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Former Maryland Delegate Christine Jones died in the aftermath of a house fire, and leaves behind a legacy of breaking barriers for African-Americans and women in local politics. News4 Prince George's County Bureau Chief Tracee Wilkins has more on what Jones meant to lawmakers across the state.
Authorities say a longtime Maryland legislator and teacher died after she was pulled from a fire in her Prince George's County home.
County fire department spokesman Mark Brady said 83-year-old Christine M. Jones died Saturday night at a Baltimore hospital. She was found Thursday in a fire at her Temple Hills home. Brady said Sunday that the cause of death had not been determined. The fire is still under investigation.
Jones represented Prince George's County in the House of Delegates from 1982 to 1994. In her final year, she was the assistant floor leader for House Democrats.
She was a trailblazer: The first African-American woman elected to the Maryland General Assembly from Prince George's County, laying the groundwork for countless women to follow in every level of Maryland government, News4 Prince George's County Bureau Chief Tracee Wilkins reported.
"It was easier because Christine Jones was there," said Delegate Carolyn Howard, D-District 24.
Prince George's County Council member Karen Toles said Jones was her inspiration and friend, mentoring Toles when she first ran for County Council.
“She stood with me, she stuffed bags with me, she knocked on doors for me, she talked with me when I was having down days,” Toles said.
Jones also had a 30-year career as a teacher and educator in the Prince George's County school system, specializing in physical education.