HAVRE DE GRACE, Md. (WJZ) — A white delegate from Harford County apologized for allegedly calling Prince George’s County, Maryland an “n-word district” during an after-hours gathering at an Annapolis cigar bar.
WJZ has independently confirmed the Post’s report.
Lisanti attempted to dodge WJZ’s cameras until she had no choice later Tuesday afternoon.
[WJZ Reporter:] “Some of your colleagues are calling for you to resign, but others are supporting you, any comment on that? Is there anything you’d like to say to the people you represent in Harford County?”
“I’ve made a press statement,” Lisanti said.
[WJZ Reporter:] “Are you going to stay in your post?”
“I’ve made my statement,” Lisanti replied.
[WJZ Reporter:] “Are you going to resign?”
“I’ve made my statement,” She said again.
The allegations are that she told a white colleague that when he campaigned in Prince George’s on behalf of a candidate he was door-knocking “n-word district.”
However, Lisanti told black colleagues she did not recall saying that.
Lisanti allegedly made the remarks in a small, racially mixed group of lawmakers at Annapolis Cigar in late January.
Lisanti, 51, represents Havre de Grace, Abingdon, Belcamp, and Aberdeen Proving Ground.
She’s a second-term lawmaker and a member of the House Economics Matters Committee. Prior to her post as a Maryland lawmaker, she served two terms on Harford County Council and was the city manager for Havre de Grace.
House Speaker Michael Busch announced Tuesday he has removed Del. Mary Ann Lisanti as chair of a subcommittee.
“While I believe her apology was heartfelt,” he said. “the damage among her colleagues and the public has been done.”
She apologized to the House Democratic Caucus Tuesday morning, after apologizing to leaders of the state’s Legislative Black Caucus on Monday. The speaker says Lisanti also has agreed to take sensitivity training.
“I think when she first came before us, I do not believe she was contrite,” said delegate Darryl Barnes. “I don’t think she fully understood the magnitude of the words that came out of her mouth. Now the impact is greater, the people are responding to what’s going on. So I think she fully starting to understand what’s going on.”
Lisanti released the aforementioned statement Tuesday afternoon:
“I deeply apologize to the citizens of my district, people of Maryland, all of my colleagues in the Maryland General Assembly and everyone reading this for my word choice several weeks ago. I am sickened that a word that is not in my vocabulary came out of my mouth. It does not represent my belief system, my life’s work or what is my heart.
Last evening I met with the Legislative Black Caucus to express my deepest regret for the pain I have caused my colleagues in the General Assembly and repent. This morning, I expressed the same to the entire Democratic Caucus.
Earlier today, I met with House Speaker Busch and agreed to step down from my leadership position. I also agreed to participate in sensitivity training. I understand that the use of inappropriate and insensitive language is not acceptable under any circumstance. I am sorry for the hurt I have caused and will do everything I can to help heal that pain and regain the trust of my colleagues and constituents. I pray for forgiveness.”
The calls for the delegate to resign are growing not only here in Annapolis but across the state. The African-American Democratic Clubs of Maryland want for her to leave immediately.
A legislative aide told WJZ the outcome could set a bad example.
“This is not ok. This, it should not be tolerated. For her to stay in here, what is Annapolis saying to our constituents.” said aide Nina McHugh.
In the letter, Del. Lisanti also said she will undergo sensitivity training and prays for forgiveness.
Associated Press reporting was used in this post.