The Rural Maryland Council met on Wednesday Dec. 2, 2015 in Annapolis and elected officers for the 2016 calendar year. The council elected the following officers:

• Chairman: Doris Mason

• First Vice Chairman: Josh Hastings

• Second Vice Chairman: Matt Teffeau

Doris Mason currently serves as the executive director of the Upper Shore Regional Council where she provides leadership on key projects for the USRC as it partners with public and private entities to optimize the physical, economic and social well-being of the residents of Cecil, Kent and Queen Anne’s Counties.

“I am looking forward to serving the residents of Rural Maryland and am excited for this opportunity,” said Mason. “We plan to focus our leadership towards enhancing our state’s investments in our rural areas through the Rural Maryland Prosperity Investment Fund, so that our rural regions can grow economically to be the prosperous places we know they can be.”

Josh Hastings currently serves as policy director for the Eastern Shore Land Conservancy where he monitors land use policies at the local, state, and federal government levels.

“With the 2016 Legislative Session of the Maryland General Assembly fast approaching, we look forward to continuing our conversation regarding rural economic development, protection of agricultural lands and encouraging the development of renewable energy,” Hastings said.

Matt Teffeau serves as assistant government elations director for the Maryland Farm Bureau where he is responsible for issues in transportation, wildlife, energy and poultry.

“Agriculture is an essential part of our rural economy. We want to ensure its continued viability while protecting our rural communities and cultural heritage,” he said.

Scott Warner of the Mid-Shore Regional Council serves on the RMC Executive Committee as the immediate past president.

Since its inception in 1994, the Rural Maryland Council is the only statewide entity working to advance the interests of rural Marylanders across the state. The 40-member board represents each rural region including the rural for-profit and nonprofit communities, elected officials from the state and local levels and federal, state and local agencies.

The RMC represents approximately 1.6 million Marylanders. Since 2001, the RMC has awarded almost $3.3 million in small grants to rural areas serving nonprofit organizations that undertake statewide and regional planning, economic and community development and forestry education projects. For Fiscal Year 2016, the council will focus on broadband, agriculture, youth, energy, workforce and economic development and health care.

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