Community activist Robbyn Lewis took a step Wednesday toward filling the state delegate seat vacated by Del. Pete Hammen when he joined the administration of new Baltimore Mayor Catherine E. Pugh.
The Democratic central committee for the district voted, 6-1, to recommend Lewis to Gov. Larry Hogan for appointment to replace Hammen. One vote on the seven-member committee went to Dea Thomas, who was runner-up in this year's race for a City Council seat.
The committee was elected by voters during the Democratic primary two years ago.
Lewis, 53, who works for the Maryland Health Benefit Exchange and was an activist for the Red Line light rail, had the backing of the incumbent delegates and state senator in Southeast Baltimore's 46th District. Afterward, she said they encouraged her to apply for the seat.
"I feel very excited and very humbled and ready to work," Lewis said. "I'm coming in the middle of Pete Hammen's term. I see my role as stepping in to join the District 46 team and work hard for the agenda that is already in place."
State Sen. Bill Ferguson and state Dels. Luke Clippinger and Brooke Lierman endorsed Lewis earlier this month.
A former member of the Patterson Park Neighborhood Association, Lewis said she sees the city as ready to rapidly improve with a new mayor and eight new City Council members.
"We're going to come out from behind and thrill the whole world with what we're going to do," she said. "We are well-positioned to turn our city around."
Hammen joined the Pugh administration as her chief operating officer.
Bob Murray, chairman of the committee that selected Lewis, said he and others were impressed with her resume.
"She's very sharp, very experienced and very engaging," he said. Murray said he will miss Hammen in the job, but thinks the city is "incredibly fortunate" to have him as a chief operating officer.
Both Lewis and Thomas are members of Emerge Maryland's latest training class. The organization trains Democratic women to run for office.
The General Assembly will convene Jan. 11 for its annual 90-day session in Annapolis.