Stewart Proposes Public Advocate
Far-left Delegate wants a new elected position to create a taxpayer-funded protestor
Far-left Delegate Vaughn Stewart of Montgomery County has proposed a Constitutional Amendment to create the position of Public Advocate in Maryland State Government.
House Bill 152 is an amendment that would create the position that would be first elected during the 2026 General Election. There are no other sponsors of the Amendment.
The duties of the position as proposed by Stewart would be to:
ACT AS AN INDEPENDENT LIAISON BETWEEN THE CITIZENS OF
MARYLAND AND THE STATE GOVERNMENT;
FACILITATE DEMOCRATIC ENGAGEMENT IN STATE GOVERNMENT; AND
RECEIVE, RESPOND TO, AND INDEPENDENTLY INVESTIGATE
ETHICS COMPLAINTS AGAINST STATE OFFICIALS IN THE EXECUTIVE, LEGISLATIVE, AND JUDICIAL BRANCHES OF STATE GOVERNMENT, COLLABORATE WITH THE APPROPRIATE ENFORCEMENT ENTITIES IN ENFORCING ETHICS COMPLAINTS, AND ADVOCATE FOR CONSTRUCTIVE, SYSTEMIC SOLUTIONS TO ETHICS COMPLAINTS.
Though Stewart proposes that the position be an “Independent Liaison” that can “Independently Investigate” State Government, the position is still a partisan position to which Democrats, Republicans, and other parties would nominate candidates.
Basically, Stewart wants to create a taxpayer funded position to go on fact-finding investigations against State Government. It’s a professional activist, just one funded by taxpayer dollars with a taxpayer-funded staff.
The Amendment also empowers the Public Advocate to:
CONVENE PUBLIC FORUMS IN THE SPIRIT OF DEMOCRATIC VOICE AND PARTICIPATION;
EXPLORE CREATIVE CITIZEN ENGAGEMENT, INCLUDING TECHNOLOGY–ENABLED CIVIC ENGAGEMENT, DIGITAL CITIZEN COMPLAINT AND COMMENT TOOLS, CITIZEN ASSEMBLIES, GOVERNMENT MODERNIZATION, AND STREAMLINING;
HOLD PRESS CONFERENCES; AND
CONDUCT PUBLIC AWARENESS CAMPAIGNS
I was unaware that we needed to ensconce the right for an elected official to hold a press conference in the State Constitution.
Even wilder, Stewart wants the Public Advocate to become the third-highest ranking official in the state, behind only the Governor and the Lieutenant Governor:
IF VACANCIES IN THE OFFICES OF GOVERNOR AND LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR EXIST AT THE SAME TIME, THE PUBLIC ADVOCATE SHALL SUCCEED TO THE OFFICE OF GOVERNOR FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE TERM.
Neither the Comptroller nor the Attorney General, constitutional officers with actual responsibilities, are in the line of succession. And yet Stewart wants this position to be included as the second-in-line behind only the Lieutenant Governor.
No other state has an elected Public Advocate. In fact, the only Public Advocate elected anywhere in the United States is the New York City Public Advocate. That position was not create germanely, but was merely a renaming of the position of City Council President that morphed into an ombudsman position after the Council created the position of Council Speaker.
The Public Advocate is a non-voting member of the New York City Council with the right to introduce and co-sponsor legislation. Prior to a 2002 charter revision, the Public Advocate was also the presiding officer of the Council. The Public Advocate also serves as an ombudsman for city government, providing oversight for city agencies, investigating citizens' complaints about city services and making proposals to address perceived shortcomings or failures of those services. These duties, worded somewhat ambiguously, are laid out in Section 24 of the City Charter. The Public Advocate serves on the committee which selects the director of the New York City Independent Budget Office and appoints members to several boards and commissions, including one member of the New York City Planning Commission. The Public Advocate also serves as chair of the Commission of Public Information and Communication established by Section 1061 of the New York City Charter. Along with the Mayor and the Comptroller, the Public Advocate is one of three municipal offices elected by all the city's voters. In the event of a vacancy or incapacity of the mayor, the Public Advocate is first in line to become Mayor.
New York’s Public Advocate primarily serves as an Ombudsman and provider of oversight over city services. Stewart’s proposal takes that position and supercharges it into a position with the power primarily to only investigate Ethics Complaints, along with a bunch of other ambiguous language with no real other duties.
If you want to know what type of person gets attracted to the position of “Public Advocate”, some of the prior holders of this office in New York City include:
Bill deBlasio, the former Mayor of New York City and Presidential Candidate, reviled by all sides as one of the worst Mayors in modern memory;
Letitia James, the current Attorney General of New York, who has used the position of Attorney General to try and bankrupt the NRA and investigate Donald Trump;
Jumaane Williams, the incumbent, a Socialist best known for requiring people having a party of more than 40 people to register with the police.
Those three Public Advocates also have another common feature; every one of them has used the position to build a profile to run for higher office. deBlasio ran for President and is considering running for Governor of New York. Williams is running for Governor. And James used her experience to become Attorney General. The position is basically little more than a landing spot for people who want more and more power.
This proposal is beyond pointless. There is already an independent process for investigating ethics complaints. The Board of Elections facilitates “democratic engagement in state government” through the electoral process. Each of the 188 members of the General Assembly is an “independent liaison between the citizens of Maryland and the State Government.” Why do we need this position unless Stewart thinks that Democrats need a taxpayer funded cheerleader doing their bidding?
This bill probably isn’t going anyway, nor should it. Just another silly proposal from the Silly Socialists Democrats keep electing in gerrymandered districts.