Baltimore Central Committee Nominates Roxane Prettyman to Fill Haynes’ Seat

Members representing District 44A on the Baltimore City State Democratic Central Committee applaud after Roxane Prettyman (center) was nominated to represent the district in the Maryland House of Delegates, filling the vacancy created by the retirement of former Del. Keith E. Haynes (top right). Screenshot.

A member of the Baltimore City State Democratic Central Committee has been nominated by the panel to complete the final year of a four-year term in the House of Delegates.

Roxane Prettyman’s nomination to represent District 44A will be sent to Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) on Friday.

The committee tapped Prettyman to finish the term of Del. Keith E. Haynes, who is also a member of the panel.

Haynes, who had represented southwest and West Baltimore in the 44th and 44A districts since 2003, retired in haste last month.

“After 18 1/2 years of service, I am retiring from the Maryland House of Delegates,” he wrote in a brief statement at the time, offering little explanation. “…I would like to thank my constituents for the opportunity to serve them.”

He has not responded to requests for comment or an interview, including a text message sent Thursday evening.

But Haynes, whose resignation took effect July 15, was present for the meeting, asking each of nine candidates two questions: What qualities would they bring to the House of Delegates? Could they briefly describe the legislative process?

Of the nine candidates, three are members of the central committee: Haki Ammi, Kyle Berkley and Prettyman.

The other applicants were Darroll Cribb, Kevin Philip Harris, Ashiah Parker, Harry F. Preston V, Christopher A. Schulze, and Cindy Williams.

The city’s central committee is made up of 42 elected members from six legislative districts, but only the representatives from District 44A took part in Thursday’s vote.

Ammi and Berkley voted for themselves.

Prettyman garnered her own vote, as well as votes from Timothy J. Bridges, Lela Campbell and Ashley Pryor.

Haynes abstained.

No applicant who wasn’t a part of the central committee received any votes.

The 44A House district is the city portion of a larger district that covers more ground in Baltimore County.

Because of population loss and other factors, it could disappear during the next round of legislative redistricting, prompting a question on that process from Bridges to each candidate on Thursday night.

“It will not stop me from advocating to keep our district intact,” Prettyman responded to the question. “Because we would hate to lose a representative for the district. I would hate the thought of us not having a voice so to speak, or being added to another district and still being kind of left out or lose a voice and not be heard.”

A self-described “grassroots community advocate,” Prettyman grew up in the Sandtown-Winchester community, and raised her daughter, a pre-K teacher, there.

In addition to the central committee, she serves on other neighborhood boards and is community outreach and engagement director of First Mount Calvary Baptist Church.

“I’m already the voice for my community. So I believe this puts me on a higher platform to have their voices heard,” she said Thursday when asked why she sought the appointment. “I think it’s very important that community members and constituents have their voices heard, or know that they will have their voices heard and that they have somebody they can count on to speak for them.”

She identified crime, housing and redevelopment and poverty as top issues facing the community, and said she’d like to serve on the House Appropriations Committee if given an option.

“We have been very fortunate for years to have the great delegate Keith Haynes on that committee,” Prettyman said. “And with the numerous challenges that we face in District 44, I think is important to understand that having resources is vital. And it does make a difference.”

At the conclusion of Thursday’s meeting, Prettyman’s colleagues gave her a round of applause.

“Thank you all. I know we will all work wonderful together as always,” Prettyman said as the meeting signed off.

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Danielle E. Gaines
Danielle Gaines covered government and politics for Maryland Matters for two years before moving into an editing position. 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.