Incoming Sen. Cory McCray will represent Baltimore on the powerful Budget and Taxation Committee, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller announced Friday.
McCray, 36, will take the committee seat held for 24 years by the man he defeated in June’s Democratic primary, Sen. Nathaniel McFadden.
The committee is regarded as crucial for Baltimore because of its persistent need for help from the state. McCray unseated McFadden after a campaign in which he criticized the veteran senator’s track record in bringing state dollars to the 45th District in East Baltimore.
The announcement came as Miller’s office released its list of committee assignments for the 47-member body, which includes four new senators in Baltimore’s all-Democratic delegation.
All of the 188 seats in the Maryland General Assembly — 47 in the Senate, 141 in the House of Delegates — were on the ballot Tuesday, forcing many veteran incumbents in the Baltimore region and elsewhere to face possible ouster as voters decided whether to make sweeping changes in Annapolis.
Sen.-elect Antonio Hayes, 40, who defeated Sen. Barbara Robinson in the 40th District primary to win his seat, will serve on the Finance Committee, which oversees many areas of business law. Sen.-elect Mary Washington, 56, who upset Sen. Joan Carter Conway in the 43rd District primary, will serve on the Judicial Proceedings Committee, which deals with criminal law, among other topics.
Sen. Jill Carter, 54, who was appointed to her 41st District seat after last year’s legislative session following the resignation of Sen. Nathaniel Oaks, also will serve on the Judicial Proceedings Committee. Her appointment will give Baltimore two seats on a panel where it had not been represented for the past two sessions.
As previously announced, Sen. Bill Ferguson of the 46th District will serve as vice chairman of the Budget and Taxation Committee. Ferguson, the city’s youngest senator at 35, emerged from the election as dean of its Senate delegation.
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Sen. Shirley Nathan-Pulliam, whose 44th District is split between the city of Baltimore and Baltimore County, will serve as vice chairman of the Education, Health and Environmental Affairs Committee, which Conway had chaired. Nathan-Pulliam, 79, survived a primary challenge, even as three of her fellow delegation members lost their seats to younger challengers.
At a Democratic caucus meeting Friday, senators voted to nominate Miller as president for a 33rd consecutive year. The Democrats nominated Baltimore County’s Sen. Kathy Klausmeier, 68, to replace McFadden as president pro tem. Nomination to these posts by the majority party is tantamount to election. Sen. Guy Guzzone of Howard County was named majority leader.
In addition to their appointments to standing committees, several new senators are being given immediate roles acting as Senate chairs of joint committees — prestigious jobs for freshmen, although not nearly as important as chairs of the standing committees that control the flow of bills to the Senate and House floors.
Hayes will be Senate chairman of a joint committee monitoring the opioid crisis. Washington will take on the same role on panels overseeing issues of homelessness and children, youth and families. They are among several new senators from around the state getting such jobs, showing Miller’s emphasis on courting the large freshman class. Next year’s Senate will have 18 of 47 members who have never voted in that chamber before.
Making a gesture to the GOP minority in the Senate, Miller named veteran Republican Sen. George Edwards of western Maryland as Senate chairman of the Joint Committee on Legislative Ethics. While the committee traditionally acts in a bipartisan fashion in policing the conduct of legislators, members of the majority party typically serve as co-chairs.