary."

Staff writer Lisa Rein contributed to this report.

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