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Local Politician Profile: JB Jennings (R-MD)

J.B. Jennings is a recently elected conservative Maryland State Senator. The former Delegate from the 7th Legislative District, Jennings stuck to his self-imposed term limits and decided not to run for reelection in 2010. Instead, he had the opportunity to run in the seat that became open when Andy Harris ran for Congress. Outside of his governmental experience, Jennings has a varied background ranging from his service as a volunteer fire fighter, helping fight wildfires in California to his experiences as President of the Mill of Hereford, Inc / as a dairy farmer. Jennings is also an Air National Guardsman and was recently called to duty for a federal training mission at Robbins Air Force Base in Georgia. As a Delegate, Jennings had not missed a single vote and while he recognizes that he will during active duty, Jennings said, “The timing isn‟t perfect But having to miss a portion of legislative session is no different for me than the sacrifices made by thousands of other Americans who are called to duty in the midst of their own busy family and work schedules.”

In 2010, I interviewed Jennings before the primary and he had a solid, conservative platform. Now that he’s been elected as a State Senator, I had a few new questions for State Senator Jennings. His answers are below:

Matthew R. Newman: How has the transition been from the House of Delegates to the State Senate?
J.B. Jennings: It’s been relatively painless. The subject matter is the same. It’s just been learning the different operating procedures between the two chambers has been the most diffiucult thing to learn.

MRN: What’s the most important part of your upcoming legislative agenda?
JBJ: Working to help balance the state budget. Our biggest obstacles are legislators who would rather increase taxes than cut programs.

MRN: What are your thoughts on the recent shakeup in the State Senate leadership?
JBJ: It was shocking that it took place. Dissapointed to see Sen Kittleman step down, but at this point, he did. It’s a done deal. We elected a new leader and I’m happy to serve with Sen Nancy Jacobs, leading the charge of the Rep party.

MRN: How will the Republican minority fight the Democratic majority’s agenda and prevent the state from falling further into debt?
JBJ: We’re going to talk common sense, to demonstrate how their ideas are going to be detrimental to businesses and the tax payers in this state.

MRN: What are your general thoughts on the Governor’s proposed budget?
JBJ: I’m glad that he sees that tough cuts need to be made. At this point, everything is on the table including education, which has previously been a sacred cow. We’re going to have to work hard to make sure that they stick to cuts and not just revert to raising taxes.

MRN: If the 2012 primaries for President were held today, who would you vote for the nomination?
JBJ: Chris Christie

I thank Senator Jennings and wish him luck in this legislative session. It’s going to be tough with such a small Republican minority in the State Senate, but if they stick to their principles they can keep on fighting to help fix Maryland.

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