After a very interesting election process, the Maryland House of Delegates have finally chosen their new speaker making history in the process.
Democrat Adrienne Jones of Baltimore county was chosen by delegates to serve as their new speaker, making her the first Black woman to hold the position. According to The Hill, Jones withdrew her candidacy for speaker just last week in an effort to get Black lawmakers to support Del. Dereck E. Davis, but the Democratic caucus was split in their support for Davis and Del. Maggie McIntosh.
The speaker position was vacated by Michael E. Busch, who died in early April at the age of 73. McIntosh seemed to be the obvious choice after gaining support from the majority of the Democratic caucus, but the Hill reports that Republican House Minority Leader Nicholas R. Kipke soon announced that he and all 42 House Republicans would vote for Davis, giving him an opportunity to win.
McIntosh went on to nominate Jones on the House floor and Kipke changed his tune announcing that the House Republicans would agree to vote for Jones. The Hill reported that Jones has more than 20 years of experience as a member of the House and served as Busch’s second-in-command for 16 of those years.
“I’m still overwhelmed by it all, the turn of the events,” Jones, the 107th speaker, told reporters. She also said she believed Busch was “smiling down” on her.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan took to Twitter to congratulate the new speaker and acknowledge that historical significance of her election.
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.
— Governor Larry Hogan (@GovLarryHogan) May 1, 2019