Black History 365: Adrienne Jones

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Adrienne A. Jones (born November 20, 1954) is the Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates, the first African-American and first woman to serve in that position in Maryland.[1] Initially appointed by Governor Parris Glendening to fill the vacancy created by the death of Delegate Joan Neverdonn Parker in 1997, she won multiple subsequent elections to the House.[2] In a special session on May 1, 2019, Jones emerged as the compromise candidate to become Speaker after an earlier vote resulted in a split decision between Delegates Maggie McIntosh and Dereck Davis.[3]

Early life, education and early career

Born in Cowdensville, Maryland, a historic African-American community located near Arbutus, in Southwest Baltimore County. Jones attended Baltimore County public schools and graduated from Lansdowne High School. She graduated from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology in 1976. She has served as the Director of the Office of Minority Affairs in Baltimore County (1989–95) and is the Executive Director of the Office of Fair Practices and Community Affairs in Baltimore County.[2]

Legislative career

Jones has been a member of House of Delegates since October 21, 1997, representing District 10. In addition to being Speaker Pro Tempore from 2003 to 2019, she was a member of the House Appropriations Committee and its public safety & administration subcommittee, among others. She also provides leadership through the Legislative Policy, Spending Affordability, Rules and Executive Nominations and Legislative Ethics Committees. She is also a member of the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland.[4]

Legislative notes

  • Voted for Healthy Air Act in 2006 (SB154)[5]
  • Voted against slot machines in 2005 (HB1361)[6]
  • Voted for income tax reduction in 1998 (SB750)[7]
  • Voted in favor of Tax Reform Act of 2007 (HB2)[8]

Election as Speaker

Jones took over as Acting Speaker of the Maryland House of Delegates on April 7, 2019, following the death of then-Speaker Michael Busch. On May 1, the House of Delegates unanimously elected Jones as Speaker of the House by a vote of 139-0, after Delegates Maggie McIntosh (D-Baltimore City) and Dereck Davis (D-Prince George’s County) bowed out of the Speaker’s race in favor of Jones. Jones is both the first female and first African-American speaker in Maryland state history.[9]

2006 general election results, District 10

Voters to choose three:[10]

Emmett C. Burns, Jr.29,140  34.2%   Won
Shirley Nathan-Pulliam28,544  33.5%   Won
Adrienne A. Jones27,064  31.8%   Won
Other Write-Ins370  0.4%