Nathaniel T. Oaks, a Democrat who represented Baltimore in the House of Delegates for almost 30 years, is now a senator.
Oaks, 70, took the oath of office in the Senate chamber Friday afternoon after waiting out a lengthy debate on the powers of the Maryland Attorney General's Office. He started his day by attending the Baltimore House delegation's Friday morning meeting but before the day was over voted on several gubernatorial nominations as a senator.
Oaks, who had not brought a Bible along for the ceremony, took the oath with his hand on Scriptures pulled up on a smart phone. He was joined on the podium by his friend, Larry Young, who returned to the Senate he was expelled from in 1998 in an ethics scandal. Young has since rebuilt his career as a popular radio host and influential political commentator in Baltimore.
Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, who administered the oath, directed the new senator to his new desk at the back of the chamber.
"I'm almost still in the House," Oaks said.
The veteran lawmaker replaces Lisa Gladden, who had represented the 41st District in the Senate for 14 years. Gladden, a Democrat, resigned on the first day of the annual session last month for health reasons.
Oaks was recommended last month by the Democratic State Central Committee for the district, which has the power under Maryland's Constitution to fill a vacancy. Gov. Larry Hogan formally made the appointment.
Angela Gibson, a longtime employee in the Baltimore mayor's office, was selected to succeed Oaks in the House Thursday night. She is expected to take the oath later this month.
Oaks had been a delegate since 1995. He previously served in the House from 1983 to 1989.
Gladden's resignation and former state Sen. Catherine E. Pugh's election as mayor of Baltimore in November triggered a shake-up in Baltimore's all-Democratic General Assembly delegation.
Pugh was replaced in the Senate by Del. Barbara Robinson. Former City Councilman Nick J. Mosby was appointed to fill Robinson's seat.
Del. Pete Hammen resigned to become Pugh's chief operating officer. He was replaced by new Del. Robbyn Lewis.
Del. Bilal Ali, a community liaison in the Baltimore state's attorney's office, replaced Jill P. Carter, who joined the Pugh administration last month as director of the Office of Civil Rights and Wage Enforcement.