Who was a guest in the state government tent at Preakness?

Published 5/22/2023 5:12 p.m. EDT, Updated 5/22/2023 5:58 p.m. EDT

A sign points the way to private hospitality tents hosted by the Maryland state government and the Democratic Governors Association at Pimlico Race Course for Preakness 148 on Saturday, May 20, 2023.
Our nonprofit news organization is made possible by subscribers and donors who value storytelling that impacts and uplifts communities. Thank you for supporting our journalism.

Maryland taxpayers footed a $200,000 bill for state officials and politicians to socialize and network with business executives track-side at the 148th Preakness Stakes over the weekend.

So who got to sip cocktails and watch the races in the state tent?

The state of Maryland provided a list of attendees to The Baltimore Banner after the race, a combination of politicians, state officials and business leaders. With Gov. Wes Moore and Lt. Gov. Aruna Miller being Democrats, the guest list skewed blue — though a couple Republicans who are horse racing fans were also invited.

And an official with the Department of Commerce told The Baltimore Banner on Saturday that a couple of the state guests would not be identified yet, because they are in the midst of confidential business negotiations involving the state.

According to the governor’s office, here are the politicians currently in office who attended festivities in the state tent:

  • Del. Marlon Amprey, Baltimore Democrat
  • Del. Carl Anderton, Eastern Shore Republican
  • Del. Ben Barnes, Prince George’s County Democrat
  • U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin, a Democrat
  • State Sen. Jill P. Carter, Baltimore Democrat
  • Del. Nick Charles, Prince George’s County Democrat
  • Del. Luke Clippinger, Baltimore Democrat
  • Senate President Bill Ferguson, Baltimore Democrat
  • Frederick County Executive Jessica Fitzwater, a Democrat
  • Sen. Melony Griffith, Prince George’s County Democrat
  • Sen. Antonio Hayes, Baltimore Democrat
  • House of Delegates Speaker Adrienne A. Jones, Baltimore County Democrat
  • Comptroller Brooke Lierman, Baltimore Democrat
  • Del. N. Scott Phillips, Baltimore County Democrat
  • Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman, a Democrat
  • U.S. Rep. C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, a Democrat
  • Del. Stephanie Smith, Baltimore Democrat
  • U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen, a Democrat
  • Del. Jheanelle Wilkins, Montgomery County Democrat
  • Sen. Craig Zucker, Montgomery County Democrat

Here are members of the Moore administration and other state officials who were listed as visiting the tent:

  • Kevin Anderson, secretary of commerce
  • Kevin Atticks, secretary of agriculture
  • Samantha Biddle, chief of staff, Department of Transportation
  • F. Vernon Boozer, a former state senator who is a member of the Maryland State Lottery and Gaming Control Commission
  • Arnelda Broadaway, governor’s director of scheduling
  • Mollie Byron, governor’s director of intergovernmental affairs
  • Tisha Edwards, appointments secretary
  • Carter Elliott IV, governor’s press secretary
  • Brad Fallon, governor’s deputy legislative officer
  • Sean Ford, director of legislation and policy development at Maryland Lottery and Gaming Control Agency
  • Fagan Harris, governor’s chief of staff
  • Shaina Hernandez, governor’s deputy chief of staff
  • Rachel Jones, a former state delegate from Prince George’s County who is director of government relations for the Maryland Department of Agriculture
  • Amanda LaForge, governor’s chief legal counsel
  • Jennifer LaHatte, managing director of the Office of Policy, Research and Government Affairs at the Maryland Department of Commerce
  • Susan Lee, secretary of state
  • Eric Leudtke, governor’s chief legislative officer
  • George Mahoney, member of the Maryland Racing Commission
  • Danika McMurray, chief of staff to Dawn Flythe Moore, first lady
  • Ned Miller, governor’s director of public engagement
  • Pokuaa Owusu-Acheaw, lieutenant governor’s chief of staff
  • Andy Parker, assistant to the governor’s chief of staff
  • Signe Pringle, deputy secretary of commerce
  • David Richardson, member of the Maryland Port Commission and head of federal affairs for Southwest Airlines
  • Tom Riford, assistant secretary of commerce for marketing, tourism and the arts
  • Matt Verghese, governor’s federal director
  • Larry Walker, executive director, Governor’s Office of Community Initiatives
  • Manny Walsh, governor’s Board of Public Works executive
  • Paul Wiedefeld, secretary of transportation
  • Portia Wu, labor secretary
  • Paula Yocum, chief financial officer of the Maryland State Lottery and Gaming Control Agency

Here are business executives and others who visited the tent:

  • Michael Arrington, CEO of Capitol Connections, a lobbying and government relations firm
  • Derick Ausby, co-founder of Start a Home, a nonprofit that promotes home ownership in Baltimore
  • Eddie C. Brown, philanthropist and founder of Brown Capital Management
  • Robert T. Brown, president of the Maryland Watermen’s Association
  • Jeff Buddle, president of the Professional Fire Fighters of Maryland
  • Steven Carter, Maryland-National Capital Parks and Planning Commission
  • Joseph “Max” Curran, partner in the Venable law firm
  • Sheila Dixon, former Baltimore mayor, now with the Maryland Minority Contractors Association
  • Josh Fannon, president of the Baltimore Fire Officers Association
  • Mike Font, president and founder New Harbor Development, which focuses on affordable housing
  • Former Gov. Parris N. Glendening
  • Drew Hawkins, president and founder of Ed You Core, which promotes financial literacy among athletes and entertainers
  • Dustin Jeter
  • Christine Madigan, interim president of Enterprise Community Partners, a nonprofit focused on affordable housing
  • Zach McDaniels, guest of the governor
  • Ram Mohan Konda, guest of the lieutenant governor
  • Willy Moore, president of Southway Builders
  • Joy Moore, the governor’s mother
  • Jeff Newman, president and CEO of the Maryland 5 Star Event Committee
  • Paul Nolan, vice president of tax, government affairs and strategic real estate for McCormick
  • Terri Roberts, vice president of Onsite Retailers, a company that runs shops at airports
  • Dr. Sudhir Sekhsaria, guest of the lieutenant governor
  • Dr. Herman Singh, guest of the lieutenant governor
  • Dana Stebbins, president of Cornelius Group, a consulting and management firm
  • Dr. Manbir Takhar, guest of the lieutenant governor
  • Mark Anthony Thomas, CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee
  • Chuck Tildon, vice president of external affairs, University of Maryland Medical System
  • Stanley Tucker, president and CEO of Meridian Management Group, an asset management company that manages two state financing funds in the Department of Commerce
  • John T. Willis, a former Maryland secretary of state and guest of the governor

The state tent was not open to the public or the press, but some of the listed guests were spotted coming and going. And some guests not on the list were also seen, including Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr., current Baltimore Mayor Brandon M. Scott and former Mayor Stephanie Rawlings Blake.

Sign Up for Alerts
Get notified of need-to-know
info from The Banner

The $200,000 cost of the state tent was spread across multiple state departments, including commerce, transportation, natural resources, agriculture, housing and community development, and the state lottery.

Right next door was a hospitality event for the Democratic Governors Association, where Moore entertained donors alongside Pennsylvania Gov. Josh Shapiro, Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy.