Progressive Maryland and allied progressive groups have told Maryland House Democrats to stick together on choosing a new speaker or pay the price -- a clear message to deter collusion with House Republicans -- and the state Democratic Chair, Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, has now echoed that imperative.
Progressive Maryland was among a coalition of progressive groups that sent this letter yesterday to the House Democratic Caucus. It warns the caucus that a divided vote for the next Speaker will call into question the coalition’s support for individual members involved. The BlogSpace reposted the Maryland Matters account yesterday, included our executive director Larry Stafford Jr.’s observation that such collusion with the GOP would be a “nearly unwashable stain.”
Almost simultaneously, Maryland Democratic Party Chair Maya Rockeymoore Cummings has warned House Democrats not to let the caucus be split so that GOP votes could determine the next House Speaker, suggesting the party would withhold support from anyone who did. Here is that letter, published today (April 25) with Maryland Matters’s comments by editor Josh Kurtz.
The Assembly is due to reconvene May 1 to elect a successor to Speaker Mike Busch, who died the weekend before the April 8 close of the Session.
/By Josh Kurtz <> Maryland Matters/ As first reported by Maryland Matters Wednesday, a group of progressive groups and labor unions is sending a letter to all 98 Democrats in the House of Delegates, urging them to back the eventual Democratic caucus nominee to replace the late Speaker Michael E. Busch (D) when the vote reaches the House floor next week.
The move is meant to forestall an expected push by the 42 House Republicans to unify behind House Economic Matters Chair Dereck E. Davis (D-Prince George’s), who is seeking the gavel along with Speaker Pro Tem Adrienne A. Jones (D-Baltimore County) and House Appropriations Chair Maggie L. McIntosh (D-Baltimore City). McIntosh is believed to be close to sewing up a majority of the caucus support – though with caucus elections no vote is guaranteed.
The letter reads as follows:
“Working families across Maryland mourn the loss of Speaker Michael Busch, who led the House of Delegates with equal parts determination and fairness while leading the Chamber to pass critical reforms reflecting Maryland’s progressive values.
As the House of Delegates now moves to elect a new Speaker, we urge the body to champion the same values that have moved our state forward: available and affordable health care, world-class public schools, a fair and thriving economy, pristine natural resources, protection from gun violence, a reliable safety net to help those in need, and a commitment to greater justice for all Marylanders regardless of who they are, where they come from, who they pray to, and who they love. Time and again, these values have been debated through legislative initiatives in the House of Delegates, and we are proud that our members live in a state where important advances have been made.
The Democratic Caucus has an important choice to make in advance of the House of Delegates’ Speaker election. However individual caucus members vote in their caucus room, we encourage every member of the Democratic Caucus to support the caucus’ eventual nominee once presented to the full House of Delegates. We encourage Republican votes for this nominee as well, as we believe lasting policy is best developed when common visions are embraced regardless of political ideology.
The vote for Speaker is an admittedly political choice and there is perhaps no greater indication of a member’s values than who they vote to install as the next Speaker. As such, every member organization signed below will take this vote into serious consideration in evaluating incumbents in future elections. Efforts to splinter the caucus will put the priorities of working families and our shared Maryland values at risk, which is why we believe it is so important that the Democratic Caucus speak with a unified voice.
There is much to accomplish after this important vote. We need unity and focus to meet the challenges that lie ahead.”
The groups signing onto the letter are: CASA in Action, Jews United for Justice Campaign Fund, Maryland State Education Association, Maryland Working Families, NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland, Our Revolution, Progressive Maryland, Service Employees International Union Local 500, 1199SEIU, SEIU State Council, and UNITE HERE Local 25.
This first appeared in Maryland Matters April 25.