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Government & Politics

Speaker Jones Announces Dozens of Leadership, Committee Changes

The Maryland House of Delegates chamber. Photo from Wikimedia Commons.

Maryland House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones has appointed another African American woman as her speaker pro tem.

Del. Sheree Sample-Hughes (D-Lower Shore), who has served in the General Assembly since 2015, will be Jones’ back-up in the 2020 legislative session, the speaker announced Friday evening. The assistant speaker pro tem will be Del. Bonnie Cullison (D-Montgomery), replacing Del. Darryl Barnes (D-Prince George’s).

The changes were among dozens by Jones to House leadership and committee assignments. The speaker, who made Maryland history as the first woman and first African American to lead the House chamber, was elected by the chamber on May 1, following the death of former Speaker Michael E. Busch (D).

Jones’ office said she made the changes after more than 100 hours of meetings with delegates to “evaluate the needs of the House moving forward.”

Del. Eric G. Luedtke (D-Montgomery) will be the new majority leader. He replaces Del. Kathleen M. Dumais (D-Montgomery), who will become House chairwoman of the Joint Legislative Ethics Committee, as well as vice chairwoman of the Economic Matters Committee.

All six standing committee chairs remaining the same.

But there were shake-ups in subcommittee leadership positions — several of them on the Appropriations Committee where Jones had a seat since 1997. The new subcommittee leadership positions are:

  • Del. Tawanna Gaines (D-Prince George’s) will become chairwoman of the capital budget subcommittee. Del. Mark S. Chang (D-Anne Arundel) will be vice chairman.
  • Del. Marc Korman (D-Montgomery) will replace Gaines as chairman of the Transportation and the Environment Subcommittee; Del. Carol Krimm (D-Frederick) will become vice chairwoman.
  • Del. Pat Young (D-Baltimore County) will replace Korman as chairman of the Oversight Committee of Personnel, where he was previously vice chair.
  • Del. Ben Barnes (D-Anne Arundel and Prince George’s) will be elevated from vice chairman to chairman of the Education & Economic Development Subcommittee. Del. Shelly L. Hettleman (D-Baltimore County) will be vice chairwoman.
  • Del. Michael A. Jackson (D-Calvert and Prince George’s) will become vice chairman of the Public Safety Subcommittee.

There were several changes in subcommittee leadership at the Environment and Transportation Committee as well. Committee Vice Chairman Dana Stein (D-Baltimore County) will become chairman of the Environment Subcommittee, and Del. Jim Gilchrist (D-Montgomery) will replace Stein as chairman of the Natural Resources Subcommittee. Del. Brooke E. Lierman (D-Baltimore City), who is moving to the Environment and Transportation Committee from Appropriations, will chair the Land Use and Ethics Subcommittee.

Other new members of the Environment and Transportation Committee will be Del. Carl Anderton (R-Lower Shore) and Del. Jen Terrasa (D-Howard).

Three members will shift to Appropriations: Del. Tony Bridges (D-Baltimore City), Del. Ric Metzgar (R-Baltimore County) and Del. Shaneka Henson (D-Anne Arundel), who was sworn in to replace Busch in May.

Two members will shift to the Ways and Means Committee: Del. Mary Ann Lisanti (D-Harford) and Del. Andrew Cassilly (R-Cecil and Harford). Lisanti was stripped of her seat on the Economic Matters Committee last session, when she was censured for using a racial slur at an after-hours gathering of lawmakers.

Del. Veronica Turner (D-Prince George’s) will move to the Economic Matters Committee and Del. Teresa Reilly (R-Cecil and Harford) will move to the Health and Government Operations Committee.

Other committee leadership appointments are:

  • Chairman of the Joint Committee on Unemployment Insurance: Del. Ned Carey (D-Anne Arundel), who will also be chairman of the Economic Matters Unemployment Insurance Subcommittee.
  • Chairman of the Joint Committee on Fair Practices: Del. Erek L. Barron (D-Prince George’s).
  • Chairman of the Joint Committee on Behavioral Health and Opioid Use Disorders: Del. Kirill Reznik (D-Montgomery).
  • Co-chairs of the Commission on Economic Stability: Dels. Pam Queen (D-Montgomery) and Mike McKay (R-Allegany and Washington).

Other leadership changes in the House chamber include Del. Jazz Lewis (D-Prince George’s) becoming Democratic caucus chairman and Del. Alonzo T. Washington (D-Prince George’s) becoming parliamentarian. Del. Courtney Watson (D-Howard) will be Democratic caucus vice chairwoman.

The chief deputy majority whips to Majority Whip Talmadge Branch (D-Baltimore City) will be Ben Barnes and Del. Benjamin Brooks (D-Baltimore County), who represents the same district as Jones.

“Today’s appointments to House leadership recognize the hard work and talent of our members and bring new leaders and new voices to the table,” Jones said in a statement. “I am confident that we have the right leadership in place to meet the challenges before us, including implementing the Kirwan recommendations, adding over $2 billion in school construction funding to counties statewide, and improving the lives of middle-class Marylanders.”

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Editor’s Note: This story was updated to correct the subcommittee assignments within the House Appropriations Committee. 


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Speaker Jones Announces Dozens of Leadership, Committee Changes