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Morrison enjoying MMA influence

(Aug. 10, 2017) Pocomoke Mayor Bruce Morrison might gain additional influence with Annapolis legislators following his recent election as president of the Maryland Mayor’s Association.
“The governor knows me by my first name,” he said. “When I go up there a lot of people know me now. If I make a phone call, somebody answers the phone.”
The Maryland Mayors Association is a constituency group organized by the Maryland Municipal League. Paula Chase Hyman, director of member relations, said the league, which was formed in 1936, is a nonprofit, nonpartisan association.
“We work to support municipal government,” she said. “We do that through advocacy and also through education.”
Over the last three years, Morrison has gradually worked his way up the chain of command.
“I was second vice president, then first vice president,” he said. “Then this year, I was elected president of the whole state of Maryland Mayor’s Association.”
Morrison was also elected to a second leadership position during the Maryland Municipal League summer conference in mid-June at the Ocean City convention center on 40th Street.
“I was also elected first vice president of District One for the board of directors for the Maryland Municipal League,” he said.
District one includes Worcester, Wicomico and Somerset counties, Morrison said.
“We get together every year in Annapolis in February when the legislature starts and we meet with our delegates,” he said. “When you get like 70 mayors together in Annapolis, the delegates know we’re in town.”
Looking ahead to legislative goals for 2018, Morrison said he would encourage Gov. Larry Hogan to continue his campaign pledge to return state highway user revenue (HUR) funding to local jurisdictions to pre-2010 levels.
“Our biggest agenda is keeping the HUR money coming,” he said. “It’s a huge thing for municipalities in the state of Maryland.”
According to the Maryland Department of Legislative Services, during fiscal year 2007 Worcester County received more than $6.9 million in highway user revenue funding. By contrast, in 2016 that figure had dwindled to about $726,000.
“[Hogan’s] working at it every year, giving us a little bit more,” he said. “That’s our biggest challenge, to keep on the delegates in Annapolis and tell them how important it is so we keep those funds.”
Chase Hyman said the Maryland Municipal League has yet to set legislative goals for 2018.
“Membership begins to meet on legislative priorities towards the end of August,” she said. “Then they will vote on those priorities at their fall conference in October.”
Thus far, Morrison said he has enjoyed his increased presence with the municipal league.
“It’s a little bit on my plate to handle for the next year, but I don’t have to attend that many meetings,” he said. “It’s an excellent tool because now people in Annapolis know who Bruce Morrison is in the little town of Pocomoke.”