Cumberland Times-News

May 15, 2013

Myers won’t seek re-election to Maryland House of Delegates

Delegate frustrated by political dynamics of Annapolis

Matthew Bieniek
Cumberland Times-News

— CUMBERLAND — Delegate LeRoy Myers Jr. has decided not to seek re-election to the Maryland General Assembly in 2014.

“I don’t believe in a law that dictates term limits, but legislators, politicians, stay too long. They take ownership in their legislative seats or offices,” Myers said.

When asked about his single greatest achievement, Myers said he didn’t quite look at things in terms of what he has accomplished in a day or week or a month.

“It’s not what have I changed in the state of Maryland. But defending what we believe in Western Maryland, we have had to be on our toes,” said Myers, who represents a portion of both Allegany and Washington counties. The District 1 delegation has fought every year to defend against harmful legislation, often with great success, Myers said. The District 1 delegation includes Myers and fellow delegates Wendell Beitzel and Kevin Kelly. Sen. George Edwards is the district’s only senator in the General Assembly.

While there was no single motivating factor in his decision, Myers said he was frustrated by the political dynamics of Annapolis.

“The party in power has made it more difficult, by redistricting, for Republicans to win more seats,” Myers said.

And the Democrats in the General Assembly made it difficult for Republicans to get major legislation passed, Myers said. That’s not to say Myers always towed the party line. He said he still has quite a bit of time left in office and intends to take it seriously until his term expires in early 2015.

“I like to be someone who is inclusive. At times I have differed from my own party. I vote the way I see it,” Myers said.

Myers said he voted for Gov. Martin O’Malley’s budget on several occasions, despite Republican opposition.

Allegany County Commissioner Bill Valentine said Myers has been a great friend to the county and that he considers him a personal friend.

“We’ve been friends a long time. He’s one of the most honorable, down to earth people you’ll ever meet. If he tells you something, you can take it to the bank,” Valentine said, adding he’d been aware of Myers’ plans for some months. “I think he’s done a great job.”

“I’m not overly surprised, he was disheartened by what goes on down there,” said Edwards.

Edwards said he has had a great relationship with Myers, and covering such a large district they often help each other out by covering meetings one of them cannot make. On education, election and gaming issues, Myers became something of an expert, Edwards said, because Myers served on subcommittees on those issues.

“He was very helpful in getting benefits to Allegany County,” Edwards said.

“He always had the best interests of Allegany County at heart,” said Valentine, who hopes the next person elected to Myers’ seat is a “mirror” of Myers.

 “I wish him well in whatever he wants to do,” Edwards said.

What Myers wants to do is the question. In a press release, he said he planned to continue serving the community. Myers said he has something in mind that involved helping his community and that his General Assembly experience has helped to prepare him for any of a few roles he chooses.

Myers was first elected to the General Assembly in 2002 when he defeated incumbent Speaker of the House Casper Taylor in a close race. Myers has since won re-election by comfortable margins.

Edwards said he has little concern about Republicans holding Myers seat, since the district is already Republican and redistricting will actually add some Republican areas to the district.

Contact Matthew Bieniek at mbieniek@times-news.com.