Legislative District 44 Vacancy Appointment

Last night, I was honored to take part in the process to appoint a new state senator to fill the vacancy left by the resignation of Senator Shirley Nathan-Pulliam. This was one of the most difficult decisions I’ve ever had to make. All of the candidates were excellent, each in their own way. I spent hours looking at resumes and materials submitted by the applicants, looking up voting records for those who are in the House of Delegates, and reading constituent feedback and endorsements.

By the end, though, my choice was clear. Delegate Charles Sydnor represents everything that I think a legislator should be. He actively supports policies that benefit his constituents, and works hard for his constituents in both legislation and constituent services. The positive comments we received from the community in support of Delegate Sydnor were overwhelming. We received many positive comments from constituents, from community associations, from advocacy groups working in the community, and from other elected officials. But the emails from constituents, many of them with personal stories, were the most meaningful.

A good legislator has to operate on both the micro and macro levels. On the micro level are the individual constituents, and that’s where constituent services come in. From the emails we received, Delegate Sydnor works hard on constituent services and serves his constituents well and with dedication. On the macro level, Delegate Sydnor looks at the problems his constituents bring to him and, when appropriate and needed, introduces legislation to help address those problems more widely. One example of this was the bill he introduced in 2019 to require insurance coverage for pediatric auto-immune disorders such as PANDAS. (2019 HB15) This bill came out of conversations with a constituent family who have a child suffering from PANDAS.

After hours of interviews with the candidates and deliberations, the elected Baltimore County Democratic Central Committee members from District 44B voted to select Charles Sydnor to fill the vacancy. The selection will need to be ratified by the full Baltimore County Democratic Central Committee on Tuesday night. Because District 44 overlaps Baltimore City and Baltimore County, the Baltimore City Democratic Central Committee members in District 44A also voted for their selection, and they chose Delegate Keith Haynes. Each of the two Democratic Central Committees chose the candidate that we felt best represents the district, as is our right under the Maryland Constitution.

Assuming that the selection of Delegate Sydnor is ratified by the full committee on Tuesday, both names will be sent to the governor to choose whom to appoint. I hope that Governor Hogan will take note of the hard work and service that Delegate Sydnor provides to his constituents. Regardless of party, that kind of service to the community matters a great deal.

I’m proud of my fellow District 44B members of central committee for the hard work we undertook in making this selection. Although we did not all agree on who was the best candidate, I’m confident that we did our due diligence and gave our duty under the Maryland Constitution the seriousness it deserved. In addition to studying submitted materials from the candidates and the community, we interviewed each candidate for 40 minutes and deliberated late into the night. Each of us voted our conscience for the candidate we thought best.

I also wanted to thank all the candidates for putting their names forward and for taking part in the process. It’s never easy to put yourself out there for something like this, and I have much respect for you. You all clearly care deeply about your communities and each serve in your own ways. I wish you all the best and hope to have the chance to work with you in the future.