|33rd Comptroller of Maryland|
January 22, 2007
|Member of the Maryland House of Delegates|
from the 20th district
|Born||November 25, 1947|
New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.
|Education||Amherst College (BA)|
Northeastern University (JD)
Peter V. R. Franchot (born November 25, 1947) is an American politician who is the 33rd Comptroller of Maryland. A member of the Democratic Party, Franchot served for 20 years in the Maryland House of Delegates representing Takoma Park and Silver Spring. He was elected comptroller in 2006, and has subsequently been re-elected three times.
Franchot obtained a B.A. in English from Amherst College in 1973, after serving in the United States Army from 1968 to 1970. He graduated from Northeastern University School of Law with a J.D. in 1978. After graduating from law school, Franchot worked as legislative counsel for the Union of Concerned Scientists. He then served as staff director for then-Congressman Ed Markey of Massachusetts from 1980-1986. After his election to the legislature in 1986, Franchot was a self-employed business development consultant.
From 1987 to 2007, Franchot served in the Maryland House of Delegates, representing the 20th legislative district, which includes Takoma Park and Silver Spring. Franchot was a member of the Appropriations Committee and chaired the Public Safety and Administration Subcommittee, as well as the Transportation and the Environment Subcommittee.
In 1988, while serving his first term in the House of Delegates, Franchot ran for Maryland's 8th congressional district against incumbent Connie Morella (R-MD). Morella defeated Franchot, 63% to 37%, in the general election.
During the years leading up to his 2006 bid for comptroller, Franchot opposed Governor Ehrlich's efforts to expand slot machine gambling in Maryland.
Franchot ran in the Democratic primary for Comptroller of Maryland against incumbent William Donald Schaefer and Anne Arundel County Executive Janet S. Owens. In the primary, Franchot edged out Owens by 15,000 votes, pushing Schaefer into third place. Franchot won the Washington, D.C., suburbs (Montgomery County and Prince George's County), Owens won in Central Maryland (Howard County and Anne Arundel County), and Schaefer won in Baltimore City and Baltimore County. Franchot defeated the Republican nominee, Anne McCarthy, in the general election on November 7, 2006. Franchot was sworn into office on January 22, 2007. In 2018, Franchot defeated Republican challenger Anjali Reed Phukan.
Franchot considered running for the 2014 Democratic nomination for governor. In December 2012, he announced he would instead seek re-election as comptroller.
Franchot took office on January 22, 2007 and was re-elected in 2010, 2014, and 2018. As comptroller, Franchot has supported adding toll lanes on the beltway and I-270, requiring schools to open after Labor Day, and reducing restrictions on craft beer sales in Maryland.
In an interview with WYPR in July 2018, Franchot announced that he would not endorse his party's nominee for governor, Ben Jealous, and will instead remain neutral in the gubernatorial contest. "I think I'm probably going to remain neutral in that race--simply because it's important for me to get along with whoever is elected," Franchot said.
Franchot, along with the governor and the state treasurer, compose the Board of Public Works--a constitutionally-appointed body that is charged with reviewing and approving most state contracts, issuing wetlands licenses, approving the expenditure of general obligation bond funds and funds for capital improvements, among other duties.
During his tenure on the Board, Franchot has worked to advance initiatives that reform the state's procurement process and practices, including the reduction of single-bid contracts, increased participation among minority and women-owned enterprises, and opposing contracts that he deems to be wasteful of taxpayer dollars.
Franchot has used his seat on the Board of Public Works and his high-profile political position to publicly pressure officials in Baltimore City and Baltimore County to immediately install air-conditioning units in aging school facilities that lack HVAC systems.
He frequently sparred with school system leaders and elected officials from Baltimore County, a jurisdiction that in 2011, had 65 school buildings without air-conditioning. His public spats with County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, a fellow Democrat, over this issue has alienated Franchot from members of his own party.
Towards the end of the 2016 Legislative Session, top legislative leaders, who objected to Franchot's frequent criticism, inserted language in budget bills to prevent the use of state funds for portable air-conditioning units in schools, which aligned with Kamenentz's view. In the same legislative session, lawmakers sought to end a practice--known as "beg-a-thon"--where school system leaders appear before the Board of Public Works to request additional school construction funding.
Later that year in May, the Board of Public Works reversed the General Assembly's ban on using taxpayer dollars for window air-conditioning units. At the same meeting, Hogan and Franchot voted to withhold $15 million in school construction funding from Baltimore City and Baltimore County until the two jurisdictions came up with plans to address the lack of air-conditioning in dozens of their schools.
In response, Kamenetz released a plan that accelerates the county's installation timeline by one year.
A few months later, the Board restored the funding to the jurisdictions.
In September 2016, Franchot and the president of the Maryland State NAACP chapter, Gerald Stansbury, wrote a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate the lack of air-conditioning in public schools in Baltimore City and Baltimore County. They wrote that the sweltering conditions in these schools, predominantly in financially-depressed communities, amounted to a "blatant neglect" of students' civil rights.
Franchot continued to spar with legislative leaders and local officials over this issue.
During the 2018 legislative session, top Democratic leaders voted to strip the Board of Public Works of its oversight and management of the state's public school construction program. Despite a veto from Hogan, the legislature overrode the governor along party lines. Del. Maggie McIntosh (D-Baltimore City), chairwoman of the House Appropriations Committee and floor leader for the legislation, directly cited Franchot's outspokenness about the air-conditioning issue as a reason contributing to this decision.
The legislation established a task force whose membership is appointed by the governor and the legislative presiding officers to oversee and disburse taxpayer dollars for school construction investments.
Franchot campaigned against bringing slot machine gambling to Maryland. As a member of the House of Delegates, he led a successful coalition of lawmakers to oppose the Constitutional amendment to legalize slots. The coalition succeeded in placing before the voters a Constitutional amendment to legalize slots.
In 2008, Franchot, along with hundreds of others, launched Marylanders United to Stop Slots to encourage a 'no' vote on the referendum. Franchot argued that the high social costs of increased crime, broken families and bankruptcies would outweigh any revenue gains.
Franchot's opposition to the slots referendum put him at odds with fellow members of his own party, including Gov. Martin O'Malley and Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, both of whom were prominent proponents of the slots referendum.
The 2008 slots referendum passed by a narrow margin, 52 percent to 48 percent.
In 2012, another gambling referendum was placed on the ballot that sought to expand gambling in Maryland with the addition of a new casino in Prince George's County and the addition of table games.
In an interview with the Washington Examiner in 2012 on gambling expansion in Maryland, Franchot expressed heavy skepticism about the promise of casino revenue being used for educational purposes. "Any education funding that goes into the Education Trust Fund is subject to being raided by the legislature," Franchot said. "That is what's happened historically; that inevitably is what will happen again."
In the 2018 Legislative Session--six years after proponents of the casino gambling claimed that casino revenue would support Maryland's public schools--the General Assembly passed legislation that would allow voters to place a lockbox on gambling revenue that was promised to be dedicated to education, essentially acknowledging that earlier claims of increased education funding did not come to fruition. In an interview, Franchot said, "The Governor back then. The legislative leaders. All of them knew this was fundamentally a lie... It was a crass, cynical effort to dupe people."
Franchot--citing benefits to tourism-dependent businesses, families, and teachers--was a strong proponent of having a post-Labor Day start for Maryland public schools. Local school boards of education previously had the authority to determine the start date and end date of school years, and Franchot decried some school systems who started school years in mid-August and ended well into the month of June.
In 2013, a report published by the Maryland Bureau of Revenue Estimates found that a post-Labor Day school start would generate an additional $74.3 million in direct economic activity, including $3.7 million in new wages, and $7.7 million in state and local revenue.
In June 2014, a 19-member legislative task force that included teachers, administrators, parents, business owners, and lawmakers overwhelmingly voted to recommend that the Governor and the General Assembly adopt a post-Labor Day school start. The task force found no evidence that a later school start date would have a detrimental impact on students' learning experience, and teachers' ability to plan and perform their duties.
Franchot launched a petition urging policymakers to adopt a post-Labor Day school start. Nearly 25,000 citizens, including Hogan and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley (D), signed the petition. Public polls have shown that a vast majority of Marylanders--with figures ranging from 92 and 67 percent, respectively--support the measure.
Despite legislation being introduced to implement a post-Labor Day school start, the bills stalled and never passed.
In August 2016, Hogan--with Franchot and a host of elected officials present--signed an executive order during a press event on the Ocean City Boardwalk mandating that public schools start after Labor Day.
During the 2017 Legislative Session, Maryland legislators passed a bill that imposed restrictions on the sale and distribution of craft beer products in the state. While legislators who advocated for the measure argued that the legislation was a step in the right direction, Maryland craft brewers viewed it as too restrictive.
The legislation, then designated as House Bill 1283, contained provisions such as prohibiting breweries from selling beer on-premises unless the products were brewed and fermented entirely on site; prohibited contract brewing, which helps startup breweries gain their footing in the market; rolled back taproom hours of operation; and included language that required any additional 1,000 barrels--beyond the 500-barrel annual limit on taproom beer sales--be bought from wholesalers at a marked up cost. The bill, heavily amended after heavy criticism from stakeholders and the public, was eventually passed by the legislature.
Towards the end of the legislative session, Franchot criticized the General Assembly for adopting House Bill 1283.
A day after the legislature closed its 90-day session, Franchot traveled to a craft brewery in Frederick to announce that he was a forming the "Reform on Tap" task force to study Maryland's craft beer laws and propose reforms to what he considered to be "antiquated, dysfunctional, anti-small business, and anti-consumer."
Franchot's task force, which was composed of 40 members from the craft brewing industry and also included four lawmakers, met over a nine-month period and culminated with a release of a report and an announcement that the comptroller would introduce legislation seeking to loosen existing restrictions on the craft brewing industry in Maryland.
In response to Franchot, delegates Ben Kramer (D-Montgomery County) and Warren Miller (R-Howard County) introduced legislation forming a task force to study which agency is best suited to regulate the alcohol industry in Maryland.
After a hearing in the House Economic Matters Committee that lasted several hours and featured dozens of brewers, elected officials, and other stakeholders who testified in support of Franchot's bill, the committee voted 17-4 to reject the comptroller's legislation. After learning of the bill's defeat, Franchot once again lambasted legislators by saying, "The corporate beer lobbyists did their job and got their money's worth... Our independent craft brewers ... have once again received the message that our state's leaders are fundamentally hostile to their line of work."
Franchot has stated he will continue his advocacy for the craft beer industry until reforms are adopted.
|Maryland House of Delegates 20th District Democratic Primary Election, 1986|
|Democratic||Sheila Ellis Hixson (inc.)||5,921||14|
|Democratic||Dana Lee Dembrow||5,341||13|
|Democratic||DeVance Walker, Jr.||3,904||10|
|Maryland House of Delegates 20th District Election, 1986|
|Democratic||Dana Lee Dembrow||17,457||24|
|Democratic||Sheila Ellis Hixson (inc.)||17,255||23|
|Republican||James Gordon Bennett||7,431||10|
|Maryland's 8th Congressional District Election, 1988|
|Republican||Connie Morella (inc.)||172,619||62.7|
|Maryland House of Delegates 20th District Democratic Primary Election, 1990|
|Democratic||Peter Franchot (inc.)||8,202||22|
|Democratic||Dana Lee Dembrow (inc.)||7,959||21|
|Democratic||Sheila Ellis Hixson (inc.)||7,553||20|
|Maryland House of Delegates 20th District Election, 1990|
|Democratic||Dana Lee Dembrow (inc.)||18,303||34|
|Democratic||Sheila Ellis Hixson (inc.)||17,958||33|
|Democratic||Peter Franchot (inc.)||17,871||33|
|Maryland House of Delegates 20th District Democratic Primary Election, 1994|
|Democratic||Dana Lee Dembrow (inc.)||8,276||27|
|Democratic||Sheila Ellis Hixson (inc.)||7,312||24|
|Democratic||Peter Franchot (inc.)||7,307||24|
|Maryland House of Delegates 20th District Election, 1994|
|Democratic||Dana Lee Dembrow (inc.)||19,679||30|
|Democratic||Sheila Ellis Hixson (inc.)||19,423||29|
|Democratic||Peter Franchot (inc.)||18,854||28|
|Maryland House of Delegates 20th District Democratic Primary Election, 1998|
|Democratic||Dana Lee Dembrow (inc.)||7,758||30|
|Democratic||Sheila Ellis Hixson (inc.)||7,558||29|
|Democratic||Peter Franchot (inc.)||6,487||25|
|Maryland House of Delegates 20th District Election, 1998|
|Democratic||Dana Lee Dembrow (inc.)||22,396||27|
|Democratic||Sheila Ellis Hixson (inc.)||21,895||27|
|Democratic||Peter Franchot (inc.)||21,208||26|
|Republican||James Harrison, Jr.||5,602||7|
|Maryland House of Delegates 20th District Democratic Primary Election, 2002|
|Democratic||Sheila Ellis Hixson (inc.)||9,720||28.3|
|Democratic||Peter Franchot (inc.)||8,278||24.1|
|Democratic||Dana Lee Dembrow (inc.)||3,601||10.5|
|Maryland House of Delegates 20th District Election, 2002|
|Democratic||Sheila Ellis Hixson (inc.)||19,841||26.72|
|Democratic||Peter Franchot (inc.)||18,273||24.61|
|Republican||Jae Donald Collins||5,294||7.13|
|Maryland Comptroller Democratic Primary Election, 2006|
|Democratic||William Donald Schaefer||174,071||29.5|
|Maryland Comptroller Election, 2006|
|Maryland Comptroller Election, 2010|
|Democratic||Peter Franchot (inc.)||1,087,836||61.1|
|Republican||William Henry Campbell||691,461||38.8|
|Maryland Comptroller Election, 2014|
|Democratic||Peter Franchot (inc.)||1,061,267||62.7|
|Republican||William Henry Campbell||630,109||37.2|
|Other/Write-in||Anjali Reed Phukan||595||0.0|
|Maryland Comptroller Election, 2018|
|Democratic||Peter Franchot (inc.)||1,620,264||72.1|
|Republican||Anjali Reed Phukan||624,871||27.8|