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January 16, 2007

Remembering Casper Taylor, 'man of the people'

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — To his grandchildren, he’s Pop, a whiz at checkers who often beats them and one who’s mastered Spider Solitaire on the computer.

To the people of Cumberland and Western Maryland, he’s the man who has been behind countless projects, some of which have yet to be realized.

To the people of Maryland, he was one the who wielded power as speaker of the House longer than anyone in modern history.

Always, though, he was a man of the people.

He’ll now be remembered forever in the bricks, mortar and hallowed halls of the new addition to the House of Delegates building that was dedicated in his honor Thursday in Annapolis.

With a standing ovation to greet him, Casper R. Taylor Jr. stood before many members of his family — both political and personal — as a plaque to name the building for him was unveiled.

“To the people of Western Maryland, especially the people of Allegany County and to all my colleagues in this house, my heart is filled and it overflows with appreciation and I thank you,” Taylor said.

The Cumberland resident called it an emotional day and applauded the “spirit of partnership” between the House and Senate, including Senate President Thomas V. “Mike” Miller, who attended, that existed throughout his 28 years as a delegate. He also publicly praised the spirit of “collegiality and bipartisanship” that existed during those years.

Taylor said as the addition and renovation of the Thomas Hunter Lowe House of Delegates Building began to take shape, he reached out to five people, many who were on hand Thursday. Speaker of the House Michael Busch, who presided over the ceremony, Pete Rawlings, John Hurson, Tom Lewis and Barbara Oakes.

“These five people did the yeoman’s work of working and devoting their hearts and their talents to a long, creative process,” he said. “All of us today and going into the future owe our deepest appreciation to these people for a job well done.”

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