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Adrienne Jones Becomes First Woman and First African American Speaker of Maryland House of Delegates

Adrienne Jones Becomes First Woman and First African American Speaker of Maryland House of Delegates

On Wednesday lawmakers in Maryland elected the state’s first African-American and the first woman to be the state’s House speaker. The previous 106 speakers were white men.

Delegate Adrienne Jones, who represents Baltimore County, was elected unanimously after a deadlock between two other candidates.

The Speaker of the House is one of the state’s most powerful positions. The speaker assigns lawmakers to committees and appoints the chairs of the committees that shape the state’s legislation.

Governor Larry Hogan congratulated Jones in a statement, saying, "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."

The caucus echoed the governor’s remarks in a statement released after the election:

“Maryland House Minority Caucus today offered sincere congratulations to Delegate Adrienne A. Jones of Baltimore County on her historic election to speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates. Speaker Jones, elected with unanimous minority caucus support, becomes the first African-American and the first woman to be elected speaker in Maryland state history.

Our caucus is proud to have been a critical piece in this historic election and we offer heartfelt congratulations to the new speaker of the House. Speaker Jones is a tremendous public servant and she represents the will and voice of her constituents and community with clear determination. She is someone we know we can work with and who will want to work with us. Ultimately, we believe in compromise and getting big things done for the people of Maryland and we know that Speaker Jones does as well.

As the Speaker Pro Tem, Speaker Jones was always fair to our members and made sure their voices were heard. 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.

The Speaker of the House represents every member of the chamber and every member should have a real vote in this selection process -- and that is exactly what happened today. We are confident that Speaker Jones will make sure our voices, and the voices of our constituents, are heard and that our members will be treated fairly."

Congratulations Del. Jones!