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Democratic candidate for Maryland governor Kevin Kamenetz dies

© Ulysses Muñoz / Baltimore Solar Baltimore County Government Kevin Kamenetz is interviewed by reporter Pam Wooden as a part of a guberna...


a man wearing a suit and tie: Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz is interviewed by reporter Pam Wood as part of a gubernatorial candidate profile series. He is running for governor of Maryland in 2018. © Ulysses Muñoz / Baltimore Solar Baltimore County Government Kevin Kamenetz is interviewed by reporter Pam Wooden as a part of a gubernatorial candidate profile sequence. He’s working for governor of Maryland in 2018. Baltimore County Government Kevin Kamenetz — a Democratic candidate for governor and a fixture in state and native politics for almost a quarter-century — died Thursday morning of a cardiac arrest, officers stated.

Baltimore County police issued a press release saying that Kamenetz, 60, had been transported by ambulance early this morning to the College of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Heart the place he was declared useless of a cardiac arrest.

“Kamenetz was at his residence in Owings Mills, asleep, when he awoke at about 2 a.m. and complained of feeling unwell,” police stated in a press release. “He was transported by the Garrison Hearth Station’s Medic 19 to St. Joseph, the place docs pronounced him deceased at three:22 a.m.”

The information surprised his buddies, colleagues and Maryland’s political institution.

“We’re all in a state of shock,” stated Don Mohler, his longtime aide and chief of workers.

The 2-term county government is survived by his spouse, Jill, and the couple’s two teenage sons, Karson and Dylan.

Mohler stated that the county’s administrative officer Fred Homan has turn out to be “appearing county government efficient instantly.”

In response to county rules, the County Council should vote on a substitute for Kamenetz to serve the remaining seven months of his time period by means of early December.

Homan at the moment runs the day-to-day operations of county authorities and all division heads already report back to him, Mohler stated. Residents is not going to expertise any interruption to authorities companies, he added.

The County Council has not designated a time when it might vote to nominate a successor, who should be a Democrat.

Kamenetz’s working mate within the governor’s race, Valerie Ervin, was shocked to study of the information early this morning.

“I can’t even imagine this occurred,” Ervin stated.

In his 24 years as a councilman and government in Baltimore County, Kamenetz achieved a listing of accomplishments — renovating ageing colleges, revitalizing downtown Towson, and by no means elevating taxes — that made him one of many main candidates within the June 26 Democratic main election for governor.

His demise will upend the political calculations within the race for governor each for Democrats and for Republican Gov. Larry Hogan, who ordered state flags to be flown at half-staff. For now, politicians throughout the state had been nonetheless studying of the stunning information of the demise of a hard-charging candidate and government.

In a assertion the governor stated: “The First Woman and I are shocked and grieved by the sudden passing of Baltimore County Government Kevin Kamenetz. Our prayers exit to his household and lots of family members this morning.”

Fellow Democratic gubernatorial candidates echoed these sentiments.

“I’m extremely saddened to study of the passing of Baltimore County Government Kevin Kamenetz,” candidate Ben Jealous stated in a press release. “He devoted his life to public service, to making a distinction and he helped to maneuver Maryland ahead. My sincerest ideas and prayers are with Jill and their two sons.”

Jealous stated in a tweet he and Kamenetz had been normally seated subsequent to one another at boards as a result of seating was alphabetical.

“I’ll all the time bear in mind him for the grace and good humor he confirmed every of his fellow candidates as we’d line up backstage ready for the occasion to start,” he tweeted.

In a current interview with The Baltimore Solar, Kamenetz made no apologies for his management model, which some discovered abrasive.

“I’ll settle for no matter criticism is on the market. That comes with the job,” Kamenetz stated. “The true reply is the outcomes. We’re getting issues executed and we’re not elevating taxes, and I feel we’ve acquired a bunch of strong accomplishments that may serve this county effectively for the following era. That’s the underside line.”

Kamenetz had been constructing to his gubernatorial run for years, even when he didn’t understand his political profession would take him this far.

Kamenetz was the youngest of 5 kids and grew up in Lochearn, the son of a pharmacist father. He typically talked about studying from his father’s instance whereas working the money register on the pharmacy.

After graduating from Johns Hopkins College and the College of Baltimore Faculty of Legislation, Kamenetz “started his profession in public service” as a prosecutor in Baltimore metropolis. In 1994, he was elected to the Baltimore County Council, the place he served 4 phrases.

In 2010, he was elected as Baltimore County’s 12th county government, and was re-elected in 2014.

The household talked about present occasions on the dinner desk, and Kamenetz grew to become an early pupil of politics. As a pupil on the Gilman Faculty, Kamenetz was within the political membership and named “class politico” for the Class of 1975.

For a category project, he volunteered for Hubert Humphrey’s unsuccessful presidential marketing campaign in 1972. Kamenetz may nonetheless recite a well-known Humphrey quote from 1977: “The ethical check of presidency is how that authorities treats those that are within the daybreak of life, the youngsters; those that are within the twilight of life, the aged; and people within the shadows of life — the sick, the needy and the handicapped.”

“I discovered it inspiring,” Kamenetz stated. “That’s the goal of presidency. These are the targets I’ve all the time tried to attain when making selections.”

Former Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr., who attended Gilman with Kamenetz and was a fellow member of the political membership, stated the 2 disagreed on nearly each problem over 5 many years, “and we by no means had an unwell sense between us.”

“There was by no means any bitterness, any partisanship, principally laughs,” stated the Republican former governor. “It was the way in which it was speculated to be.”

Kamenetz was additionally among the many legion of politicians who invoked the late William Donald Schaefer, the hard-charging Democratic Baltimore mayor and governor well-known for consideration to element and a way of urgency.

“I absolutely respect his perspective of, ‘Do it now,’” Kamenetz stated. “I’ve sort of modified it to say, ‘Let’s get it executed.’ I embrace that mantle.”

So, too, has his counterpart in Baltimore, Mayor Catherine Pugh, who was saddened to study of Kamenetz’s demise.

“He’s been a good friend and a supporter who all the time gave good recommendation. He shall be missed as a pacesetter in our state. My condolences to Jill and the household,” Pugh stated.

“He was an excellent supporter of town,” the mayor added. “He all the time promoted Baltimore in a optimistic manner, encouraging individuals to go to and assist the venues within the metropolis.”

Mohler, who has been Kamenetz’s chief of workers and has identified him for over 20 years, stated county authorities is “surprised.”

“It’s a horrible shock,” he stated.

So was Kamenetz’s marketing campaign workers.

“It’s stunning to say on the very least. We actually don’t know find out how to put it into phrases. Proper now, we’re centered on the actual fact he was the daddy to 2 teenaged sons,” Kamenetz marketing campaign spokesman Sean Naron stated.

Naron stated their staff is spending the day contacting workers, supporters and volunteers. “That’s the place our focus is – coming collectively and mourning this loss.”

With the few workers members within the marketing campaign workplace was a small canine — Naron stated he’s the marketing campaign supervisor’s canine. He’s not all the time within the workplace with them, he stated, however “we wanted him at the moment.”

County Councilman David Marks, a Perry Corridor Republican, ceaselessly disagreed with Kamenetz on coverage points however stated he had nice respect for him.

“My service on the Council coincided together with his tenure as Government,” Marks stated. “Whereas I didn’t all the time agree with him, County Government Kamenetz was a powerful and sensible chief who supplied 24 years of service to Baltimore County. My prayers are together with his household throughout this troublesome time.”

Former Baltimore County Government Jim Smith stated Kamenetz has been concerned in county authorities and politics far longer than his phrases on the council and as government. Kamenetz additionally served on the county’s Democratic Central Committee.

“He has labored diligently and laborious for the residents fo Baltimore County for a very long time,” Smith stated.

When Smith was county government from 2002 to 2010, Kamenetz was all the time the “go-to man” on the council.

“He was the particular person I might go to first on the council to get his tackle what we needed to do,” Smith stated.

However what all the time stood out to Smith was that Kamenetz all the time made his spouse and two sons his prime precedence.

He stated Kamenetz may very well be summed up merely: “Household and work.”

“He used to take his youngsters to highschool. And he would carry his two sons to many, many occasions.”

Kamenetz described himself within the current interview at The Baltimore Solar’s workplaces as impatient and direct, saying public service calls for such urgency.

“It’s who I’ve all the time been,” he stated. “I’ve all the time been the one that will look you within the eye and let you know the reality. I feel that’s what we’d like from our elected officers. I’m additionally the man who will get issues executed.”

On the marketing campaign path, as he tried to set himself other than a crowded subject of different Democratic candidates, Kamenetz embraced this side of his persona.

Certainly one of Kamenetz’s first strains had been a pledge to “look you within the eye and let you know the reality.”

Talking earlier than about two dozen Democrats on the Linthicum Library this spring, a person within the viewers requested about exempting army pensions from earnings tax.

The place some candidates might need tried to appease the questioner, Kamenetz gave the person an unpopular reply, however one he believed in. Kamenetz stated it’s not sensible for the state to go down a path of telling some those who they don’t must pay taxes. If somebody pays much less, then which means another person has to pay extra, he stated.

“I sort of view this as we’re all on this collectively,” Kamenetz stated.

As one other instance of when it was essential to be direct, Kamenetz typically talked concerning the disappointing closure of the Sparrows Level metal mill in 2012 placing 2,000 individuals out of labor.

“I needed to look these steelworkers within the eyes and inform them the reality,” Kamenetz stated. “Metal wasn’t coming again.”

Kamenetz led a research to discover choices for different makes use of for the property. And now Tradepoint Atlantic is remaking the outdated metal mill into an industrial campus with transport, logistics and e-commerce corporations organising store.

U.S. Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger credited Kamenetz with having a much bigger imaginative and prescient for the outdated metal mill than others.

“I used to be a kind of who fought regularly for metal,” Ruppersberger stated. “Kevin seemed into the longer term and stated, ‘Metal isn’t coming again.’ And as an alternative he refocused the county’s efforts to discovering new makes use of for the location.”

Ruppersberger, himself a former Baltimore County government, stated it’s that sort of imaginative and prescient and dedication that made Kamenetz your best option to guide the state.

“I need the identical trustworthy and forward-thinking management within the state of Maryland,” Ruppersberger stated.

Kamenetz, a former prosecutor, typically attacked his job as a lawyer would. He had a powerful command of public coverage and was all the time ready with information to make his case.

Solely hardly ever did he let his guard down. A kind of occasions was in 2013, when protesters disrupted a groundbreaking ceremony for Mays Chapel Elementary Faculty in Timonium.

Because the protesters tried to drown out the county government’s remarks, Kamenetz turned to them, pointing his finger and shouting: “It’s my job to speak, your job to hear proper now.”

And whereas some noticed Kamenetz as impatient, the Rev. Alvin Gwynn stated he had discovered him to be considerate and interesting.

“When he ran for county government, he got here and talked with me for an hour-and-a-half, two hours,” stated Gwynn, pastor of Friendship Baptist Church in Baltimore.

The 2 mentioned the intertwined histories of Baltimore’s black and Jewish communities. Gwynn impressed upon Kamenetz the significance of reaching out to African-Individuals within the metropolis. He praised Kamenetz for following by means of and exhibiting a real look after town as he ruled the neighboring county.

“He’s a straight-up good man,” Gwynn stated of Kamenetz. “He doesn’t make numerous noise, however he will get issues executed … Brief on discuss, lengthy on work.”

Kamentz had utilized his work ethic on the marketing campaign path, spending evenings and weekends at boards and meet-and-greets whereas nonetheless working Maryland’s third-largest county.

Final month, the marketing campaign path led Kamenetz to a resort room on the Gaylord Nationwide Resort and Convention Heart, the place he discovered himself battling a pillowcase as he and his working mate, Ervin, labored alongside resort workers.

Housekeeper Karen Allen had confirmed Kamenetz find out how to tuck the ends of the pillowcase so it could have a pleasant, safe edge. However Kamenetz simply couldn’t handle to duplicate it.

“I don’t know the way you probably did it,” Kamenetz stated, puzzled by the deceptively troublesome job. “Present me?”

So Allen confirmed him once more, and he tried once more till he acquired it proper.

“I can let you know: I used to be sweating,” Kamenetz stated later.

The 2 candidates secured a worthwhile endorsement from Unite Right here Native 25, a union that represents resort employees.

Kamenetz had additionally been relishing the prospect to attempt to unseat Hogan. The 2 have already got battled on points as numerous because the tempo of putting in air-con in colleges and whether or not the county ought to pay for midge eradication in Again River.

“When you’ve a observe document, it offers you a way of an individual’s priorities — the place they’ve been, what they’ve executed, what they’ve tried to perform,” he stated within the interview. “It’s having that observe document of expertise and success, but in addition having that daring and considerate management for the longer term.”

Baltimore Solar reporter Dan Rodricks and Baltimore Solar Media Group reporter Libby Solomon contributed to this text.

ddonovan@baltsun.com

twitter.com/dougdonovan

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