Christopher Connelly

Reporter

Christopher Connelly is a political reporter for WYPR, covering the day-to-day movement and machinations in Annapolis. He comes to WYPR from NPR, where he was a Joan B. Kroc Fellow, produced for weekend All Things Considered and worked as a rundown editor for All Things Considered. Chris has a master’s degree in journalism from UC Berkeley. He’s reported for KALW (San Francisco), KUSP (Santa Cruz, Calif.) and KJZZ (Phoenix), and worked at StoryCorps in Brooklyn, N.Y. He’s filed stories on a range of topics, from a shortage of dog blood in canine blood banks to heroin addicts in Tanzania. He got his start in public radio at WYSO in Yellow Springs, Ohio, when he was a student at Antioch College.

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Fraser Smith talks to WYPR's Statehouse Reporter, Christopher Connelly about Governor Larry Hogan's proposal to balance the state budget.

Christopher Connelly/WYPR

In Annapolis, the legislative session is in full swing. Politics Reporter Christopher Connelly sat down with WYPR's Joel McCord to talk about a couple of bills in the hopper, and a move by the newly minted governor that's has some advocates crying foul.

    

Snow started to blanket Annapolis Wednesday as Maryland swore in its 62nd governor. The inaugural ceremony, which drew about a thousand people to the capital, was thick layer of bipartisanship. Newly minted Gov. Larry Hogan ran as a moderate and, in his inaugural address, he said that’s how he plans to govern.

“Today is not the beginning of an era of divided government. Today is the beginning of a new spirit of cooperation in Annapolis,” said Hogan, a real estate executive who’s never held elected office.

Gov. Martin O’Malley spent his last Friday in office talking with reporters, reflecting on his achievements and his future. Keen to set the record straight, he pointed to his own fiscal stewardship over the last eight years and said the numerous pieces of progressive legislation he signed are in line with  young people's values. He did not, however, say whether or not he’ll be running for president in 2016, though he reiterated that he’s “seriously considering” a run.

MdAgDept via flickr

Governor-elect Larry Hogan tapped former state Sen. David Brinkley, R-Frederick, to be his Secretary of the Department of Budget and Management on Thursday. The announcement came alongside 21 other key staff  and cabinet appointments

Hogan won office railing against bad budgeting in Annapolis, and he’s pledged to close a growing deficit through a major budget overhaul. That’s raised lots of speculation about whom he might tap to lead the effort.

In an opening day that was thick with talk of bipartisanship, a new Maryland General Assembly was sworn in Wednesday. The presiding officers, House Speaker Mike Busch and Senate President Mike Miller, told freshmen and veterans in their chambers that working together was the name of the game.

Christopher Connelly/WYPR

  Two of the largest state employee unions say they’ve yet to get face time with Gov.-elect Larry Hogan or his top officials as the he draws up a budget likely to include big cuts. The incoming Republican governor will have to propose a budget two days after he’s sworn in next Wednesday, and he’s promised a drastic change from the business as usual of outgoing Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley, who had a strong relationship with teachers’ and state workers’ unions.

Christopher Connelly / WYPR

Gov.-elect Larry Hogan named four more members to his cabinet Thursday, including a former rival, David Craig, who will be the state’s Secretary of Planning. The former Harford County executive lost to Hogan in June’s Republican gubernatorial primary.

Former Democratic state Sen. Rona Kramer, an executive at a commercial real estate firm, will take over the Department of Aging. Michael Gill will oversee the Department of Business and Economic Development. And the Department of Housing and Community Development’s new boss is Kenneth Holt, who was a Republican state delegate, founded a software company, and breeds racehorses.

Christopher Connelly/WYPR

Maryland's Board of Public Works approved a suite of spending cuts and other fiscal maneuvers Wednesday in an effort to eliminate the state’s $410 million dollar deficit for this fiscal year, which ends in June.

It was O’Malley’s last meeting as part of the Board of Public Works – a three-member panel made up of the governor.  Treasurer Nancy Kopp and Comptroller Peter Franchot. O’Malley was joking and smiling, Kopp and Franchot praised O’Malley’s fiscal stewardship. At Franchot’s recommendation, the crowded room gave the out-going governor a standing ovation.

Christopher Connelly/WYPR

After nearly three decades in the Maryland General Assembly, state Sen. Brian Frosh officially took on his new role Tuesday as the state’s lawyer. Frosh’s move coincides with an increasingly negative fiscal outlook, which means he can expect a thinner staff than outgoing Attorney General Doug Gansler.

As attorney general, the veteran lawmaker becomes the manager of what is essentially the state’s largest law firm – one he says may soon face a $500 thousand budget cut. Gov. O'Malley said Tuesday he will recommend some $400 million in current-year budget reductions at the next Board of Public Works meeting to tackle the state's shortfall.

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