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Democrat Shaneka Henson of Annapolis sworn in to fill seat of late Maryland House Speaker Busch

Democrat Shaneka Henson of Annapolis sworn in to fill seat of late Maryland House Speaker Busch
Maryland House Speaker Adrienne Jones, left, looks on as new Del. Shaneka Henson gives remarks Thursday after being sworn in in Annapolis. Henson is a delegate from District 30A and is the first African American woman to represent Annapolis in the General Assembly. (Paul W. Gillespie / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

During a ceremony Thursday at the State House, Del. Shaneka Henson was sworn into her position as a member of the Maryland House of Delegates.

Henson, a Democrat from Annapolis, was nominated by party leaders to fill a seat left vacant by the April death of longtime Democratic Speaker Michael Busch. Republican Gov. Larry Hogan accepted the party’s recommendation and appointed Henson to the position.

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In brief remarks to several dozen supporters in the House chamber, Henson credited Busch for advancing women and minorities in Maryland politics.

“If he had not opened the doors that he did, I would not be before you today,” Henson said.

Speaker Adrienne Jones administered the oath of office to Henson, who then signed a book to make it official.

“She has to get paid, so she has to sign the test book,” Jones joked. (Delegates and senators are paid an annual salary of $50,330.)

Henson’s husband, Marcus Johnson, then affixed a House of Delegates pin on her lapel. Henson’s son, Khalil Hawkins, 15, also attended the ceremony. So did a number of Annapolis-area community leaders and politicians, including delegates and senators, Democratic Anne Arundel County Executive Steuart Pittman and Annapolis Mayor Gavin Buckley, also a Democrat.

Henson represents District 30A, which includes the city of Annapolis and the greater Annapolis area, as well as some neighborhoods on the Broadneck Peninsula and in Edgewater.

Henson, an attorney, previously served as an alderwoman on the Annapolis City Council. Special elections are being held to fill that vacancy.

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