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Final General Assembly for Dels. James Malone Jr., Steven DeBoy

Together, Dels. James Malone Jr. and Steven DeBoy have represented District 12A in the Maryland General Assembly for more than a decade.

When the session ends April 9, it will be their last.

The two, who have known each other since attending Ascension School in Halethorpe together, announced their decision not to seek re-election in April 2013.

"I'm comfortable where I am. I'm going to miss it — I'm going to miss the people and the energy of the place," said DeBoy, who was first elected in 2003.

Malone, 56, who is divorced, said his son, James "Little Jimmy" Malone Jr., 17, and daughter Danica, 20, are the reason he's vacating his seat in the legislature.

"My family means more than anything to me and the only reason I am not running for re-election is to spend more time with my son and daughter," Malone said.

Both men said redistricting, which eliminated Districts 12A and 12B to create a larger District 12 that includes a large portion of Howard County, played a role in their decision not to run for seat in the House of Delegates. Before redistricting, one delegate represented 12B in Howard County, while two others represented 12A that included southwestern Baltimore County along with Elkridge and a portion of eastern Howard County. Now all three will represent the entire district.

"Redistricting was certainly a consideration," DeBoy said.

Adding more Howard County to District 12 will make it necessary to win over a more liberal electorate, and both candidates are known for their moderate Democratic views.

"In redistricting, we lost Oella and West Catonsville, and we picked up Columbia. And you know, the politics out there are a bit different," DeBoy said.

Malone, a member of the House of Delegates since January 1995, said the broader area also contributed to his decision to leave.

"With redistricting, I would have 16 new precincts in my district," he said.

Spending time winning over those new precincts would have meant less with his family, he said.

DeBoy said while he's focused on finishing out his term, which ends January 2015, he's considered another run for public office in 2018.

"I'm thinking about it, if Sheriff [R. Jay Fisher] doesn't decide to run in 2018," DeBoy said.

Malone was less certain, though he did say, "My days of running are 99.9 percent done."

But, he said, he's not ready to divulge his plans for the future just yet.

"My house is up for sale and I have a game plan," said the Halethorpe native.

"I'm way too young too retire," said the 57-year-old. "I think I'll still be working with people, but at a different level."

Working as a team

State Sen. Edward Kasemeyer, who has worked with both men the entire time they have been in office, said it will take time adjusting to their absence.

"The three of us work very well together," Malone said. "With all three of us being in leadership, that's why you see so many projects in the district. We work very hard, we know how to do it."

Malone has served as vice chairman of the Environmental Matters Committee since 2003, DeBoy has served on the Appropriations Committee since he was first elected and Kasemeyer has been chairman of the Budget and Taxation Committee since 2011.

"It's always been a very good relationship, as far as our political views," DeBoy said. "We've always been in the same ball park. And serving our constituents has always been our priority."

"My number one priority is, and always will be, constituent service," Malone said.

Their relationship allowed them to work together to get projects accomplished. One example of their teamwork is a $32.7 million improvement project at the MARC train station in Halethorpe.

Carol Mox, president of the Halethorpe Improvement Association, said the train station was an upgrade for the community, although parking continues to be a problem.

"I think it's going to be hard without [DeBoy and Malone] because they were our local voice," Mox said.

Not everyone was happy with their representatives.

Steve Whisler, a Catonsville Republican who ran for 1st District County Councilman in 2010, said, he believes they failed to keep government spending in check.

The state budget passed by the Senate on March 27, for example, raised state spending by approximately 3 percent at $39 million.

"They're both very nice people," he said. "But I think they've been fiscally irresponsible."

Harry Korrell, a Catonsville Republican who ran against them in 2002, said, "I think they've done a very nice job, but I wish they were Republicans."

"I think they represent us very well. They've been very responsive to the things residents have asked them about," Korrell said.

Malone, a retired Baltimore County firefighter, said he enjoys public service.

He was recently one of two legislators in Annapolis to receive the House of Delegates' Sen. Charles "Mac" Mathias award, given every four years to a legislator for work with members of both parties.

Del. Bob Costa, an Anne Arundel County Republican, was the other recipient of the award.

"Malone's common sense attitude and blue collar history [allows him to understand how a law impacts all Marylanders]. His personality alleviates the stress that sometimes unnecessarily happens in a two-party system. He has been a tremendous asset to the Maryland House of Delegates," he wrote in an email.

Leaving with few regrets

Del. Maggie McIntosh, chair of the Environmental Matters Committee, said she will miss having Malone around.

"I can't even think of it right now — I'll start crying," said McIntosh, a Democrat who represents Baltimore City in District 43.

The duo has chaired the committee for the past 12 years together, the longest serving chairman and vice chairman team in the House.

Malone has contributed an "incredible grasp" of motor vehicle and transportation policy, McIntosh said.

He sponsored the Speed Monitoring Systems Reform Act of 2014 that aims to penalize speed cameras for errors.

He's also sponsored legislation this session that made hand-held cellphone use while driving a primary offense.

Beyond his work as a legislator, McIntosh said she'll miss his sense of humor.

"Life won't be as fun. He has a great sense of humor, which is important in this job," McIntosh said. "Because we can all get too serious about our own bills."

DeBoy said education and public safety have been his top priorities.

He's most proud of his role as a member of the Appropriations Committee, which oversees the passage of the state budget.

"That's the one bill that we pass in the General Assembly every year that affects every person," DeBoy said.

One of his friends on the committee, Del. Galen Clagett, who represents District 3A in Frederick County, said he'll miss working with DeBoy.

"Steve's a really reliable delegate. He does his homework and became part of the leadership on the appropriations committee," said the Frederick County Democrat.

DeBoy said his one regret was not getting a bill passed that would make impersonating a police officer a felony.

"I could never get it passed. It never made it out of the judiciary committee," he said.

"Not that it's an overarching problem. But there are some people out there that misrepresent themselves. I think it's very unsafe, and I would have loved to get that passed," DeBoy said.

DeBoy said he enjoyed the challenge of being a legislator in a district where, "not everyone agrees with all of the legislation coming out of Annapolis."

"Look, if I didn't love challenges, I wouldn't have been a cop for 20 years, investigator in Howard County for 12 years," said the retired Baltimore County police officer.

With a new grandson on the way, he hopes to spend more time at home with his family.

DeBoy lives with his wife Jenny. The couple has three children: Steve Jr., Mandy and Diana.

Both men will continue to serve their communities as delegates until Dec. 31, their last day in office.

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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