Baltimore City Democrats selected Roxane Prettyman, a community and political activist from Sandtown-Winchester, as their choice to fill a vacant seat in the Maryland House of Delegates.
Prettyman’s name will be sent to Gov. Larry Hogan, who has the final say over who fills the open seat created by the resignation of Keith Haynes last month. Haynes, who had represented District 44A in the west and southwest part of the city since 2002, has given no explanation for his retirement.
Nine people applied for the delegate seat and were quizzed by members of the Baltimore City Democratic State Central Committee representing District 44A during an online video meeting Thursday night.
Applicants were asked questions about their qualifications for the job, the top issues facing the district and which committee they’d like to serve on in Annapolis. They also were asked to describe their understanding of what it takes to be a delegate.
District 44A is a narrow district that stretches from the southwest corner along Frederick Road toward the center of the city, encompassing neighborhoods such as Irvington, Gwynns Falls, Carroll-South Hilton, Upton, Midtown-Edmondson, Franklin Square and Mount Royal.
The delegate hopefuls also were asked about a tough issue facing the district: Redistricting. The boundaries for all of the General Assembly districts are going to be redrawn soon, and some in Baltimore fear that District 44A might disappear as a victim of the city’s population loss.
Prettyman said she recognizes the chance the district could evaporate, but said she’d fight against that.
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“It would not stop me from advocating to keep our district intact,” she said. “We would hate to lose a representative for the district.”
Prettyman said she would focus on crime, housing and poverty as her top issues in Annapolis. She said she’d build on her 30-plus years of work in Sandtown-Winchester, which includes volunteering with civic groups, her church and the Democratic Party.
“I’m already the voice for my community, so I believe this puts me on a higher platform to have their voices heard,” she said.
Seven members of the central committee were present for the vote. Four of them voted for Prettyman, including Prettyman herself.
Fellow central committee members Kyle Berkley and Haki Shakur Ammi also were among the applicants for the seat and voted for themselves.
Haynes, also a member of the committee, abstained from voting on his replacement.
“Thank you all for your votes,” Prettyman said after the vote. “I know we’ll all work wonderful together, as always.”