Baltimore Women United is excited and honored to congratulate Maryland’s new Speaker of the House of Delegates, Adrienne Jones!
We witnessed herstory Wednesday, May 1, 2019, when Speaker Jones (D - Baltimore County) was unanimously elected Speaker. She is the first woman and first African American to be elected to this role in Maryland and the third African American woman ever in the US to serve as the presiding officer of a state legislature.
Speaker Jones originally withdrew from consideration to unite African American legislators behind a single candidate. Then, during the dramatic closed-door Democratic Caucus session to elect their nominee for Speaker, it became clear that Del. Jones was the only candidate who could unite the entire Democratic Caucus. The two candidates in the running - Del. Maggie McIntosh (D-Baltimore City) & Del. Derreck Davis (D- Prince George’s County) - stepped aside, asking Jones to take on this leadership role to ensure a united caucus vote. Doing so allowed for a unanimous 139-0 vote on the floor. A united caucus is critical to ensuring progressive values and policies move forward in Maryland.
Speaker Jones is the right person for this job. She served as Speaker Pro Tem for sixteen years, and in this role she delivered stabilizing leadership for the House during the illness and after the unexpected death of Speaker Michael Busch. As Chair of the Education Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee, Speaker Jones helped Chairwoman McIntosh escalate education reform funding for the implementation of the recommendations from the historic Kirwan Commission. As Chair of the Capital Budget SubCommittee, she has navigated the diverse interests of her colleagues, those of communities, counties, municipalities, and initiatives across the state to ensure they get funding, and the state maintain a balanced capital budget.
Speaker Jones has the interest of the state, of working families, and of women when she leads. One of her pieces of legislation which passed this last session increased the cap on child care subsidies reimbursements. She knows that child care is so expensive for families and has worked to change that. One bill she sponsored in the 2018 session created the Thrive by Three fund which helps fund more prenatal and infant care coordination. She also sponsored the 21st Century Schools Facilities Act in 2018, which provided more funding for school construction, reconstituted the agency that oversees school construction so there is more accountability and reporting, and streamline the state approval process for school construction.
During the press conference after the historic vote, Speaker Jones committed to looking at how the General Assembly works, and making corrections as needed. She will be reviewing committee assignments and leadership positions. She will be traveling the state to meet with her members, and learn more about the issues in their areas.
As Delegate, Speaker Jones represents the 10th District in Baltimore County. She was first appointed to fill a vacancy in 1997, and won her seat outright in 1998. She became Speaker Pro-Tem in 2003 when Michael Busch became Speaker. She is an alumni of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC).
Speaker Jones has spoken at several BWU events and is a staunch supporter of our work. We are so thrilled for her, and for all of us. Herstory has been made in Maryland. We look forward to working with her on the issues we care about, such as Equal Pay (including removing the salary history question), improving the sexual harassment and sexual assault policies for the General Assembly and for workplaces across Maryland, including tipped workers for increased minimum wage,establishing a women’s pre-release center, and more.
We have invited her to join us at upcoming events, and will send out the notice when we are able to get time on her busy schedule.
Congratulations Speaker Adrienne Jones!