News Article

Cardin addresses new Southern Maryland National Heritage Area
January 30, 2023


By: Jesse Yeatman

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) was the keynote speaker on Jan. 19 in Annapolis for the legislative dinner of the Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland. He was introduced by executive director of the newly designated Southern Maryland National Heritage Area, Lucille Walker.

“It was the senator’s legislation in conjunction with Congressman [Steny] Hoyer’s legislation, and with the support of Sen. [Chris] Van Hollen, that accomplished in two years what normally takes well over a decade, if at all,” Walker said. “This unique designation not only shines a national light on the region and establishes further funding, but it brings to all of us the story of the region, and why that story matters.”

Cardin in his key note address noted the significance of Southern Maryland to the nation’s history, highlighted Mallows Bay-Potomac River National Marine Sanctuary, and said that the Southern Maryland National Heritage Area designation “comes with $10 million dollars for the region.” He stressed the need for “unity” as the country moves forward with important objectives.

Walker noted the bipartisan nature of the national heritage area legislation, and said that “the earliest supporter from the Maryland General Assembly was Sen. Jack Bailey (R-St. Mary’s), followed quickly by the support of Sen. Michael Jackson (D-Calvert, Charles, Prince George’s), as well as many others, both Republican and Democrat.”

In attendance at the dinner were members of the Maryland General Assembly including Jackson, Bailey, Sen. Arthur Ellis (D-Charles), Sen. James Rosapepe (D-Prince George’s, Anne Arundel), Del. Edith Patterson (D-Charles), Del. Mark Fisher (R-Calvert), Del. Matt Morgan (St. Mary’s), Del. Todd Morgan (R-St. Mary’s, Calvert).

County commissioners included Charles commissioners Amanda Stewart (D) and Ralph Patterson (D), St. Mary’s Commissioner Mike Alderson (R), Calvert Commissioner Buddy Hance (R) and Steve Weems, a former Calvert commissioner.

Also in attendance: Charlotte Davis, the executive director of the Rural Maryland Council, members and staff of the Tri-County Council including Executive Director John Hartline, Joseph Gilbert Murphy, Mayor Jeannine James of the Town of La Plata, Southern Maryland Agricultural Development Commission Director Shelby Watson, Stefanie Barone representative from Hoyer’s office and Roderick Lewis from Cardin‘s office, as well as the Patuxent River Keeper Fred Tutman, Calvert Marine Museum Director Jeffrey Murray, Charles County Historic Preservation Commission Chair Franklin A. Robinson Jr., Cultural Resources for the Maryland Department of Transportation Chief Julie Schablitsky, representatives from the Maryland Department of Commerce and others in support of the region.

A launch event of the newly designated Southern Maryland National Heritage Area is being planned for the summer, with a date and location to be determined soon.

Destination Southern Maryland is the public face of the Southern Maryland Heritage Area. This state-based heritage area is one of the 13 Heritage Areas in Maryland and was founded in 2003. This organization represents Calvert, Charles and St. Mary’s counties.

Destination Southern Maryland is the heritage tourism entity for Southern Maryland with a mission to enhance the region through innovative heritage tourism experiences, comprehensive cultural and natural resource conservation, and excellence in educational opportunities.

This organization assists Southern Maryland with economic development and works directly with the tourism entities in each of the three counties, as well as providing grants, building partnerships and promoting regional identity. To learn more about Destination Southern Maryland, visit the website