Speaker Picks More Members of Her Leadership Team, Makes Panel Assignments for Newcomers

House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones (D-Baltimore County). File photo

On the day former Del. Tawanna P. Gaines (D-Prince George’s) was sentenced to federal prison for stealing campaign funds, House Speaker Adrienne A. Jones (D-Baltimore County) on Friday named replacements for the two high-ranking positions Gaines held and rounded out her leadership team.

Jones also doled out committee assignments for the newest members of the House of Delegates, who are preparing for their first General Assembly session, which begins on Wednesday.

Jones’ Friday evening announcements reflects a chamber that has seen seven departures since the end of last session. Some of Friday’s changes represent a shift from assignments Jones made in September.

Del. Mark Chang (D-Anne Arundel) will replace Gaines as chairman of the Appropriations Capital Budget Subcommittee. Del. Ben Barnes (D-Prince George’s) will be vice chairman of the panel. Additionally, Del. Michael A. Jackson (D-Prince George’s) will replace Gaines as Appropriations vice chairman.

The House Ways and Means Committee will also have a new vice chairman: Del. Alonzo T. Washington (D-Prince George’s), who replaces a fellow Prince Georgian, Del. Jay Walker (D). Walker is moving to the Economic Matters Committee, where he will serve as vice chairman of the Alcohol Subcommittee; Del. Talmadge Branch (D-Baltimore City), who also serves as House Majority whip — and is currently running for Congress — will chair the subcommittee.

Del. Wayne Hartman (R-Lower Shore) will shift from the Judiciary Committee to Ways and Means.

Del. Bonnie Cullison (D-Montgomery), named assistant speaker pro tem in September, will instead become deputy speaker pro tem.

Del. Diana M. Fennell (D-Prince George’s) will become assistant speaker pro tem.

Del. Jheanelle Wilkins (D-Montgomery) will be House parliamentarian.

Additional changes announced by Jones on Friday include:

  • Rules and Executive Nominations Vice Chairman: Del. Marvin Holmes (D-Prince George’s)
  • Protocol Committee Chairwoman: Del. Andrea Harrison (D-Prince George’s)
  • Spending Affordability Committee Chairwoman: Del. Geraldine Valentino-Smith (D-Prince George’s)
  • Appropriations Pension Subcommittee Chairman: Jackson
  • Appropriations Public Safety Administration Subcommittee: Del. Keith E. Haynes (D-Baltimore City) as chairman; Del. Susie Proctor (D-Prince George’s) as vice chairwoman
  • Economic Matters Banking and Consumer Protection Subcommittee Chairwoman: Del. Pamela Queen (D-Montgomery)
  • Ways and Means Early Childhood Subcommittee Chairman: Del. Eric Ebersole (D-Howard)
  • Ways and Means Education Subcommittee Chairman: Washington
  • Ways and Means Election Law Subcommittee Chairman: Del. Nick J. Mosby (D-Baltimore City)
  • Ways and Means Racing & Gaming Subcommittee Chairwoman: Del. Edith J. Patterson (D-Charles)
  • Ways and Means Revenue Subcommittee Chairman: Del. Eric G. Luedtke (D-Montgomery)

“I am pleased to appoint such a talented and diverse set of house members to leadership positions for the upcoming legislative session,” Jones said in a statement. “As a group they represent the proven leadership and undeniable potential of our entire Democratic House Caucus and I’m confident they’ll be up for the challenges ahead.”

Among the new members, Baltimore County Democratic Delegates Catherine Forbes and Carl Jackson will serve on the House Appropriations Committee and Economic Matters Committee, respectively.

Delegate-nominee Mike Griffith (R-Harford and Cecil), who has yet to be sworn in, will join the House Judiciary Committee.

Del. Nicole Williams (D-Prince George’s) ― appointed after Gaines’ resignation ― will also join Judiciary. Del. Shaneka T. Henson (D-Anne Arundel), who was appointed to the House in the spring following the death of the late speaker Michael E. Busch (D), was assigned to the Appropriations Committee.

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Danielle E. Gaines
Danielle Gaines most recently worked for Bethesda Beat covering Montgomery County. Previously, she spent six years at The Frederick News-Post as the paper’s principal government and politics reporter for half that time, covering courts and legal affairs before that. She also reported for the now-defunct The Gazette of Politics and Business in Maryland and previously worked as a county government and education reporter at the Merced Sun-Star in California’s Central Valley.