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Thursday, April 01, 2004

Wynn as Kingmaker?

The Gazette has a big piece on U.S. Rep. Al Wynn, who some characterize as the puppetmaster of PG County, including such choice bits as:

When U.S. Rep. Albert R. Wynn convened a secret meeting at a Bowie restaurant with a small group of elected officials and told them of his plans for their political futures, someone spread word of the meeting.


But it is Wynn's tendency to weigh in on state legislation and politics that has earned him godfather-like status and criticism from some. "When I was the chair of the delegation, [Wynn] would call," said former Prince George's delegate Rushern Baker, who recently recalled Wynn's unsolicited input. "It is unusual for a federal representative to be this active in local issues."

Activist Donna Edwards is among Wynn's critics. She is a member of the Campaign to Re-Invest in the Heart of Oxon Hill, which has been outspoken against slots and casinos at the proposed National Harbor waterfront development. Regarding slots, Edwards said Wynn "has been quite participatory in a negative and unhelpful way. Al Wynn even transformed the context of the debate from slots to a full-blown casino. I don't think that comports with what the citizens of the county want or with the position most of the local officials have taken," she said. "In fact, I think because he's acting outside of the purview of his congressional duties, he's really undermining our county elected officials. It sends a mixed message about who's in charge of the agenda."

What fun!