‘Awesome responsibility’: Anthony Brown sworn in as Maryland attorney general

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan, left, swears in Anthony Brown, facing camera, as Maryland's attorney general as Brown's wife, Karmen Walker Brown, back left, and John C. Wobensmith, the secretary of state, right, look on in the house chamber at the State House in Annapolis on Tuesday.

When outgoing Gov. Larry Hogan administered the oath of office Tuesday to new Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown, it was a historic first.

A former Army colonel, Maryland delegate, lieutenant governor and U.S. representative, Brown, now the state’s 47th attorney general, is the first Black person to hold the office.


“It’s not lost on me that I am the first African American to hold this office and to assume this awesome responsibility,” Brown, 61, told a capacity crowd in the Maryland House chambers.

Speaker of the House Adrienne A. Jones, both the first woman and Black person to be elected to that role, said Brown’s swearing-in was the shattering of another “glass ceiling” and that she understands the pressures of being a “first.”


“It comes with heightened expectations, responsibility and scrutiny,” she said.

Brown, a Democrat, ran against Hogan in the 2014 governor’s race, fresh off his stint as lieutenant governor under Martin O’Malley.

“I said to the governor when he came in, I said, ‘You know, Larry, I wouldn’t be taking the oath today if it had not been for you eight years ago,’” Brown said.

Brown replaces fellow Democrat Brian Frosh, who filed several high-profile lawsuits during his eight years as attorney general. Notably, Frosh, along with other attorneys general from across the country, regularly sued former President Donald Trump’s administration, challenging tax laws, immigration orders, environmental decisions and more. Frosh’s office also took on a greater role in public safety, prosecuting organized crime in Baltimore and throughout the state.

Brown, Hogan, Democratic Governor-elect Wes Moore and lawmakers all congratulated Frosh, also a former delegate and senator, for his years of public service.

New Maryland Attorney General Anthony Brown speaks at the lectern to the House of Delegates during the swearing-in ceremony at State House in Annapolis on Tuesday.

“Our state has not seen a greater champion for climate, has not seen a greater champion for women’s rights,” Moore said of Frosh, also a Democrat. “And the truth is that anyone who is following you understands the enormous shoes they have to fill.”

Frosh spoke highly of Brown, saying he is dedicated to public service.

“I know he will continue to use this office to protect Marylanders, to improve their lives and to deliver justice,” Frosh said. “Mr. Attorney General, good luck and Godspeed.”


Thanking Frosh, Brown said he would work to build on his predecessor’s successes.

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“It is at this moment that I proudly take the office and accept the responsibility of attorney general, ready to get to work and pledge that central to our mission will be the defense of democracy, the protection of rights and the pursuit of justice,” Brown said.

Brown has set ambitious goals for his early days in office, with the Prince George’s County resident likely to be spending more time in Annapolis working with lawmakers to advance his priorities than behind his desk in Baltimore.

The new attorney general, describing himself as the “people’s lawyer” during a lengthy speech, is asking for an increased budget to expand the office’s organized crime unit, with plans to double its size. He also is seeking legislative approval to sue civil rights violators and to investigate police departments for patterns of misconduct. The agency already investigates any time a police officer kills someone in Maryland but does not have the authority to prosecute those officers. Brown said Tuesday that he would have conversations with House and Senate leadership about the possibility of receiving prosecutorial powers.

Many midlevel officials in the office attended their new boss’ swearing-in, as did his three deputies. Deputy Attorney General Carolyn Quattrocki, who served under Frosh, will keep her title. Candace McLaren Lanham, previously a lawyer in private practice in Washington, D.C., and with the U.S. Department of Education, will become Brown’s chief deputy.

Zenita Wickham Hurley waves to the audience as she is introduced by Anthony Brown, who speaks at the lectern to the House of Delegates during the swearing-in ceremony of Maryland's attorney general at State House in Annapolis on Tuesday.

Zenita Wickham Hurley was named chief of Brown’s newly created Office of Equity, Policy and Engagement. Hurley had been with the office since 2017 as the chief counsel for civil rights.


Brown said he did not anticipate “wholesale changes in personnel” to his staff, adding that most of his division chiefs are “experienced professionals.”

Also in attendance were Brown’s wife, his mother, Senate President Bill Ferguson, former Attorney General Doug Gansler and Maryland Secretary of State John Wobensmith, along with numerous other lawmakers and officials.