Sen. Andrew A. Serafini, a Western Maryland legislator known for his expertise on budget matters and his willingness to forge occasional alliances with the chamber’s majority Democrats, has decided to resign from the legislature, effective on Saturday.
The Washington County Republican said the responsibilities of being a legislator were taking too much time from his family.
“The commitments of elected office have only increased over time and I feel it is best that I do a few things well for God, my family and my business instead of a lot of things without my full measure,” he wrote in his letter of resignation on Thursday.
The owner of a financial planning company in Hagerstown, Serafini served on the Appropriations and Ways & Means Committees during his seven years in the House of Delegates and on the Budget and Taxation Committee in the Senate.
Serafini sided with Democrats on two high-profile bills last session — the recommendations of the education reform commission headed by former University of Maryland Chancellor William E. Kirwan and a measure to tax digital downloads.
The tax bill was co-sponsored by Democratic Caucus Chairman James C. Rosapepe (D-Prince George’s), the committee’s vice-chair, and Serafini, who managed the bill on the Senate floor, a rare opportunity for a GOP lawmaker in a chamber where Democrats have a super-majority.
He has admirers in both parties.
In a statement, Senate President Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore city) said “Andy is one of my closest friends in the Senate.”
“In a time when it is sometimes difficult to believe in bipartisanship and collegiality, Andy Serafini has been a shining example of how government can succeed,” Ferguson said.
“In the many moments we disagreed, he was a fierce challenger in the marketplace of ideas. When we agreed, there was no better ally you could ask for.”
Senate Minority Whip Stephen S. Hershey (R-Eastern Shore) praised him as well. “He brought a fiscally responsible outlook to the budget, the pension system and to Kirwan.”
Serafini’s letters of resignation — one to his Senate colleagues, the other to Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) — appeared to catch most Annapolis insiders by surprise.
“I must admit that leaving my family on a Monday and not returning home until Friday late afternoon has worn on me,” the lawmaker wrote. “Frankly, being a Republican from a rural area has also worn on me.”
The Washington County Republican Central Committee will nominate one or more potential replacements. Hogan will select someone from that list to fill the unexpired portion of Serafini’s term.
The delegates who serve in District 2 are all Republicans.
* Assistant Minority Whip Neil Parrott, a member of the House Environment and Transportation Committee, was first elected in 2010. He is running for the congressional seat now held by Rep. David J. Trone (D).
* Del. William J. Wivell, who also serves on E&T, was appointed to fill a vacancy in 2015 and was elected in 2018.
* Del. Paul Corderman, a member of the House Appropriations Committee, was appointed to fill a vacancy in 2017 and elected in 2018.
A former member of the House of Delegates, Serafini was appointed to the Senate in February, 2015, when Sen. Christopher Shank took a position in the Hogan administration. He sought and won a four-year term in 2018.
In his letter to the Senate, he expressed regret that “many of you have had bad experiences with organized religion, people that identify as Christians, and others.”
“It has been my goal to live among you and give you just a glimpse of not religion but what a difference following the teachings of Christ might look like. I have come up short many times in this effort, but I was hopeful that in me you might see something that would cause you to know Jesus personally.”
The 58-year-old legislator told his hometown newspaper, the Herald Mail, that he is “in good health” and looking forward to the next chapter in his life.