State Senate Makes History With First Woman Secretary

    State Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert) and Sen. Bill Ferguson (D-Baltimore City), his presumed successor, announced Monday that Nicole M. Xander will soon become secretary of the Senate — making history as the first woman to ever hold the position.

    Xander will replace William B.C. “Billy” Addison, who has held the job for 22 years and is retiring in December.

    “Billy has been a stabilizing force in the chamber, is well-respected by all members of the Senate, and has served as a mentor to Senators and staff alike throughout the years,” Miller said in a statement.

    Addison began his career in the Senate in 1977, first serving as an assistant journal clerk under former secretary Oden Bowen and becoming secretary of the Senate since 1997.

    But Xander is no stranger to the chamber — she has worked for the secretary of the Senate office for 11 years, most recently as assistant secretary. Before that, Xander worked as a health care policy analyst for Johns Hopkins Health System, and as a legislative assistant for Miller. She has an M.A. from George Washington University, and a B.S. from Frostburg State University.

    In a statement, Ferguson said he and his colleagues “are excited by this historic moment.”

    Xander called the secretary of the Senate “the silent partner on the floor, and we work for all 47 members of the Senate in ensuring that bills are processed and passed without partisan interference. I appreciate the opportunity and historic distinction, and look forward to serving with my colleagues in January.”

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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.