2008 General Assembly

Key Figures on the Legislative Front Lines

Stories by Lisa Rein, John Wagner and Philip Rucker, Washington Post Staff Writers

Energy Point Man

Del. Dereck Davis
(Courtesy of Dereck Davis)

Del. Dereck E. Davis enters his 13th year in the House of Delegates a respected leader who is bracing to tackle one of the most complex but vital issues in the state: energy.

At 40, he is the General Assembly's youngest committee chairman, leading the Economic Matters Committee for the fifth year. His panel has taken on some tough issues, among them the statewide ban on smoking in bars and restaurants, which takes effect Feb. 1. In 2006, Davis was the chief House negotiator in an effort to give customers of Baltimore Gas & Electric relief from a 72 percent rate increase as price caps imposed during electricity deregulation came off. The plan passed the House but died in the Senate. After lawmakers returned in a special session in June 2006, the majority of the rate increase was put off until last spring.

Now Davis and his Senate counterpart, Finance Committee Chairman Thomas M. Middleton (D-Charles), will work to pass a patchwork of measures to increase electricity supply and tamp down demand. The goal is to foil predictions of blackouts by 2011 and further rate increases. Davis, an administrator with the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, says he's ready for the challenge.

-- Lisa Rein

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