MEET DELEGATE TRENT KITTLEMAN
In the mid-70’s, I wrote a weekly political column in the Howard County News and Columbia Flier. I penned more than 100 columns over the two years. And what pleases me most is that even today, I wouldn’t change a word!
That “volunteer job” required a weekly discipline that has served me well, and my total immersion into local, state and federal issues created in me a deep understanding of the “politics” — both good and bad — that fuel the economy of America, as well as a lasting penchant to make it work!
As you will see below, I have been fortunate that my career path has allowed me to continue being involved and to continue to learn.
In my role at the Maryland Transportation Authority, I was responsible for the toll Authority’s seven major transportation facilities, 1,700 employees (including 450 sworn police officers), a $218 million annual operating budget, and a $4.5 billion 6-year capital program.
Given the challenge by Governor Bob Ehrlich my team and I were able to reduce the notorious summer weekend congesion at the Chesapeake Bay Bridge through a series of creative enhancements, sound marketing and “out-of-the-box” ideas, including “EZ-Pass on -the-Go,” the BAYSPAN call-in line with up-to-the-minute reports of traffic congestion on the Bay Bridge, and the “Go Early – Stay Late” program.
In 2005, I had the opportunity to lead the last “Bay Bridge Walk” across the 4.2 mile span, with Governor Ehrlich.
As Deputy Secretary of the Maryland Department of Transportation, I served as the chief operating officer. MDOT is the second-largest Department in the State, with 9,100-employees, including the State Highway Administration, the Port of Baltimore, Thurgood Marshall BWI Airport, the Motor Vehicle Administration, and the Maryland Transit Administration (the MTA).
Among the various modes of transportation operated by MDOT is its Paratransit system (provides personal rides for the severely disabled). Because of the number of serious problems, I asked to and did assume responsibility for transforming the State’s paratransit system. My team and I created and initiated the novel Taxi Access program, increased on-time performance from 75 percent to over 90 percent, achieved regulatory compliance, and avoided a Department of Justice lawsuit.
As an independent consultant, I participated in a winning proposal to rewrite the New York Taxicab & Limousine Service (NYTLC) regulations into PLAIN ENGLISH — and they really meant it. The NYTLC oversees not only taxicabs and limousines, but also the “black car” service and paratransit. Part of my work involved reorganizing the 15-chapter set of rules that had grown haphazardly over time (as most laws do) into a cohesive, logically-based set of rules that even non-lawyers could understand. This was one of the most fascinating and challenging jobs I’ve done, and I was thrilled when my re-write was adopted into law.
One of the most exciting opportunities I’ve enjoyed was serving as a minority council for U.S. Senator Fred Thompson, in his role as Ranking Member of the Senate’s “Governmental Affairs Committee.” This was the year that the Department of Homeland Security was created, and our committee was renamed the “Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.”
Other oversight responsibilities,included investigation of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (Nov. 12, 2002, “Asleep at the Switch”), and holding hearings on aspects of the Enron debacle.
I thoroughly enjoyed my 5 years with Marriott International. I was hired as a lawyer to work on the Company’s fledgling assisted living business. It wasn’t’ long, however, that the General Counsel discovered my interest in (Republican) politics. And when Ellen Sauerbray ran for Governor in 1994, the General Counsel was Ellen’s Montgomery County Finance chair. I began a series of breakfast meetings with possible donors, which took place in the Marriott Boardroom, so that Mr. Marriott could stop by. “Congressman” Bob Ehrlich attended one of these meetings to help the fundraising.
Our most significant effort was the fundraiser that Marriott organized and held for Candidate Sauerbray. The featured guest was former President George H.W. Bush, who helped us raise over $350,000, the largest gubernatorial fundraise for a Republican candidate to that date.
This was the last family photo taken before Bob succumbed to leukemia on September 11, 2004, in Alaska. Seeing Alaska was something that Bob had always wanted to do, so in the summer of 2004, the 26 of us flew to Alaska and rented our personal tour bus. The unique beauty of Alaska provided a poignant backdrop to the pain of knowing that this was our last summer with Bob.
Believe it or not, the people in the photo above are all my relatives – and not everyone is IN the picture. The great part about this family is how close we are. Even though we’re spread all over the Country (California, New York, Florida, as well as here), our last two family reunions have drawn over 100 participants, and we know we can count on each other.
For the record, this gang is a product of my mother’s mother, for whom I am named (“Mamie Trent Fagg Wysor), who produced seven (7) offspring: my mother, her four sisters, and two brothers. The seven of them produced 23 children (one of whom is me). Our generation has produced 51 offspring, and these 51 ‘kids,’ have produced . . . well, let’s just say, they’ve produced a whole lot of kids.
Learn more and donate at http://trentkittleman.com