Gov. Martin O’Malley has named Stephen Neuman as his new director of public affairs. Neuman began his job as a top adviser to the governor in early January.
The veteran Washington political operative, a lawyer, is expected to prove valuable to the state and also to Gov. O’Malley personally should the governor decide to run for president in 2016.
Neuman last worked as a senior adviser to O’Malley’s federal political action committee, O’Say Can You See. When politicians start federal PACs, it is often viewed as being associated with a run for national office. O’Malley’s term as chairman of the Democratic Governors Association ended last year, but he is now its finance chair. Neuman was chief of staff for President Barack Obama’s North Carolina campaign in 2008. (Obama scored a major upset over Sen. John McCain and became the first Democrat since Jimmy Carter in 1976 to carry the state.)
Neuman worked as a senior adviser to Gov. Bev Perdue of North Carolina, and his first job after college was as a special assistant to former Gov. Mel Carnahan of Missouri. In addition, Neuman served as a legislative assistant for Sens. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) and Jean Carnahan (D-Mo.).
Neuman is a native of St. Louis, where he attended Jewish day school from kindergarten through fifth grade. He graduated from the University of Missouri with a B.A.in political science and earned his J.D. at Washington University in St. Louis.
He lives with his older brother in Washington and has a younger brother who lives in Jerusalem and studies at a yeshiva. In addition to going to Israel for his bar mitzvah, Neuman participated in a summer program at Alexander Muss High School in the Israeli city of Hod Hasharon. He took courses in Jewish history and traveled throughout Israel on tiyulim. He said his Israel experience was “a powerful effort to instill a Jewish identity and connection to Israel.”
In an interview with the JT last week, Neuman said, “I think one of the teachings in Jewish culture instilled in me by my family is the notion of tikkun olam.” He said it is his hope to help the governor improve Maryland’s economy and create jobs and pointed to the value and rewards of investment in education, which has been a priority for his new boss.
When asked if he were chosen to help the governor in his potential run for the presidency, he matter-of-factly replied, “I’m not sure what the governor’s plans are other than trying to be the best governor he can be and serve the state of Maryland.”