Josh Kurtz

Josh Kurtz

Josh Kurtz has been writing about Maryland politics since late 1995. Louie Goldstein, William Donald Schaefer and Pete Rawlings were alive, but the Intercounty Connector, as far as anyone could tell, was dead.


But some things never change: Mike Miller is still in charge of the Senate. Gerry Evans and Bruce Bereano are among the top-earning lobbyists in Annapolis. Steny Hoyer is still waiting for Nancy Pelosi to disappear. And Maryland Republicans are still struggling to be relevant.


The media landscape in Maryland has changed a lot, and Kurtz is happy to write weekly for Center Maryland. He's been writing a column for the website since it launched in January 2010.


In his "real" job, Kurtz is editor of Environment & Energy Daily down on Capitol Hill. But he'll always find Maryland politics more fascinating.


Kurtz grew up in New York City and attended public schools there. He has a BA in History from the University of Wisconsin and an MS in Journalism from Columbia University. He's married with two daughters and lives in Takoma Park, Md. He hopes you'll drop him a line, or maybe go out for a meal with him, because he's always hungry -- for political gossip.

Josh Kurtz: Busch’s Chief of Staff Leaving

Kristin Jones, longtime chief of staff to House Speaker Mike Busch (D), who also served as a top aide when he was chairman of the Economic Matters Committee, is leaving for a job at the University of Maryland Medical System. “It’ll be nice to immerse myself back into health policy,” Jones said in an interview. Jones will be replaced by Alexandra Hughes, the current deputy chief of staff. Jones, an expert in health care policy, is slated to become the UMMS vice president of external affairs, where she’ll have a substantial portfolio, including overseeing the state’s role in the new Prince George’s Regional Medical Center. “Her talents and expertise will be tremendous assets as UMMS charts its strategic course for the future, evolving our business to meet the challenges of the current environment while remaining focused on providing high-quality, high-value patient care to the people of Maryland – both in and... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: Noteworthy Developments in the Annapolis Lobbying Game

The recent news that P.J. Hogan is leaving his position as the head of government relations for the University System of Maryland after eight years on the job is significant enough just on its face. While the timing of Hogan’s departure is coincidental, it means the system’s new chancellor, Robert Caret – perhaps in consultation with new Gov. Larry Hogan (R) and his team – will be able to install his own person in that very important job. It’s sure to be a highly sought-after position and will attract an A List of applicants. Just as interesting is Hogan’s new gig – and what it means to the ever-evolving world of Annapolis lobbying. The news release out of the USM office last week announcing Hogan’s move said that Hogan – who spent more than a dozen years in the state Senate before going to work for the university system – is... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: Donald Trump, Jerry Brown, Marvin Mandel and Me

Donald Trump looks different to New Yorkers than he does to the rest of the world. We’ve watched his shtick for 30-odd years – the bragging, the preening, the mocking of opponents, the belittling of those weaker than he is. Trump was just one of several obnoxious New Yorkers who dominated the headlines back in the 1980’s, along with Ed Koch, Al Sharpton, Al D’Amato, George Steinbrenner and Howard Stern. But Trump was also remarkably savvy. He knew which fixers to hire to get things done. He knew which levers of power to pull in New York and New Jersey. He knew how to manipulate the media and marshal public opinion. So Trump’s presidential campaign – and the public and media’s reaction to it – seems familiar in many ways. But that doesn’t make it any less mystifying. Some readers know that my hero and mentor in the news business is... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: Middle East Politics – and Sen. Cardin

Six weeks after President Obama announced a nuclear deal with Iran, Maryland’s two U.S. senators, Barbara Mikulski (D) and Ben Cardin (D), have still not said whether they support it. Cardin is frequently overshadowed by the feistier, more senior Mikulski, but in this instance his decision is worth watching more than Mikulski’s. Mikulski, after all, is a lame duck, and her vote on the president’s deal next month will presumably be devoid of political considerations. Significantly, the three people likeliest to succeed her in the Senate, Reps. Donna Edwards (D) and Chris Van Hollen (D), who have been campaigning for the seat for five months, and Rep. Elijah Cummings (D), who is inching closer to a bid, all support the pact. Cardin recently became the ranking member on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee following a scandal surrounding the previous top Democrat, New Jersey Sen. Robert Menendez – meaning he could be... Continue reading
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Josh Kurtz: The Redistricting Conundrum

Gov. Larry Hogan (R) likes to fulfill his promises. But sometimes the level of fulfillment isn’t all that great for the rest of us. Take, for example, the reduction of highway tolls around the state. Sure, it’s nice to spend 4 bucks to cross the Bay Bridge instead of 6. But is that 33 percent reduction really driving more traffic to the Eastern Shore and spurring the local economy? Isn’t Hogan just robbing the Transportation Trust Fund to check off a campaign pledge? Is anyone now crossing the Bay Bridge who wasn’t doing so before? Are Easton, Chestertown and Ocean City seeing more visitors because the toll is $4 and not $6? This seems like a cheap and short-sighted gimmick more than an economic development tool. Hogan’s most recent victory dance came earlier this month, when he created a commission to study redistricting reform. “Through the work of this commission, my... Continue reading
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