Lisanti must resign, and we need a "Clean $15" for all

Progressive Maryland members who have been mobilizing for a Lobby Night March 4 will shift our focus to a news conference that PM_Logo.pngevening at 6 PM in the House Office Building (Room 142) to urge Del. Mary Anne Lisanti’s resignation and follow it with a mass distribution of information for House members as the Fight for $15 moves to the full Assembly.

The shocking and still-unfolding story of Harford Del. Mary Anne Lisanti’s racist remarks to colleagues at an Annapolis bar has galvanized the House (which has formally censured her). That, coupled with the vibrant debate on the $15 minimum wage bill in the House, has transformed the imperatives for Progressive Maryland and its allies as the General Assembly session heats up.

Progressive Maryland members who have been mobilizing for a Lobby Night March 4 will shift our focus to a news conference that day at 6 PM in the House Office Building (Room 142) to urge Del. Lisanti’s resignation and follow it with a mass distribution of information for House members as the Fight for $15 moves to the full Assembly.

We will pursue both these goals as our focus in this extraordinary moment.

Larry Stafford, executive director of Progressive Maryland, made the following statement calling for the resignation of Mary Ann Lisanti:

Progressive Maryland calls for Mary Ann Lisanti to resign following both the allegation of racist speech and her tone deaf statements on the revelation of the original incident. Lisanti has lost her ability to credibly represent the people of her district and fight_for_15.jpgmake policy for all Marylanders. Anyone who disrespects African Americans -- as Mary Ann Lisanti clearly does -- has no business serving in the Maryland General Assembly.

“There are issues pending before the Maryland General Assembly that have serious implications for people of color. For example, the $15 minimum wage bill that will be voted on by the House of Delegates has been amended with weakening policies that disproportionately affect workers of color. Based on Lisanti’s comments, she shouldn’t vote on these measures.

“Racism is perpetuated in a million ways, overt and covert, including racist speech and racist action. As with the hateful Jim Crow laws, racism can be expressed in policy. Our hope is that this ugly incident challenges the Maryland General Assembly to create an equitable minimum wage bill that address past injustices and includes all low wage workers, as well as a legislative body where all Marylanders are considered and treated equally.”

Del. Lisanti, as Stafford noted, should not vote on the badly amended version of HB 166 that the Economic Matters Committee sent to the House floor. It excluded low-income, often minority Marylanders from the benefits of a living wage for the state’s people. That committee’s disgraceful kowtowing to the state’s well-funded corporate and business lobby has made bringing relief to low-paid workers a heavier lift. It is one that all House members must join, as the Senate considers its version as soon as next week.

Progressive Maryland activists will press the case for a “Clean $15” this Monday, March 4 and progressives statewide can join us here.