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September 22, 2020

Lawmaker exchange: Congressman hosts colleague from Washington state on tour Monday

Credit: Herald-Mail Media, Mike Lewis

A congresswoman from Washington state got a firsthand look at some of Western Maryland’s challenges and opportunities Monday.

U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Wash., toured Maryland’s 6th Congressional District as a guest of U.S. Rep. David Trone, D-Md. The 6th District includes Washington County.

McMorris Rodgers said the aim is to build relationships among lawmakers to “get results” in Washington, D.C.

The two were participating in the American Congressional Exchange sponsored by the Bipartisan Policy Center. According to the center, the exchange allows lawmakers to spend a day or two together learning about each other’s districts and discussing shared interests.

“If we’re going to get anything accomplished in Congress, we’ve got to do it (in a) bipartisan (way),” Trone said.

Trone said he visited McMorris Rodgers’ district in eastern Washington in October.

While the two districts are on opposite ends of the country, they share some of the same challenges and concerns, including drug abuse, addiction and treatment, the lawmakers said.

For example, McMorris Rodgers said, her area of Washington state has had drug courts “in place for quite a while” in an effort to stem abuse and addiction.

She said Congress “did a lot of work” on opioids during its last session. Still, she said, it is good to hear what local experts are facing in their communities.

Monday’s tour schedule took McMorris Rodgers and Trone through parts of Allegany, Washington, Frederick and Montgomery counties.

At Hagerstown City Hall, the two lawmakers heard from panelists who discussed the opioid epidemic and harm reduction.

The panelists included:

• Washington County Sheriff Doug Mullendore

• Washington County Health Department Health Officer Earl Stoner

• Hagerstown City Councilwoman Emily Keller

• Vicki Sterling, director of behavioral health services at the county health department

The local officials were joined in person by Regina Labelle, program director of the Addiction and Public Policy Initiative at the Georgetown University Law Center O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law.

Susan Gail Sherman, professor of health, behavior and society at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, joined via video.

Trone is running for reelection. He is being challenged by Republican Neil Parrott and Green Party candidate George Gluck.