City, Prince George’s Delegations Elect New Leaders

Del. Stephanie Smith (left), the new chair of the Baltimore City House delegation, and Del. Melissa Wells, the new vice chair. Photo by Hannah Gaskill

State Del. Stephanie M. Smith (D) was elected Friday to chair the Baltimore City House delegation following the resignation of former chairwoman Cheryl D. Glenn (D), who was indicted on bribery and federal wire fraud charges last month.

Smith, who was elected to the General Assembly in 2018, serves on the Ways and Means Committee and is a member of the Legislative Black Caucus and Women Legislators of Maryland. An attorney, she is the assistant director for Equity, Engagement and Communications for the Baltimore City Department of Planning and works with a number of civic organizations in the city.

Smith becomes the third delegation chair in less than three years. Before Glenn took over in the summer of 2018, the position was held for several years by Del. Curtis S. Anderson (D).

The delegation also filled other positions. Del. Keith E. Haynes (D), who had been serving as acting delegation chairman since Glenn’s resignation, has re-assumed his position as vice chairman, and Del. Melissa R. Wells (D) will take over as second vice chair.

Baltimore City is at the forefront of several high-profile issues this session.

During a news conference held the day before the session gaveled in, Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) brought up a number of challenges that the city has recently faced, proposing legislation that he said would quell high crime rates in the city. He also introduced the Ethics and Accountability Act, designed to increase public trust in elected officials, citing two former Baltimore City lawmakers, former mayor Catherine E. Pugh (D) and Glenn, who had recently been indicted. Pugh pleaded guilty in November to four counts of conspiracy and tax evasion.

Baltimore City lawmakers will also play a central role in the debate over Kirwan Commission recommendations to improve public education in the state, and the proposed deal to save Pimlico Race Course and keep the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore.

Mostly clad in purple in support of the Baltimore Ravens’ playoff game this weekend against the Tennessee Titans, the delegation voted unanimously to elect Smith. Del. Maggie L. McIntosh (D) put her name in nomination.

“Del. Smith is leading — really leading — the charge in the city and she’s very knowledgeable about what we need to be doing as a delegation and as delegations to do this,” said McIntosh. “It’s a very opportune time for her to lead our city delegation.”

Smith mouthed the words “thank you” at McIntosh at the close of her nomination. Prompted by her fellow delegates, some of whom began chanting the word “speech,” Smith offered a brief address thanking her colleagues for their trust in her.

“I know that we’re all here because we love Baltimore, so much: We love it to our bones,” she said. “This is going to be one of the most consequential sessions for not only the fate of Marylanders but Baltimore City specifically and I, again, am honored and humbled to have the opportunity to serve and continue to work closely with all of you.”

Meanwhile, in the Prince George’s County House delegation Friday, Del. Erek L. Barron (D) was elected chairman to replace the outgoing chairman, Del. Michael Jackson (D). Barron defeated Del. Marvin Holmes (D), who also sought the post, by a 12-9 vote.

Del. Julian Ivey (D) was unanimously elected vice chair.

After the vote, Barron thanked the majority for their support and stressed that he plans to work with everyone as a united delegation to accomplish the county’s goals.

“We’ve been working together. We’re currently working together and we’ll be working together going forward,” Barron said, in recognizing Holmes.

Barron said it was important for the entire delegation to be united, particularly around education reform efforts, which could create financial strain for the county government.

“This session is probably the most important session in this generation,” he said.

Danielle E. Gaines contributed to this report. 

[email protected]

Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the new Prince George’s delegation vice chair. The story has been updated.