Presidential aspirant and two-term Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley flew to Burlington Tuesday to meet with Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin as the former prepares to hand off the chairmanship of the Democratic Governors Association to the latter.
"I just wanted to meet with him in his element and pass the baton," O'Malley told Seven Days after polishing off lunch with his fellow gov.
That would be Burlington's Farmhouse Tap and Grill, where the two dined with DGA executive director Colm O'Comartun and Shumlin chief of staff Bill Lofy, who is leaving state government to serve as Shumlin's liaison to the DGA.
(Pictured in photo, from left to right: Lofy, Shumlin, O'Comartun and O'Malley)
"I wanted to come up and see Gov. Peter Shumlin, who I anticipate and hope will be the next chair of the Democratic Governors Association," O'Malley said. "He's become a dear friend to me and I have a great deal of respect for how he governs and his leadership abilities. And so I just wanted to come up here and sit down and talk about the transition forward after what was a really good year."
Shumlin hasn't officially been elected to chair the DGA. That's expected to happen during the organization's winter meeting in Los Angeles in two weeks. But O'Malley indicated it's a done deal.
"I think Gov. Shumlin's gonna do great," O'Malley said. "His fellow governors believe he's a person who can speak clearly from the perspective of all of the Democratic governors and also stay on that most important of all issue, which is jobs and opportunity."
Asked what advice he has for his successor, O'Malley said, "Any effective governor knows you have to surround yourself with good people and you have to make every decision on what's best for the overall mission. And I think that's why the DGA's been successful. We've had a very good political staff, fundraising staff. You know, we fight to win."