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Delegate Dwyer apologizes to House

Del. Don Dwyer, who is serving jail time on weekends after two alcohol-related convictions, apologized Friday to fellow members of the House of Delegates for bringing "undue attention" to the General Assembly.

"I ask you for your forgiveness," Dwyer said. "I've made some serious mistakes that I'll regret for the rest of my life."

His colleagues reacted to the apology with silence.

Dwyer, an Anne Arundel County Republican, spoke at the close of the morning session, one day after House Speaker Michael E. Busch stripped him of his seat on the Ways & Means Committee. That makes Dwyer the only state lawmaker without a vote on one of the committees that review, shape and often kill proposed legislation.

"I completely accept the removal of my committee assignment," Dwyer told colleagues.

The three-term delegate said he also accepts the decision of a judge to sentence him to serve 30 weekends in jail after being convicted of drunken driving last October. The sentence was for that offense, as well as for his conviction of operating a motorboat while under the influence at the time of a 2012 crash on the Magothy River. Dwyer was among six people injured.

He told the House that he agrees with the judge that elected officials should be held to a higher standard of conduct.

Dwyer has said he plans to remain in office and seek re-election. He is still permitted to introduce bills and to speak and vote on the House floor.

Del. Curt Anderson, a Baltimore Democrat, said he didn't stand and applaud after Dwyer's brief speech but wishes he had.

"My heart went out to him." Anderson said. "Part of his healing process is going to be people helping him — mainly his family and friends and supposedly his friends in the legislature."

A fellow Republican, Del. Michael D. Smiegel of Cecil County, said Dwyer handled the matter with dignity. "I don't know how much more you can do to say you're taking responsibility for your actions," Smigiel said.

michael.dresser@baltsun.com

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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