Here Is Text of the Letter Unions and Progressive Groups Are Sending to House Democrats

    As first reported by Maryland Matters Wednesday, a group of progressive groups and labor unions is sending a letter to all 98 Democrats in the House of Delegates, urging them to back the eventual Democratic caucus nominee to replace the late Speaker Michael E. Busch (D) when the vote reaches the House floor next week.

    The move is meant to forestall an expected push by the 42 House Republicans to unify behind House Economic Matters Chair Dereck E. Davis (D-Prince George’s), who is seeking the gavel along with Speaker Pro Tem Adrienne A. Jones (D-Baltimore County) and House Appropriations Chair Maggie L. McIntosh (D-Baltimore City). McIntosh is believed to be close to sewing up a majority of the caucus support – though with caucus elections no vote is guaranteed.

    The groups signing onto the letter are: CASA in Action, Jews United for Justice Campaign Fund, Maryland State Education Association, Maryland Working Families, NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland, Our Revolution, Progressive Maryland, Service Employees International Union Local 500, 1199SEIU, SEIU State Council, and UNITE HERE Local 25.

    The letter reads as follows:

    “Working families across Maryland mourn the loss of Speaker Michael Busch, who led the House of Delegates with equal parts determination and fairness while leading the Chamber to pass critical reforms reflecting Maryland’s progressive values.

     As the House of Delegates now moves to elect a new Speaker, we urge the body to champion the same values that have moved our state forward: available and affordable health care, world-class public schools, a fair and thriving economy, pristine natural resources, protection from gun violence, a reliable safety net to help those in need, and a commitment to greater justice for all Marylanders regardless of who they are, where they come from, who they pray to, and who they love. Time and again, these values have been debated through legislative initiatives in the House of Delegates, and we are proud that our members live in a state where important advances have been made.

    The Democratic Caucus has an important choice to make in advance of the House of Delegates’ Speaker election. However individual caucus members vote in their caucus room, we encourage every member of the Democratic Caucus to support the caucus’ eventual nominee once presented to the full House of Delegates. We encourage Republican votes for this nominee as well, as we believe lasting policy is best developed when common visions are embraced regardless of political ideology.

    The vote for Speaker is an admittedly political choice and there is perhaps no greater indication of a member’s values than who they vote to install as the next Speaker.  As such, every member organization signed below will take this vote into serious consideration in evaluating incumbents in future elections. Efforts to splinter the caucus will put the priorities of working families and our shared Maryland values at risk, which is why we believe it is so important that the Democratic Caucus speak with a unified voice.

    There is much to accomplish after this important vote. We need unity and focus to meet the challenges that lie ahead.”

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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.