The speaker of the House of Delegates, Casper R. Taylor Jr., was hospitalized yesterday after complaining of chest pains. The Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C., reported Mr. Taylor, 60, in serious but stable condition yesterday evening.
The speaker, who just last week had completed the grueling 90-day legislative session in Annapolis, complained to his family of chest pains over the weekend, said Dan McMullen, a family friend.
When the pain returned yesterday after a midmorning walk around his Cumberland neighborhood, Mr. Taylor and his wife, Polly, drove to the city's Memorial Hospital and Medical Center, where he was admitted to the intensive care unit.
About 2 p.m., Mr. Taylor was flown by helicopter to the hospital in Northwest Washington for further tests. Mr. McMullen said the speaker was expected to undergo a catheterization, in which physicians insert a tiny tube into an artery to see if it is blocked.
Hospital officials would not say whether he had a heart attack.
Colleagues expressed relief yesterday that Mr. Taylor's condition did not appear to be worse and wished him a quick recovery.
"I think all of us have come home from the 90-day session thoroughly worn out," said Del. Betty Workman, a fellow Democrat from Cumberland. "I'm hoping this is just a warning sign, because we sure do need him."
Said Gov. Parris N. Glendening in a prepared statement: "Cas is a great leader and a tremendous asset to the state of Maryland. I, as well as all Marylanders, wish him the best and am hopeful that he recovers quickly."
Some also gently suggested that the speaker, who is a smoker, might take better care of himself. As speaker, one of the most powerful political jobs in Maryland, he works long hours trying to craft legislation and keep the peace among 140 delegates.
"He's what is called a classic candidate," said Mr. McMullen, who serves as county administrator in Mr. Taylor's home county of Allegany.
But he said he thought the speaker had tried to take care of himself during the 1995 General Assembly. He had cut down on smoking and walked the halls of a hotel where he stayed during the week, Mr. McMullen said.