Lawton appointed to District 18 seat

Wednesday, Oct. 26, 2005

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Jane E. Lawton, who oversees cable franchises for Montgomery County government, was appointed Friday to represent District 18 in the House of Delegates by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R).

Her swearing-in ceremony is scheduled for Nov. 1.

The Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee nominated Lawton, 61, earlier this month to succeed John A. Hurson, who left the District 18 seat in October to become a cosmetics industry lobbyist.

The district encompasses Kensington and parts of Bethesda, Chevy Chase, Rockville, Silver Spring and Wheaton. Democratic Dels. Ana Sol Gutierrez of Chevy Chase and Richard S. Madaleno Jr. of Kensington also represent the district, as does Democratic Sen. Sharon M. Grosfeld of Kensington.

Hurson had been a delegate since 1991 and chairman of the Health and Government Operations Committee. He also chaired the Environmental Matters Committee for two years and served as majority leader for six.

By law, the governor must make the appointment from the names submitted by the party committee of the departing lawmaker.

In 2002, Lawton ran unsuccessfully for delegate in the district, a campaign hurt by reports that she had accepted at least $1,700 in donations from several Comcast and Starpower cable company officials or their families. The contributions were legal, according to state election laws.

A former mayor of Chevy Chase, the 61-year-old Lawton still lives there. She has two grown children. She was a special assistant to County Executive Neal Potter, and a special assistant to U.S. Speaker of the House Carl Albert.

As the cable communications administrator, Lawton oversees a budget of $13.8 million. She has said she will leave her position as cable communications administrator, although the details have not been set. She has been in that job since 1995.

House Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Dist. 30) of Annapolis said Lawton will be assigned most likely to the Environmental Matters Committee to replace Del. Kumar P. Barve (D-Dist. 39) of Gaithersburg, who has moved to the Health and Government Operations Committee.