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5 things to know about Dereck Davis, candidate for Maryland House of Delegates speaker

Democratic Del. Dereck Davis of Prince George’s County is one of two contenders to become the next speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates, filling a role left vacant by the death of Speaker Michael Busch.

Here are some facts about Davis and his career.

1. Prince George’s County, through and through

Davis was born in Washington, but has spent the rest of his life in Prince George's County, attending county public schools and earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Maryland, College Park.

He lives with his wife and children in Mitchellville.

2. Early start in politics

Davis was elected to the House of Delegates in 1994 when he was just 27. Nine years later, in 2003, he was appointed chairman of the Economic Matters Committee.

Before running for office, Davis worked for the Prince George’s County Council as a constituent services aide and a legislative aide.

3. Brief run for Congress

Davis made a brief run for Congress in 2015-2016, trying to win an open seat based largely in Prince George’s that ultimately went to Democratic U.S. Rep. Anthony Brown.

Davis ended up withdrawing from the contest.

4. A more centrist Democrat?

Davis, at times, has voted against the Democratic Party’s progressive wing, including against legalizing same-sex marriages in 2012.

But several bills that are party priorities have come through his committee, including raising Maryland’s minimum wage (twice), requiring companies to give workers sick leave and requiring a certain amount of the state’s electricity to come from renewable sources.

“I don’t think anyone that’s actually conservative would refer to me as conservative,” he said.

5. Hand-picked by Busch

Busch plucked Davis from relative obscurity to lead the Economic Matters Committee — Busch’s old committee — when Busch became speaker in 2003.

Davis said one of the greatest compliments he ever received was when Busch, speaking to the committee in 2017, said: “When I look at Chairman Davis, I see myself in him.”

Davis keeps a recording of that comment on his cell phone.

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