Del. Adrienne Jones Elected First Black, First Female Speaker of Maryland House of Delegates

Baltimore County Del. Adrienne Jones has been elected the first black and first woman speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates.

Jones was poised to receive full Democratic support to be the next speaker after the two other candidates vying for the position withdrew their nominations in support of a unity candidate, sources told News4.

Jones, who was previously the Speaker Pro-Tem, is now the first woman and the first African American to lead either chamber of the Maryland General Assembly.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan congratulated Jones on her election Wednesday afternoon.

"I extend my sincere congratulations to Adrienne Jones on becoming the 107th Speaker of the House of Delegates. The election of our first African-American and first female Speaker marks a proud and historic moment for our state," Hogan said on Twitter.

Maryland lawmakers were set to choose for the first time during a special one-day session Wednesday a speaker that wouldn't be a white man.

Before the election, Del. Maggie McIntosh, a white lesbian progressive Democrat from Baltimore, had run against Del. Dereck Davis, a black Democrat from Prince George's County, for the speakership. McIntosh initally cinched the nomination in a 58-40 vote.

House Republicans previously said they would support Davis' bid for the speakership, giving him a majority in a full floor vote.

But in a surprise, Democrats united around Jones after Davis withdrew from the race.

"I'm excited for what's to happen, what's about to happen," Davis said.

Democrats and Republicans then conducted a full vote on the House floor, where McIntosh nominated Jones for the speakership and Davis seconded the nomination. Jones won the vote by a 138 to 1 margin.

The funeral for Maryland House Speaker Michael Busch was held in an Annapolis church. Busch’s daughters and Governor Larry Hogan were among many who spoke about what he meant to them. Busch was remembered as a father, husband and mentor. News4’s Darcy Spencer reports.

It's been a close race in an unusually public contest that generally has been settled for decades in private conversations between legislators before the final public vote.

Lawmakers were choosing a successor to Michael Busch, the longest-serving House speaker in the state's history. He died the day before the annual legislative session ended April 8.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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