Prof. Pam Queen was selected by MCDCC as the new delegate from District 14 on the first ballot. Congratulations to Pam and thanks to Herman Taylor and Mark Feinroth for offering to serve and their participation in the process.
George’s letter to MCDCC:
I’m writing to express my hope that MCDCC will appoint Herman Taylor to the District 14 Delegate seat.
With a Republican governor in Annapolis, it is more important than ever that Montgomery County build closer relationships with other Democratic-majority jurisdictions, especially Baltimore and Prince George’s County. Herman was an officer of the Legislative Black Caucus and has warm, long-standing friendships with the senators and delegates from those jurisdictions.
The central committee’s process is — correctly in my judgment — being criticized for failing to give District 14 voters a voice. Herman was elected by those voters twice already, in 2002 and 2006.
I like and respect Pam Queen, Chris Bradbury and Mark Feinroth. I understand these are tough choices. But there is no doubt in my mind that Montgomery County will be best served at this moment by putting Herman back in the seat he occupied previously.
Thank you for considering my point of view.
The contest for the vacant delegate seat continues to heat up. While the District 14 delegation, Muslim Democratic Club, and MD NARAL PAC have backed Pam Queen, the Montgomery County Democratic Clubs of Color, Councilmember Nancy Navarro, and the NAACP Political Chair are behind Herman Taylor.
Taylor has defended his record on abortion rights vociferously in response to attacks on his past voting record in the House of Delegates by MD NARAL PAC. Backed by supporters, Taylor promises a 100% pro-choice voting record. Competing records on LGBT rights may well become the next issue to come under scrutiny as the Central Committee fills the vacancy this evening.
In 2008, almost all Montgomery County delegates received perfect ratings of 100 from Equality Maryland’s PAC. Taylor tied with Luiz Simmons, defeated in his 2014 bid for the Senate, for the lowest score in the House delegation at 60. Taylor stood out in the MoCo delegation one of only three delegates not to sponsor marriage equality. No votes were held on the issue, so sponsorship was a key signal of support.
Taylor again tied Simmons for the lowest score among Montgomery delegates in 2009. He was one of the few legislators in the County not to consponsor either marriage equality or the bill to add gender identity to existing state law prohibiting discrimination. Again, votes were not held, so sponsorship was a key signal of public support.
As anti-LGBT bills continue to surface in the General Assembly, I hope the Central Committee asks not just Herman Taylor but all of the candidates good questions on their views regarding protections for LGBT Marylanders.
Here are the complete 2008 and 2009 scorecards from Equality Maryland PAC:
Odessa Shannon, the Political Action Chair for the NAACP sent the following email to MCDCC. Deeply involved in Montgomery County for many years, Shannon has in the past been elected to the Board of Education, served as a Special Assistant to the County Executive, and was Director of the Office of Human Rights.
Shannon is backing former Del. Herman Taylor for the vacancy. Taylor is one of two African-American candidates for the seat along with Pam Queen, a professor at Morgan State University. In her email, Shannon says that MCDCC’s actions towards Taylor can “easily be argued as harassment based on race and possibly sex, a federal and local civil rights issue.”
Members of the MCDCC:
This is my third communication with you on this issue.
It has come to my attention that you are requesting information from Herman Taylor which is not being asked of the other candidates.; copy of drivers license, when it was obtained, picture , proof of certain years of home ownership and other frequent and spontaneous requests.
From the information I have received, this action can easily be argued as harassment based on race and possibly sex., a federal and local civil rights issue.
It appears the MCDCC is trying to discredit a candidate for it’s own reasons. The process of selecting a candidate should be open and honest, whoever wins!!!
Before I send a copy of this e-mail to the County Executive, the Montgomery County Office of Human Rights , the head of the Md Democratic party and the Media, I would like immediate assurance that this kind of activity, so resonant of the 1960’s and 70’s, will cease and desist immediately.
Odessa M. Shannon
The District 14 delegation have made it crystal clear that they prefer that the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee select Pam Queen for the vacancy in their district. In particular, they highlight that Queen would be the first African-American women from Montgomery to vote in the House.
The subtext is also that failure to appoint Queen would reduce the number of women in the General Assembly from prior to Sen. Karen Montgomery’s retirement. Currently, three of eight senators from Montgomery County are women, as are 8 of 23 delegates.
Here is the letter from Sen. Zucker, Del. Kaiser, and Del. Luedtke:
Dear Chairman Anderson and members of the Central Committee:
We would again like to thank each of you for your service to the party and for taking so seriously the important task of choosing a new Delegate in District 14. A number of Central Committee members have asked for our rationale in choosing to support Pam Queen for the open Delegate seat, and we wanted to be sure to provide it prior to your upcoming meeting.
Our recommendation was based on a number of factors. First and foremost, we are confident that Pam shares our values as Democrats. She is and has always been pro-choice, and will stand with the Democratic Party in opposing Republican attacks on women’s reproductive rights in Annapolis. In this era where inequality is such an important topic, we know that Pam will work with us to pass our middle class agenda, including efforts to strengthen pay equity laws and address the growing student loan debt crisis. And we are confident that given her background in finance, she will be able to help us combat any attempts by the administration to undercut funding for urban jurisdictions in the state budget.
But our support is about more than issues. Those of us who serve in Annapolis face a tremendously complex task. As individuals in a legislature made up of nearly 200 people, the ability to work effectively with others and get along with others is an absolute necessity. Pam has that ability, and we believe she would be a good fit for our very tight-knit team. In addition, given the need for Democrats to unite against increased partisanship in Annapolis, we need legislators who are able to work effectively with Democrats who hail from other parts of the state. Pam has worked in Baltimore for a number of years, and has pre-existing relationships with a number of elected officials there. This includes the Vice Chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, with whom she taught for a number of years until his retirement.
Finally, and importantly as well, we hope to retain the gender balance that has been a feature of our delegation since District 14 was first drawn as a Montgomery County district in 2002. And we hope to see Pam become the first African-American woman to ever cast a vote on behalf of Montgomery County in the state legislature (while Karen Britto was the first to serve, it was for a brief time and she was not able to cast a vote during it). While all of us work hard on behalf of women and work to address issues of race and racism that have been too easily ignored by too many in politics, it is undeniably important that Montgomery County’s delegation to Annapolis become more diverse in terms of both race and gender. Each of us has repeatedly used our influence to endorse diverse candidates in elections, and we do so again in endorsing Pam for this appointment.
An appointment like this is difficult, and we know you are burdened by the responsibility of choosing an effective leader on behalf of the 122,000 residents of District 14. We share that sense of responsibility every single day we represent our constituents in Annapolis. And we are certain that Pam Queen would be the best choice to stand beside us.
Senator Craig Zucker
Delegate Anne Kaiser
Delegate Eric Luedtke
From Councilmember Nancy Navarro’s letter to the MCDCC:
I write in support of Mr. Herman Taylor, former District 14 Delegate, for the appointment to that office.
Mr. Taylor has an extensive record of service to the residents of District 14 and the County. He has fought to address the economic, social, and educational disparities affecting many County residents, and most recently he did an outstanding job chairing the “Montgomery County, Female, Disabled Procurement Task Force.”
I understand that you have a difficult choice to make due to the outstanding candidates seeking this appointment. Nonetheless, Mr. Taylor clearly is the one candidate who will be ready to serve on day one, given his experience and qualifications as a former District 14 Delegate.
From the endorsement letter of the Muslim Democratic Club of Montgomery County for the delegate vacancy in District 14:
We are confident in supporting Mrs. Queen for reasons far too numerous to address in this letter. But, to start with, Mrs. Queen has a long and noteworthy relationship of engaging our community, particularly within District 14, where she has time and time again visited mosques within the district to conduct voter registration drives. Furthermore, Mrs. Queen aligned with us the closest out of all the candidates on policy, especially in regards to her commitment to education and expanding funding for STEM learning for minority students. Thirdly, in a district with such a high minority population, and a county delegation with so few women elected to serve in Annapolis, we felt it was morally necessary to send a message to the
countless young minority women who aspire to public office in Maryland. Mrs. Queen has fostered deep and long-standing relationships with several Muslim community leaders who emotionally told us of her commitment to social justice, community service and the public good—all ethics our faith and community strongly subscribe to as whole. In light of these facts, as president of the Muslim Democratic Club it is my pleasure to inform you without hesitation that Pam Queen is our inalienable choice for endorsement to fill the District 14 Delegate vacancy.
Former Del. Herman Taylor, a candidate to fill the delegate vacancy caused by the move by Craig Zucker from the House to the Senate, has issued the following letter in response to questions regarding his record on abortion rights:
Dear MCDCC Members,
I am aware of the apparent concern being expressed about votes cast that relate to women’s reproductive rights during my tenure, many years ago, while serving in the Maryland House of Delegates.
I am and always have been a Democrat. I began at the age of 22 working as a vice chair of a precinct, working hard to get democrats elected. I have dedicated a substantial amount of time and effort in building this party which I love, and whose progressive principles I wholeheartedly embrace.
Although I, like many others, have at one time early in my career struggled with the difficult and painful issues associated with abortion, I do not believe, as a matter of public policy, that the government should in any way dictate to women how they should cope with this most private of issues. Please be assured that If I have the opportunity to be appointed to fill the District 14 vacancy, my votes will reflect that I am a firm and staunch supporter of women’s reproductive rights.
The Montgomery County Democratic Clubs of Color sent a follow-up to their endorsement of Herman Taylor to address specifically this issue:
Dear Mr. Anderson and Members of the Central Committee:
The Clubs of Color Caucus strongly believe in the Democratic principles such as a woman’s right to choose and the importance of diverse representation at all levels of government. We measured each candidate against these principles and decided that Mr. Herman Taylor is best suited for the vacancy. Mr. Taylor assured us that he is 100% Pro-Choice and supports the interests of communities of color. Since his current values are not inconsistent with Democratic values, and given the fact that he is the most experienced, we have made the endorsement as indicated in our earlier endorsement letter.
CLUBS OF COLOR CAUCUS
Mayra Bayonet, President, Latino Democratic Club
Dr. Martin Ma, CAPAD-MD Co-chair
Chung Pak, CAPAD
Laurie Anne-Sayles, President AADCMC
Stan Tsai, CAPAD-MD Co-chair
Former Del. Herman Taylor has won the united endorsement of the African-American Democratic Club of Montgomery County, the Latino Democratic Club of Montgomery County, and the Coalition of Asian Pacific American Democrats of Maryland for the delegate vacancy in District 14:
Undoubtedly what most impresses us with Mr. Taylor is his demonstrated dedication to issues of economic development particularly as they relate to communities of color. We believe Mr. Taylor’s membership among the Montgomery County delegation ensures that there will be another strong voice in support of economic development particularly for the residents of East County.
Taylor and Central Committee Member Pam Queen are viewed as the top-two competitors for the seat. This endorsement gives Taylor a nice boost in advance of the Central Committee meeting.
Central Committee Member Chris Bradbury has dropped his bid to fill the delegate vacancy in District 14. He has also resigned from the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee (MCDCC):
This email is to officially retract my application for delegate in district 14.
It’s is further more to be considered my official resignation from the MCDCC effective immediately.
Christopher D. Bradbury
Looks like MCDCC will have yet another vacancy to fill.