Ehrlich Portraits Are Unveiled With Added Pomp

By John Wagner
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, June 4, 2008; B05

Former Maryland governor Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. (R) is shown perched casually on the edge of his State House desk, on which three pieces of legislation passed during his tenure are resting. Former first lady Kendel Ehrlich is depicted on a staircase of the governor's mansion in a striking green dress with pictures of the couple's two boys hanging behind her on the wall.

The official state portraits of both Ehrlichs were formally unveiled last night, in a ceremony that drew hundreds of supporters and dignitaries to the campus of St. John's College in Annapolis.

"We're extremely honored to become part of the history of this great state," Kendel Ehrlich told the crowd, which included Gov. Martin O'Malley (D), who in 2006 defeated Maryland's first Republican governor in a generation. O'Malley was greeted with a smattering of polite applause when introduced during the ceremony.

The event marked a departure from past portrait unveilings, which have been separate, smaller affairs for former governors and their first ladies.

Ehrlich deflected questions from reporters about whether he is interested in a rematch with O'Malley in 2010, saying "tonight is really about the past."

The bills depicted on Ehrlich's desk expanded charter schools in Maryland, established a Cabinet-level department of disabilities, and provided new funding for Chesapeake Bay cleanup.

His portrait was painted by Will Wilson, a friend from grade school who now lives in San Francisco. Kendel Ehrlich's portrait was painted by Moe Hanson of Annapolis.

Serving as master of ceremonies at the event was Edward T. Norris, who was police commissioner during O'Malley's early years as mayor of Baltimore before being lured away by Ehrlich in late 2002 to become state police superintendent. Norris now hosts a radio show in Baltimore.

© 2008 The Washington Post Company