Take a Seat! House Lottery Picks ‘Chamber Annex’ Members for Socially Distant 2021 Session

A view of the House Chamber Annex, in the Lowe House Office Building in Annapolis, where about half the members of the Maryland House of Delegates will sit during floor sessions, to ensure that lawmakers are keeping socially distanced during the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo by Hannah Gaskill.

The Maryland House of Delegates floor is usually a tight squeeze, with 141 members packed nearly shoulder-to-shoulder in the chamber. Not so in 2021.

To safely convene during the COVID-19 pandemic, House leaders have divided the chamber into two groups: with 71 members meeting in the House chamber and 70 in a Chamber Annex constructed out of two delegation rooms in the House Office Building.

On Friday afternoon, names were drawn at random to select members for seating in the new annex.

The lottery was carried live on Facebook, with Del. Jheanelle K. Wilkins (D-Montgomery) and Brenda J. Thiam (R-Washington) drawing slips of paper with delegates’ names while standing ― masked and more than six feet apart ― at the House rostrum.

Wilkins said the annex has been set up to allow full participation by all delegates during floor sessions.

Republican members make up 29.7% of the House, meaning 20 members were selected to sit in the annex. Thirty-eight Democratic members were selected to sit in the annex.

Leaders in both parties, as well as committee chairs and vice chairs, will be evenly split between the two locations.

Members who expressed health concerns will be seated in the House chamber gallery, Wilkins said.

Thiam, who was recently appointed as the first Black Republican female delegate in state history, drew her own name first for assignment to the annex. Here, in the order they were drawn, are the other Republican members who will join her in the annex:

Charles J. Otto (R-Lower Shore)

Haven Shoemaker (R-Carroll)

Michael E. Malone (R-Anne Arundel)

Susan K. McComas (R-Harford)

Kevin B. Hornberger (R-Cecil)

Christopher T. Adams (R-Middle Shore)

Robin L. Grammer Jr. (R-Baltimore County)

Johnny Mautz (R-Middle Shore)

Steven J. Arentz (R-Upper Shore)

Sid Saab (R-Anne Arundel)

Seth A. Howard (R-Anne Arundel)

Lauren Arikan (R-Baltimore and Harford)

April Rose (R-Carroll)

Brian Chisholm (R-Anne Arundel)

Rick Impallaria (R-Baltimore and Harford)

William J. Wivell (R-Washington)

Neil C. Parrott (R-Washington)

Trent Kittleman (R-Howard and Carroll)

Teresa E. Reilly (R-Cecil and Harford)

The Democratic members who will be seated in the annex, in the order they were selected, are:

Julian Ivey (D-Prince George’s)

Frank M. Conaway Jr. (D-Baltimore City)

Ron Watson (D-Prince George’s)

Jon S. Cardin (D-Baltimore County)

Chanel Branch (D-Baltimore City)

Jim Gilchrist (D-Montgomery)

David Fraser-Hidalgo (D-Montgomery)

Julie Palakovich Carr (D-Montgomery)

Carol L. Krimm (D-Frederick)

Jay Jalisi (D-Baltimore County)

Jared Solomon (D-Montgomery)

Eric Ebersole (D-Baltimore and Howard)

Nick Charles (D-Prince George’s)

Michele Guyton (D-Baltimore County)

Charlotte Crutchfield (D-Montgomery)

David Moon (D-Montgomery)

Alfred C. Carr Jr. (D-Montgomery)

Karen Lewis Young (D-Frederick)

Geraldine Valentino-Smith (D-Prince George’s)

Ariana B. Kelly (D-Montgomery)

Pat Young (D-Baltimore County)

Andrea Fletcher Harrison (D-Prince George’s)

Sandy Bartlett (D-Anne Arundel)

Vaughn Stewart (D-Montgomery)

Tony Bridges (D-Baltimore City)

Carl Jackson (D-Baltimore County)

Edith J. Patterson (D-Charles)

Brian M. Crosby (D-St. Mary’s)

Lily Qi (D-Montgomery)

Heather Bagnall (D-Anne Arundel)

Ken Kerr (D-Frederick)

Gabriel Acevero (D-Montgomery)

Veronica Turner (D-Prince George’s)

Kirill Reznik (D-Montgomery)

Jay Walker (D-Prince George’s)

Wanika Fisher (D-Prince George’s)

Kriselda Valderrama (D-Prince George’s)

Sheila Ruth (D-Baltimore County)

Specific seats in both locations will be assigned by Dec. 15.

Democrats have a 99-42 advantage in the chamber — though two members, Del. Nick J. Mosby (D-Baltimore City) and Del. Warren Miller (R-Howard) will resign before the end of the month, and it isn’t clear when their replacements will be appointed.

The 2021 legislative session begins Jan. 13.

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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.