From Lawyer to Lieutenant Governor: Rutherford Tells His Story

From Lawyer to Lieutenant Governor: Rutherford Tells His Story

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TWC
August 14, 2017

Living among political figures is to Washington what living alongside actors and actresses is to Hollywood – they are, after all, recognizable people you’re likely to encounter out and about in daily life. And although Hollywood is awash with people who will drive you past stars’ homes to catch fleeting glimpses of them, The Washington Center (TWC) does one better, arranging sit-downs and lectures with newsmakers in our nation’s capital. One such example was the reception that TWC hosted on July 25 for Maryland Lieutenant Governor Boyd Rutherford and a group of student interns from Maryland interning in Washington through the Pete Rawlings Scholarship Program.

 

Lieutenant Governor Rutherford receives a gift from TWC President Chris Norton.

 

Lieutenant Governor Rutherford receives a gift from TWC President Chris Norton (left) and senior vice president for state relations David Anderson

 

Lt. Governor Rutherford served in the Republican administration of Governor Robert Ehrlich, which was responsible for renaming the Maryland fund in honor of the late Democratic Delegate Pete Rawlings, a former colleague of Governor Ehrlich in the Maryland House of Delegates. Therefore, Rutherford was well acquainted with the type of student who joined in the discussion: astute, well-versed and politically curious.

 

Lt. Governor Rutherford speaks to TWC students from Maryland colleges and universities.

 

Lt. Governor speaks to TWC students from Maryland colleges and universities involved in the Honorable Pete Rawlings Scholarship Program about his political journey.

 

Speaking first was TWC President Chris Norton, who mentioned that since the Rawlings Scholarship was introduced in 1999, nearly 600 students had interned at various sites throughout Washington. Then David Anderson, senior vice president for state relations, introduced the Lieutenant Governor and presented him with a small gift.

 

Rutherford began his talk by establishing a commonality with the assembled students representing six Maryland colleges and universities – he too is familiar with Washington, being a native of the nation’s capital and having been an undergraduate at Howard University. He made a point of telling the students that he didn’t think gap years are as worthwhile as actual real world experiences like uniformed service or a stint in the Peace Corps. He explained that he went to the University of Southern California for his masters and law degrees. From there, he embarked on a career in both the federal and Maryland governments as Associate Administrator of the federal General Services Administration (GSA), Secretary of the Maryland Department of General Services, and then back to Washington as the Assistant Secretary of Administration at the Department of Agriculture. Upon Barack Obama’s inauguration, Rutherford returned to private practice.

 

Lt. Governor Rutherford shares a laugh with Maryland students before his discussion and answering their policy questions.

 

Lt. Governor Rutherford shares a laugh with Maryland students before his discussion and answering their policy questions.

 

Up until 5 years ago, Rutherford never would have thought of himself as being suited for electoral politics. However, when Larry Hogan, the then 2014 gubernatorial candidate for Maryland, contacted him through a mutual friend to request that he meet with him to talk about offering him a spot on the ticket, Rutherford was quick to heed his own advice: “Never turn down a job until you hear the offer.” Although Rutherford acknowledged that their bid began “as a long shot, no doubt about it,” they began to sense the political winds were at their back about two weeks before the election – a fact that Rutherford attributed to Hogan’s effective finger on the pulse of Maryland’s voting constituents. Another smart tactic of theirs was to avoid villainizing the Maryland General Assembly which, as an overwhelmingly Democratic body, would need to be managed rather than manhandled in the event of their upset victory.

 

Given their direct investment in the Maryland political process, the student interns were eager to pepper the lieutenant governor with questions. After first answering the anticipated question about his future plans – a question Rutherford handled by promising to be the best possible lieutenant governor in the meantime – he then took a question regarding how his administration would best handle the opioid epidemic (at crisis level in some parts of far western Maryland). His preferred solution is to try to “stop the pipeline.” With around twenty percent of new users coming from abuse of prescription drugs, Rutherford would seek to address over-prescription, including urging doctors to abide by Centers for Disease Control minimal guidelines. He would also push for increased education at the school level (comparing the latter to the largely successful anti-tobacco campaign). As a statewide elected official more in tune with the on-the-ground ravages of the crisis, his disappointment was palpable when describing the grandstanding of congressmen and senators while testifying on the subject earlier this July.

 

Finally, turning to the question of which moment or accomplishment most resonated with him as a leader, Rutherford was quick to cite a recent tour of Maryland’s Eastern Shore in the aftermath of a hurricane. After comforting and aiding an older woman who was directly affected by the storm’s destruction, Rutherford came to the realization that in the midst of moments like these there’s very little not to like about his job.

 

TWC students and alumni met with Maryland Lt. Gov. Rutherford


Students of the Honorable Pete Rawlings Scholarship Program, flanked by TWC President Chris Norton (front left), Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford (front center) and senior vice president for state relations David Anderson (front right).

 

To learn more about The Honorable Pete Rawlings Scholarship Program, please click here.

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