Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett and Baltimore Mayor Catherine Pugh have both served in the legislative branch, but they both said Thursday they preferred the executive branch.
That was one of the points brought home during Thursday morning’s Committee for Montgomery breakfast meeting at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center in North Bethesda.
About 750 state and local politicians, business people and others attended the annual gathering and networking event.
Leggett and Pugh shared the stage for a discussion about common ground between the two jurisdictions. They were interviewed by Josh Kurtz, who has been writing about Montgomery politics for more than 20 years, most recently for the Center Maryland website.
Leggett spent four terms, from 1986 to 2002, as a Montgomery County council member before he was elected county executive in 2006. Pugh spent five years on the Baltimore City Council, 18 months in the House of Delegates and then nine years in the Maryland Senate. Where they differ: Leggett has spent the last 10 years as county executive, and Pugh has been mayor of Baltimore for about a week.
Kurtz noted Leggett’s and Pugh’s history as lawmakers and asked which they preferred, being a legislator or being an executive. Said Leggett: “I prefer being an executive.” Pugh agreed. Leggett said he could set the agenda as an executive.
Although the elected officials at the event were mostly Democrats, the breakfast was largely devoid of partisan politics. However, state Del. Shane Robinson, a Montgomery Village Democrat who leads the county’s House delegation took a shot at Republican Gov. Larry Hogan.
“We’re so supposed to open for business, that’s the tag line now. But we’re open for the beach,” Robinson said, a reference to Hogan’s recent executive order insisting state school systems open after Labor Day starting next year, mostly to boost tourism.
County Council President Roger Berliner gave a speech touching on themes he’s expressed since taking the reins of the council last week: support for education and transportation, as well as expanding the economic “ladder of opportunity” for all county residents. Berliner also announced the creation of a microloan program, which is designed to provide small loans to individuals who need help to start a business.