Thursday, September 09, 2010

Tobacco Tussle

Senator Jennie Forehand (D-17) is hitting challenger Cheryl Kagan for allegedly being in the pocket of Big Tobacco and Kagan is burning over it. Take a deep breath, folks, and read on!

Here’s Forehand’s negative mailer on tobacco.

And here’s Kagan’s response.


For more information, contact:
Will Rice at


(Rockville MD, September 8, 2010)—In what’s becoming a sad pattern of desperation, 32-year incumbent Jennie Forehand today again smeared State Senate challenger Cheryl Kagan with a gross distortion of the facts. Ironically, Forehand’s latest wild charge involved child heath-- a cause Forehand abandoned when she sided with commercial property interests against our kids over lead paint testing. Meanwhile, Kagan’s hand-delivered request that Forehand reveal the sources of $36,351 in anonymous campaign donations went unanswered for a third day.

Forehand’s latest outrageous accusation-- that Kagan was influenced by tobacco lobbyists-- is easily dispelled by the facts. Cheryl co-sponsored a bill to raise the tobacco tax by 139% (, and when that failed to pass, supported an 83% hike ( The Washington Post has called her “a strong supporter of limiting tobacco use.” ( Cheryl doesn’t smoke, never has, and has never taken a dime from the tobacco industry.

That record of financial independence from interests endangering our kids is not matched by Forehand, who voted against simple, life-saving lead-paint regulations while receiving over $16,000 in campaign contributions from apartment building owners and others who would just as soon keep tenants in the dark about the lead paint on their walls. ( Of course, since Forehand continues to hide the sources of more than one-fifth of her campaign contributions, she may well have received even more from lead-paint interests.

“What’s disappointing about these personal attacks is that Jennie knows the truth, since she was there,” said Kagan, who served for eight years with Forehand as a member of the Montgomery County legislative delegation. “It shows that she and the Annapolis insiders will do anything to keep her in office.”

Kagan did oppose a whopping 278% tobacco tax hike because of the devastating effect it would have had on Maryland’s small business. If that increase had passed, Maryland’s tax would have been over double D.C.’s rate, and over 50 times what Virginia charged. Family-owned markets and filling stations would have lost millions of dollars in sales of other products like groceries and gas as smokers avoided Maryland retail outlets.

Kagan noted at the time of the proposed job-killing tax that Maryland was about to receive over $2 billion for smoking cessation programs from the tobacco industry as part of the national tobacco settlement. (

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NOTE: Forehand’s misleading reference to accepting $2,000 in gifts from lobbyists refers to a personal romantic relationship with a guy who happened to be a lobbyist. (Among his clients is the American Lung Association!) All the details can be found at

Cheryl C. Kagan
Democrat for State Senate!
Citizens Helping Elect Cheryl Kagan (C.H.E.C.K.)