The Prince George’s County Democratic Central Committee selected Del. Nick Charles on Monday to fill a vacant seat in the Maryland Senate.
The committee will forward Charles’ name to Gov. Wes Moore (D), who has up to 15 days to confirm the appointment. Central Committee Chair Antwan Brown said he will forward Charles’ name to the governor’s office Tuesday.
Charles, 40, an Air Force veteran, has served in the House of Delegates for more than four years representing the 25th legislative district, which includes District Heights, Forestville and parts of Upper Marlboro.
Charles was the only candidate who came before the committee during the online public hearing Monday. He thanked his Prince George’s colleagues and fellow elected officials, central committee members and District 25 constituents.
“It takes teamwork and that’s how I operate,” he said. “It’s always been about one united Prince George’s County.”
If the appointment becomes official, Charles would replace former Sen. Melony Griffith, who resigned to become president and CEO of the Maryland Hospital Association. She’s scheduled to begin that work Dec. 18.
Griffth’s resignation was official on Oct. 31. She served as chair of the influential Senate Finance Committee.
Monday, Griffith spoke at the hearing on behalf of Charles whom she said she met in 2013. She praised Charles’ community work, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic when he helped host vaccination clinics and distribute food for those in need.
“I’ve watched Delegate Charles work in a community and really demonstrate leadership in the way that an elected official should,” she said. “He is a true community leader that works with our community and will be a phenomenal member of the Senate.”
With Griffith’s departure from the legislature, Senate President Bill Ferguson announced changes to various committees, including the appointment of Sen. Pamela Beidle (D-Anne Arundel) to succeed Griffith as Finance Committee chair.
Sen. Alonzo Washington (D-Prince George’s) was switched from the Judicial Proceedings Committee to the Finance Committee. With that change, Charles could be seated to fill Washington’s spot on the Judicial Proceedings Committee.
Meanwhile, the county’s Democratic central committee will need to schedule another meeting to find a replacement for Charles in the House of Delegates. His replacement would serve in the district with Del. Karen Toles, whom the committee appointed in January 2022 to replace Dereck E. Davis, a former delegate who is now the state’s treasurer.
Charles also serves as chair of the Prince George’s House Delegation. If confirmed by the governor, Charles must submit his resignation from the House.
“He may be filling big shoes of Sen. Melony Griffith, but he has been phenomenal in leading our team in the delegation,” Toles said about Charles and his support of women, with all the county delegation’s subcommittees led by women. “He has been a true leader to us all.”
The other District 25 delegate, Kent Roberson, previously served as the central committee chair before his appointment a delegate seat this year.
Charles is the only delegate who serves on the Procurement Improvement Council, formed to make recommendations to the legislature on how to improve state procurement policies and increase participation of small, women-owned and diverse businesses in the procurement process.
He sponsored House Bill 429 this year which requires the state comptroller and attorney general, or a designee from each office, to serve on the council. Griffith sponsored the Senate bill.
Part of Charles’ procurement interest comes from running his own small business, Charles Management Consulting Group, which has done work for agencies such the U.S. Small Business Administration, Naval Sea Systems Command and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority.
Del. Nicole Williams (D-Prince George’s) serves as the Prince George’s County House Delegation’s first vice chair and would assume the role of interim chair. She confirmed in a brief interview Monday that she’s interested in serving as chair.
The governor’s appointment of Charles could happen before a public hearing Dec. 4 at Prince George’s Community College where state lawmakers from the county will present proposed legislation for the upcoming legislative session that begins Jan. 10.