Del. Kathleen Dumais has been promoted to majority leader in the Maryland House of Delegates, one of more than a dozen leadership changes announced Wednesday by Speaker Michael E. Busch (D-Anne Arundel).
Dumais (D-Montgomery County) replaces C. William Frick (D-Montgomery County), who ran unsuccessfully for county executive. She currently serves as vice chair of the Judiciary Committee, and with the primary defeat of long-serving Chairman Joseph F. Vallario Jr. (D-Prince George’s), the top spot on the panel comes open next session.
Because two House committees are already chaired by lawmakers from Montgomery County, Dumais was never considered a likely candidate for that influential post, lawmakers said.
Instead, Busch has tapped Del. Luke Clippinger (D-Baltimore City) to succeed Vallario.
“There was no better choice for Majority Leader than Kathleen leading us in to the next term,” Busch said in a statement. “Kathleen has proven herself to be a consensus builder and is one of the hardest working members in the House of Delegates – often working from dawn until dusk. I am confident she will bring energy and focus to the Majority Leader position.”
Dumais was first elected in 2002.
Vallario, the longest-serving committee chairman in the General Assembly, has been a polarizing figure, and many criminal justice reform and victims’ rights advocates are ecstatic to see him depart.
Clippinger, 45, a favorite of progressive activists, was 2 when Vallario was sworn in for his first term in 1975.
“This is the first change for leadership in the House Judiciary Committee in 25 years and Luke is the right person for the job,” Busch said. “Criminal justice policy is evolving more rapidly every year and I am pleased to name an experienced practitioner to lead this committee for the next term. Luke has proven himself time and again as having the ability to work with people from all backgrounds and bring a common sense, forward-thinking approach to policy issues.”
Among the other promotions announced by the speaker:
— Del. Vanessa Atterbeary (D-Howard County) will become vice chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
— Del. Eric Bromwell (D-Baltimore County) will become the vice chairman of the House Economic Matters Committee.
— Del. Joseline Peña-Melnyk (D-Prince George’s, Anne Arundel) will become the vice chairman of the House Health and Government Operations Committee.
— Del. Kris Valderrama (D-Prince George’s) will become the deputy speaker pro tem.
— Del. Keith Haynes (D-Baltimore City) will become the deputy majority leader.
— Del. Eric Luedtke (D-Montgomery) will become chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.
— Del. Jazz Lewis (D-Prince George’s) will become vice chairman of the House Democratic Caucus.
— Del. Darryl Barnes (D-Prince George’s) becomes assistant speaker pro tem.
— Del. Cheryl Glenn (D-Baltimore) will serve as vice chairman of House Rules and Executive Nominations.
— Del. Michael Jackson (D-Prince George’s) will serve as chairman of the Joint Committee on Cybersecurity, Information Technology and Biotechnology.
–Del. Samuel I. Rosenberg (D-Baltimore) is to become chair of the Joint Legislative Ethics Committee. Busch said additional leadership announcements will be made later this year.