Gov. Larry Hogan appointed Chanel Branch to the Maryland House of Delegates Monday, filling the seat of Cheryl Glenn, who recently resigned and pleaded guilty to federal corruption charges.
Branch, a Democrat, was nominated after a controversial meeting two weeks ago in which she cast the deciding vote for herself. The seven members of the 45th Legislative District of the Baltimore City Democratic Central Committee — which Branch chairs — were tasked with choosing Glenn’s replacement. Branch got three votes.
Branch will fill the remainder of Glenn’s term, which runs until January 2023. She was sworn in Tuesday.
“I am confident that Chanel Branch will represent the citizens of Baltimore City admirably in her new role as state delegate,” the Republican governor said in a statement. “I offer Ms. Branch my sincere congratulations and look forward to working with her during this legislative session.”
Branch’s nomination revived a debate about the way General Assembly vacancies are filled, and whether the process does enough to consider voters’ voices. Some Maryland legislators are pushing for future appointees to stand for election in the next regularly scheduled statewide election.
Branch works as director of support operations for strategy and administration for the Maryland Department of Human Services.
As a member of the House, she will be paid $50,330 a year.
She will serve alongside her father, House Majority Whip Talmadge Branch of Baltimore. He is a candidate in the Maryland 7th Congressional District special primary next week to replace to the late U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings.
Branch said in an earlier interview that her father’s high-profile role won’t influence her decisions.
“Living in my household, we’ve always been taught to be independent,” she said. “I’m a daddy’s girl, but I’m my own person and I won’t allow our relationship to interfere with my work.”
Branch has pledged to prioritize fighting crime. She lost her son, 22-year-old Tyrone Ray, to gun violence in 2017. She and her father then lobbied lawmakers for $3.6 million to expand Safe Streets, an anti-violence initiative, to more Baltimore neighborhoods.