Skip to main content
Government & Politics

Political Notes: Cummings portrait unveiled, Conway speaking at GOP dinner, Dems hosting BBQ, and more

Baltimore artist Jerrell Gibbs poses with his portrait of the late Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Maryland) during an unveiling ceremony at Cannon House Office Building this week. The portrait will be hung in the Elijah E. Cummings Room, the hearing room of House Oversight and Reform Committee. Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images.

A portrait of the late Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) was unveiled Wednesday where it will hang in the U.S. House Government Oversight and Reform Committee hearing room.

Cummings, who died at the age of 68 in 2019, chaired that committee.

Born in Baltimore and the son of a sharecropper, Cummings was elected in 1996 and received the rare honor to lie in state in the Capitol’s Statuary Hall.

“He was my Baltimore brother,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), who was born in Baltimore, said during a more than 90-minute unveiling ceremony. “We remember a giant. A giant in American history. A giant not [only] for the Democrats or Republicans, but a giant for our country. A giant for our children.”

Several other Marylanders spoke during ceremony including April Ryan, a White House correspondent with The Grio who served as the mistress of ceremonies at the event on Capitol Hill.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) read Cummings’ former phone number to the audience.

“I don’t know whether [there’s] cell service in heaven, but I know they hear us in heaven,” he said. “Elijah Cummings was welcomed to heaven for all that he had done. I think that Elijah and I would both tell you it’s not by work that you get to heaven. It is by faith. It is by belief. God bless America he gave us Elijah Cummings.”

Baltimore artist Jerrell Gibbs painted the portrait, which was inspired by a photo by Baltimore-based photographer Justin T. Gellerson that was featured on the cover of Cummings’ memoir, “We’re Better than This: My Fight for the Future of Our Democracy.”

“I thank him for being a positive example for young Baltimoreans such as myself,” Gibbs said about Cummings. “Elijah Cummings showed me through his actions that you can do great things in life no matter what side of the tracks you come from. I would tell him, ‘Thank you’ for showing so many of us from the city of Baltimore that the opportunities are limitless if we put our minds to it.”

Kellyanne Conway coming to Maryland

The Maryland Republican Party had planned to give Gov. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) a warm welcome at its 31st annual Red, White and Blue dinner Sept. 22 at The Hotel at the University of Maryland in College Park.

But Noem, a possible 2024 presidential contender, is recovering from back surgery and won’t be able to attend.

The party’s replacement: Kellyanne Conway, a former senior counselor to former President Donald Trump.

According to a letter Thursday from party chair Dirk Haire, every attendee will receive a signed copy of Conway’s new memoir, “Here’s the Deal.”

Conway remains a fixture in the GOP that includes her work as a consultant helping Republican candidates during this year’s midterm elections, according to The Hill.

Here are some ticket prices: $200 for general admission and dinner; $1,000 for dinner, a private reception and a photo opportunity with Conway.

Dems getting together

Maryland Democrats will gather this weekend to open a campaign headquarters, then eat at the party’s annual barbeque bash.

In preparation for the Nov. 8 general election, the party’s coordinated campaign will open its Prince George’s County headquarters Saturday in Largo. This will kick off a series of office openings throughout the state.

Besides County Executive Angela Alsobrooks (D) in attendance, other high-profile candidates and county residents who will be at that opening include Rep. Anthony Brown (D), running for attorney general, and Glenn Ivey (D), running to replace Brown as representative for the 4th Congressional District.

Democratic gubernatorial nominee Wes Moore, who’s also scheduled to attend, won Prince George’s with 59,430 votes, more than he garnered in any other jurisdiction during the July primary election.

The state party recognizes Prince George’s, a majority Black and Maryland’s second most populous jurisdiction, as key to winning the governor’s race, statewide and other offices.

After party members take care of campaigning and business on Saturday, the mood will be more relaxed Sunday when fellow Democrats gather for the annual barbeque bash at Colorburst Park in Columbia.

Top Democrats running for office are scheduled to attend including U.S. Sens. Ben Cardin and Chris Van Hollen, Rep. John Sarbanes, Howard County Executive Calvin Ball and state senators, delegates and local officials.

Lierman launches ‘Better Maryland’ tour

Democratic comptroller candidate Del. Brooke Lierman will begin a statewide tour Friday to discuss her platform and hear from small business owners.

Labeled the “Build a Better Maryland” tour, Lierman plans to review opportunities and improvements needed in various regions of the state.

The first stop will be at DiscContinued Homme, a men’s grooming lounge in Laurel, Prince George’s County, to review effective partnerships with municipal leaders.

Lierman will continue the tour in Prince George’s on Tuesday at Vista Marketplace in Bowie with a focus on growing business in the county.

Three other stops this month will include:

  • Sept. 29 in the Baltimore region, focusing on the comptroller’s office and implementing the Black agenda.
  • Sept. 29 in the Annapolis region, to discuss efficient and effective tax administration.
  • Sept. 30 at the International Association of Heat and Frost Insulators and Allied Workers, Local 24 in Prince George’s, on strengthening organized labor.

Three more tours are scheduled in October with two in the Baltimore region focusing on manufacturing and creating opportunities for women-owned businesses.

“Maryland should be a state where families can thrive and entrepreneurs can create and grow businesses. Small businesses are critical to generating economic growth and to expanding jobs in our state,” Lierman said in a statement. “Maryland needs to ensure we have the investments and tools to support and grow companies at home. We cannot lose Maryland talent and jobs to other states.”

Lierman faces Republican Barry Glassman, the term-limited Harford County executive, in November.

Lockheed Martin gets an ‘F’

Lockheed Martin, a defense contractor based in Bethesda, receives millions of federal dollars for its innovation on aircrafts, missile and information technology.

But when it comes to democracy, the company received a failing grade of an “F” from Accountable.US, a nonpartisan political watchdog group.

The organization released its American Democracy Scorecard on Tuesday analyzing all “Fortune 100” companies. The grades are based on several factors such as whether a corporation speaks out in support of democracy and to which politicians’ campaigns they contribute.

Accountable.US gave Lockheed Martin a failing grade because it contributed more than $520,000 to members of Congress who opposed federal voting rights legislation; at least $275,000 to members of Congress who voted against certifying the 2020 election; and at least $19,000 to state officials who voted for anti-voter legislation.

Lockheed Martin ranked among the 10 worst companies — along with AT&T, Comcast and Boeing — for making contributions to such politicians.

“Corporate executives know their customers, employees and shareholders want to buy from, work for, or invest in a company that shares their values, not just one that preserves its bottom line,” Kyle Herrig, president of the Accountable.US, said in a statement. “Corporations and their executives that use their power and influence to preserve democracy will only find it’s good for their business and the economy.”

A representative from Lockheed Martin didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.