Hours after participating in a Maryland gubernatorial candidate’s forum at Bowie State University, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz died of cardiac arrest, Baltimore County Police said Thursday.
In a statement, police said Kamenetz felt ill while at his home in Owings Mills at 2 a.m. Police said doctors at the University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center pronounced him dead at 3:22 a.m.
The 60-year-old county executive pushed several proposals that included an education plan to return control of school calendars to local school systems; increase the state’s annual allocation for school construction projects; and appoint a similar Thornton Commission to analyze and eliminate inequities against the state’s four Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
His campaign also raised the most money among his Democratic opponents at $2 million.
Gov. Larry Hogan issued a statement and ordered flags at half-staff.
“The First Lady and I are saddened to learn of the sudden passing of Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz this morning,” Hogan said. “He was a dedicated public servant in Baltimore County for more than two decades, and we join with the citizens of Baltimore County and all Marylanders in mourning.”
Kamenetz’s Democratic opponents expressed their condolences to the executive who oversaw the state’s third largest jurisdiction of 830,000.
“Over the past seven years, we worked together on critical pieces of legislation and shared goals for improving the education of Maryland children, achieving quality health care for all the state’s residents, and creating jobs and opportunity for our constituents,” Prince George’s County Executive Rushern L. Baker III said in a statement. “As much as Kevin was advocating for what was best for Baltimore County, he was also always looking out for all Marylanders.”
“Everyone’s lives in Baltimore County—and beyond—are better because of his tireless leadership,” Krish Vignarajah, former First Lady Michelle Obama police director, said in a statement. “From improving schools to protecting Dreamers, Kevin worked tirelessly for all of us and his passing is a loss to all of Maryland.”
Kamenetz and five other Democrats planned to participate in a candidate’s forum Thursday evening on his home turf at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. Organizers postponed the event and will instead offer a brief tribute to the executive’s life.
“Mr. Kamenetz was an ardent supporter of getting young people involved in the Democratic party,” United for Maryland PAC said in a statement on its Facebook page and one of the event organizers. “He attended every UFM forum. He will be greatly missed.”
Campaign spokesman Sean Naron said no decision has been made on whether supporters will attend Thursday’s tribute at UMBC.
According to Sol Levinson & Bros., funeral services for Kamenetz will take place at 2 p.m. Friday at the Baltimore Hebrew Congregation, 7401 Park Heights Ave. Kamenetz is survived by his wife, Jill, and their two sons.