Professional athletes aren’t the only ones contemplating the merits of a visit to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue in Washington, D.C.
Maryland State Sen. Cheryl Kagan (Dist. 17) spent the past few days mulling whether to accept an invitation to the White House.
She recently received an email inviting state and local officials to the White House during the first week of October.
“I don’t know if there was a dozen or hundreds” of other politicians receiving the same email, she said. She knows directly of just one other person invited.
The email itself was short, she said. “Frankly, there was a real lack of details.”
Kagan, no fan of President Donald Trump, wasn’t sure she wanted to attend.
She turned to Facebook, asking her followers what they thought.
Her post read: “I’m curious as to your opinion. The White House has invited me (among lots of other legislators, I assume) to a meeting there. Would you suggest that I boycott because of my opinions about Trump policies? Or do you think I should attend because of the opportunity to engage on important issues facing our state?”
One-hundred and sixty-six people commented.
The results were “mixed,” Kagan said.
“There was a consensus that I should, which I was inclined to do,” she said in a recent telephone interview.
Some of her followers who want her to attend wrote: “I’d go so they can’t operate in a vacuum;” “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer;” and “Go and Give them Hell!”
A few others who advocated for Kagan to attend warned her not to get trapped into a photo shoot with President Trump that might seem like she was a supporter.
Those opposing her appearance wrote: “Boycott. This is not a normal White House and not worthy of respect” and “Stay away.”
As of now, Kagan intends to attend.
“I have decided it seems wise to go. I have a great disdain for this President and his dangerous policies, but we are talking about the President of the United States and the very powerful executive branch,” explained the senator, who represents the Rockville and Gaithersburg area.
She doesn’t expect Trump to be there but does think members of his staff and policy wonks will be.
If she has the chance, Kagan intends to speak with a member of Trump’s staff about bringing more federal dollars to Maryland.
“I would seek to lobby about funding for 911 upgrades and our Metro system,” she said.
Updating the emergency 911 system “is very expensive. Federal funds will be a great help,” she explained.
As for public transportation, Kagan noted that “about one-third of Metro riders are federal employees.”
Therefore, she said, the federal government needs to allocate funds. Maryland, Virginia and the District of Columbia “have all stepped up,” she said.
A lack of additional Metro money from the federal government “seems irresponsible,” Kagan said.