After many years of leadership, and ruling her committee with an iron hand, Del. Sheila Hixson has stepped down as Chair of the Ways and Committee. Del. Anne Kaiser (D-14, Montgomery) is the new chair, and Del. Bill Frick (D-16, Montgomery) replaces Kaiser as the new majority leader.
All are excellent decisions. It’s gracious of Del. Hixson, after her lengthy and effective leadership as chair, to step down at this time and allow new leadership to emerge in a chamber that has seen mostly the same people at the helm for many years.
Del. Kaiser is an obvious choice to grow into her shoes. She has steadily moved up the leadership rungs in the House, and with good reason. The incoming chair combines smarts with savvy strategy with the latter being even more important than the former in an inherently political process. She also knows how to be a team player to get work done in a large legislative body.
Similarly, Del. Frick is a fine selection as majority leader. Another of the bright lights in the Montgomery delegation, Frick has pushed for new ideas, such as liquor decontrol, that are needed to move the County and the State forward. This appointment suggests that Frick is back on track after his abortive run for attorney general.
Finally, all of this reflects well on Speaker Busch. It’s not easy to facilitate transitions of this sort, especially when the outgoing chair is long-time trusted member of your leadership team. Kudos to the Speaker for these good decisions. Now, if he would just replace Judiciary Chair Joe Vallario, who has stood in the way of progress on too many issues, the House would really feel a fresh breeze.