Del. Adrienne Jones Was Elected Maryland's First Black, Woman House Speaker
On Wednesday, Maryland lawmakers elected Democratic Del. Adrienne Jones as Maryland's House Speaker and the moment made history. Jones is very first woman and first black speaker of the state's House. Jones was selected as a consensus candidate after a lengthy and contentious closed-door meeting among Democrats, according to The Washington Post.
"Wow," Jones said on the House floor after finding out. "I didn’t think I would be here when I left out of my house this morning."
Initially, per HuffPost, Jones had been running for House speakership but dropped out on Monday. That day, while speaking at Baltimore's Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African-American History and Culture, Jones announced that she would back Del. Dereck Davis of Prince George’s County, The Times Union reported.
In an official statement, Jones explained on Monday, "We as a people are in difficult times, and unity must outweigh politics and pride. It is for that reason that I am calling for the Legislative Black Caucus to unite and join me in supporting Del. Dereck E. Davis as the next speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates." Speaking of her initial bid for House speakership, Jones said that she waited to announce her run a few days after the former Maryland House Speaker Michael Busch died on April 7, The Baltimore Sun reported.
With Jones out of the race at the time, the state's House had to choose between two veteran lawmakers: Baltimore City Del. Maggie McIntosh and Davis. The outlet noted a lawmaker present in the closed-door meeting said that McIntosh, who chairs the Appropriation Committee of the Maryland House of Delegates, agreed to bow out of the race. That's reportedly because she didn't have enough votes to secure a victory on the House floor.
According to HuffPost, McIntosh said that the candidate to replace her needed 71 votes from the Maryland House to win, and ought to be from the Legislative Black Caucus. After House Democrats agreed on Jones as their candidate, the delegate reentered the race.
In her victory speech, Jones gave a heartfelt thank you to delegates McIntosh and Davis. "It's because of them we've been able to come together," the House speaker said. "They sought the importance of us as a caucus coming together and for that, I'm truly grateful." The chamber gave her a standing ovation.
Maryland Republican Gov. Larry Hogan also congratulated Jones in an official statement, WDVM reported. "The election of our first African-American and first female Speaker marks a proud and historic moment for our state," Hogan stated. "It is also a moment of great opportunity; Adrienne has pledged to be a Speaker for all delegates, and that is exactly the kind of bipartisan, collaborative spirit our state needs right now."
On social media, Jones' colleagues appeared to be thrilled for her as well. Maryland Democratic Del. Robbyn Lewis tweeted a photo of the overwhelming votes the newly-elected House speaker received on Wednesday. She summed her thoughts up on Jones' big win in two simple words: "Historic. Amazing."