Aide to Baltimore Co. Councilman Likely to Join Legislature Soon

    The Maryland General Assembly is close to being at full strength for the first time in several months.

    Baltimore County Democrats this week nominated Lisa Belcastro to fill a vacancy in the House of Delegates from the 11th District. She’s an aide to Baltimore County Councilman Israel “Izzy” Patoka (D) and is a member of the Baltimore County Democratic Central Committee, which advanced her nomination.

    Belcastro was selected over four other applicants for the House seat, including former Del. Ted Levin (D), who held the seat from 1975-1995.

    If Gov. Lawrence J. Hogan Jr. (R) nominates Belcastro, as expected, she’ll replace Shelly L. Hettleman (D), who was elevated to serve in the state Senate following the resignation of former Sen. Robert A. Zirkin (D).

    Whomever is appointed to replace Hettleman in the House will become the eighth member of the House who wasn’t serving in the chamber during the 2019 General Assembly session. The state Senate has two new members this session.

    A bill to create a mechanism to hold special elections for certain legislative vacancies passed unanimously in the Senate earlier this month and awaits action in the Senate.

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    Josh Kurtz
    Co-founder and Editor Josh Kurtz is the leading chronicler of Maryland politics and government. He began covering the State House in 1995 for The Gazette newspapers, and has been writing about state and local politics ever since. He later became an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, and spent eight years at E&E News, an online subscription-only publisher of news websites covering energy and environmental issues. For seven of those years, he led a staff of 20 reporters at E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill and in national politics. For 6 1/2 years he wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz has given speeches and appeared on TV and radio shows about Maryland politics through the years.