Del. Jane E. Lawton, a Montgomery County Democrat who spent most of her career in elected and appointed offices, died suddenly yesterday in Washington after giving a presentation before a federal agency. She was 63.
Delegate Lawton, who was appointed to fill a vacant House of Delegates seat in 2005 and was elected last year to her own term, was known for her advocacy of affordable housing. The former Chevy Chase mayor had worked for the Montgomery County government since 1992.
"Jane Lawton was a lifelong public servant who dedicated her energy and talents to enriching the lives of others," House Speaker Michael E. Busch said in a statement. "She was a tireless advocate who worked to improve the Chesapeake Bay, create sustainable communities and provide more opportunities for affordable housing across the State. This is a tremendous loss for the General Assembly and the people of Maryland."
Gov. Martin O'Malley and Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown both mourned Delegate Lawton's death. Brown, who served with her in the House, called her "a fine person and a finer legislator." Maryland Democratic Party Chairman Michael Cryor lamented the loss of a "rising legislative star and a longtime Democratic pillar ... in Montgomery County."
Delegate Lawton, who was married and had two daughters, was pronounced dead at George Washington Hospital. The cause of death had not been determined yesterday evening.
Andrew A. Green