ANNAPOLIS (WJZ) — Del. Adrienne Jones has been voted as the next Maryland Speaker of the House after caucus meetings on Wednesday.
She is the first woman and African American to be elected to the position.
She was the Democrats’ choice to be the next speaker of the House of Delegates, after Del. Maggie McIntosh fell short of getting enough votes.
She was nominated over Del. Maggie McIntosh and Del. Dereck Davis, though she had dropped out of the running previously.
Going into a closed-door meeting, Maryland House Democrats expected either McIntosh or Davis to emerge the winner.
McIntosh and Davis split the vote, so neither reached the 71 votes necessary to clinch the election.
The House Minority Caucus unanimously supported Del. Dereck Davis for Maryland Speaker of the House, they said in a release Wednesday.
They later congratulated House Speaker Adrienne Jones on her historic victory. They said in part in their statement:
“As the Speaker Pro Tem, Speaker Jones was always fair to our members and made sure their voices were heard,” said House Minority Whip Kathy Szeliga. “While we know we will be on opposing sides of certain issues going forward, we have faith that she will approach this new role with the same fairness and consideration she has always demonstrated,”
Speaker Jones has served in the House of Delegates since 1997 and has served as Speaker Pro Tem since 2003.
Maryland Democratic Party Chair Maya Rockeymore Cummings also congratulated her shortly after the vote Wednesday afternoon, saying she believes the Democratic Caucus will rally around her.
“Congratulations to Speaker Jones on her unprecedented nomination to become Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates. I believe that she has not only the vision, but also the temperament to lead both the House and the Democratic Caucus into the future. Now that the race has concluded I believe that the Democratic Caucus will rally around our new Speaker and continue to push smart— progressive— policies to improve the lives of all Marylanders.”
Acting Mayor Jack Young said he was happy to see Jones take command of the Speaker’s gavel.
Gov. Hogan joined in on the choruses of praise for Jones’ election, saying now is a great moment of opportunity.
“I extend my sincere congratulations to Adrienne Jones on becoming the 107th Speaker of the House of Delegates. The election of our first African-American and first female Speaker marks a proud and historic moment for our state.
It is also a moment of great opportunity; Adrienne has pledged to be a Speaker for all delegates, and that is exactly the kind of bipartisan, collaborative spirit our state needs right now.
I look forward to working with Speaker Jones on our shared priorities and with the entire General Assembly to continue finding bipartisan, common sense solutions.”
Sen. Ben Cardin lauded her election, saying it was an exciting day for all of Maryland. He called Jones a true public servant, saying in part:
“I fully expect Speaker Jones to bring the same intensity and skills with which she navigated the Capital Budget Subcommittee to the full House of Delegates. She will be the leader we need to prioritize a quality public education for our students, create opportunities for all Marylanders, strengthen our economy, and protect public health and our natural resources. As the leader of Maryland’s federal delegation, I look forward to continuing the close collaboration of our federal-state Team Maryland.
The Maryland State Education Association quickly expressed their congratulations to the new speaker, saying that while Speaker Busch set a high bar for leadership and courage, they believe Speaker Jones has the ability to do the same.
“Maryland public school educators congratulate Speaker Jones on her historic election. As the first black and woman speaker of the House, her speakership breaks critical barriers and puts the House of Delegates in position to make important progress in the years ahead, especially on educational equity.