Once outgoing head Dave Schwartz accepted a position with Congressman Andy Harris, the top spot at Maryland’s Americans for Prosperity outpost became available. Earlier this week the group announced Charles Lollar, who ran in 2010 to unseat Steny Hoyer in Maryland’s Fifth Congressional District and briefly flirted before that with a run for the GOP gubernatorial nomination, would take over as the state’s AFP head:
Grassroots free-market group Americans for Prosperity (AFP) is pleased to welcome aboard Charles Lollar, Newburg resident, and Marine Corp Officer, as the new Maryland state director.
“Charles has stood alongside Americans fighting for free market ideas right here in the Maryland Free State, and he’s stood alongside American soldiers overseas serving in the US Marine Corp,” said Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity. “We’re proud to welcome him as the leader of AFP’s Maryland state chapter.”
“Maryland has the potential to be one of the most economically competitive states in the country,” said Lollar. “The Maryland chapter of Americans for Prosperity is ready to work with its members to urge the governor and legislature to rein in wasteful spending and get a hold of the state’s unsustainable budget.”
Lollar has been active in numerous community organizations. He served on the Executive Board of Directors for the Maryland Chamber of Commerce and is a member of the DC Chamber of Commerce. He is a graduate of Leadership Maryland and Leadership Prince George’s County. ‘
He served as the Chairman of the Maryland Taxpayers Commission, fighting to protect the interests of Maryland taxpayers. Lollar currently lives in Charles County with his wife, Rosha, and their four children.
Certainly Lollar is a dynamic speaker and there’s no doubt he’s conservative. Perhaps the only fly in the ointment when it comes to those who criticize AFP for being too chummy with the Maryland GOP is that Lollar is also a former Charles County GOP Chair and served as the head of former State Chair Jim Pelura’s Commission for Citizen Tax Relief, which looked at state spending in 2009.
(Just as an aside, in re-reading that Ten Questions I had to shake my head at the statement Jim made in the interview, “the party will not endorse any candidate pre-primary.” Obviously that didn’t fly when Audrey Scott took over. You’ll hear more from Jim later today.)
For another vocal critic of the AFP it appears there’s cautious optimism. But I think Charles is going to have to play with the hand he’s dealt insofar as tax rules are concerned. That’s not to say he can’t be a forceful voice for fiscal conservatism and certainly he can use this position to build his statewide profile for a future political run – as I recall, Charles is only in his early forties so he’s still a pretty young guy politically. We happen to be at a point in the political cycle where education is more important than campaigning.
In my estimation, perhaps the most important job for Charles in the near future is spreading the message of the benefits of fiscal conservatism. Get in front of the Maryland General Assembly and make sure there’s plenty of media in the joint when you speak. If you get the chance to show up to speak to Congress, make sure to say hi to Steny Hoyer (just don’t let him smack you around.)
And at least on a local level, the AFP could use a shot in the arm. Maybe Charles needs to take some time, come down here, and whip up the troops’ morale. He possesses the energy and exuberance that the organization needs in a leader, but time will tell if he was the right choice for what AFP Maryland wishes to accomplish.
Regardless, from what I know about Charles I think he’ll do just fine.