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State and local government workers endorse Lierman for state Comptroller

Del. Brooke Lierman speaks at a Wednesday news conference.
Brooke Lierman Facebook page
Del. Brooke Lierman speaks at a Wednesday news conference.

In October, AFSCME announced an endorsement in the crowded race: Tom Perez, a Democrat who served as U.S. Secretary of Labor under President Obama and and former Maryland Secretary of Labor under Gov. Martin O'Malley.

Del. Brooke Lierman nabbed a major endorsement in her race for Maryland Comptroller from a union representing 50,000 Maryland and Baltimore City workers on Wednesday.

Council 3 and Council 67 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees voted unanimously to endorse the Democrat, a civil rights lawyer who has represented Baltimore in Annapolis since 2015.

“I am excited to be an advocate for working men and women, for our union brothers and sisters all across the state,” Lierman said at a news conference outside the State Center complex in Baltimore. “I'm also excited to safeguard our $65 billion pension system for our state workers and retirees.”

The endorsement comes early in a race with a small field. In the Democratic primary, Lierman faces Tim Adams, a Democratic businessman who serves as the mayor of Bowie. Barry Glassman is the sole Republican filed to run; he serves as Harford County Executive and previously represented the county as a state senator.

AFSCME members and officials touted Lierman’s advocacy for organized labor in their endorsement, pointing to the attorney’s representations of workers in wage theft claims and disability lawsuits.

“We look forward to working together to ensure our pensions are fully funded and family-supporting union jobs are protected,” said Council 67 Executive Director Glen Middleton.

Tia McCoy-Johnson, a state employee of more than 20 years who currently works in the comptroller's office as a fiscal accounts auditor, said she cannot afford a safe place for her and her 13-year-old son to live.

“When I moved into my apartment 15 years ago, my rent was $999. Every year that I'm there it’s gone up, but my pay hasn't,” she said. “The next time my rent goes up, I don't know if I can cover it. I just don't know.”

She said Maryland needs effective leadership that will allow the state’s workers to financially recover.

“I believe in the power of good government to be a positive force in people's lives, but that only exists when we pay you what you're worth and we hire people to do the work,” Lierman said, saying she would work to fill vacancies and secure fair labor contracts.

Incumbent Comptroller Peter Franchot is eschewing a run for fifth term.

Instead, the Democrat is running for governor, along with fellow Democrats Doug Gansler, former Attorney General of Maryland; Wes Moore, author and former CEO of the Robin Hood Foundation; Tom Perez, a Democrat who served as U.S. Secretary of Labor under President Obama and former Maryland Secretary of Labor under Gov. Martin O'Malley; and Rushern Baker, former Prince George's County executive, among others.

Republicans Dan Cox, a state delegate representing parts of Frederick County and Carroll County, and Kelly M. Schulz, the Maryland Secretary of Commerce, are also running for governor.

Emily Sullivan is a city hall reporter at WYPR, where she covers all things Baltimore politics. She joined WYPR after reporting for NPR’s national airwaves. There, she was a reporter for NPR’s news desk, business desk and presidential conflicts of interest team. Sullivan won a national Edward R. Murrow Award for an investigation into a Trump golf course's finances alongside members of the Embedded team. She has also won awards from the Chesapeake Associated Press Broadcasters Association for her use of sound and feature stories. She has provided news analysis on 1A, The Takeaway, Here & Now and All Things Considered.