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State song may soon be demoted to historical status

  • Published in State

Maryland Flag“Maryland, My Maryland,” the Civil War battle hymn that refers to “Northern scum” soon may no longer be the state song.

But rather than replace “the embarrassing, outdated and racist song,” as Senator Cheryl Kagan (D-17) called it, the State Senate opted last week to demote the song to historical status.

“It will be designated as historical. We are putting it aside,” said Kagan, who stressed that her preference for the new designation is “historical, not historic. ‘Historical’ means that’s what we used to believe.”

The lyrics, which are from a poem written in the early days of the Civil War by James Ryder Randall, “are offensive and outdated,” she said, explaining why she has been trying to repeal and replace the song since 2016.

Before the song is officially downgraded, the House of Delegates must agree. An official vote in the House has not yet been scheduled.

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Gun advocates and control supporters rally in Annapolis

  • Published in State

ANNAPOLIS — Even a casual observer who visited the House of Delegates’ offices Tuesday could easy deduce the issue of the day by taking notice of the sartorial sameness displayed in the long lines of activists waiting to testify – gun control.

The corridor outside the House Judiciary Committee’s chamber, was packed full of redshirted advocates, gun lobbyists and other Marylanders seeking to add their voice to the debate, whether it was for or against more gun legislation. While last month’s deadly school shooting in Parkland, Florida provided new momentum to a longstanding push for more gun control laws, those in attendance at Tuesday’s public hearing came not to take part in the ongoing national debate on guns, but rather to weigh in gun issues closer to home in Maryland.

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Green Party candidates join House race

  • Published in Local

Green Party MD logoThe number of candidates vying for the District 18 House of Delegates seat expanded by one as Jon Cook filed papers to run as a member of the Green Party, giving voters another choice of representation in Annapolis. 

Cook, 41, will face incumbent Del. Al Carr (D) and two other Democrats in November’s general election. No Republicans have filed to run for the seat as of Feb. 20. The first-time candidate said his run was born out of the need to build a “counter to the legislative power that the Democrats have in the county.” 

“If you compare the guiding principles of the Green Party on social, economic and environmental justice … we’ve given the Democrats ample opportunity to solve some of these issues,” Cook said in a phone interview shortly after his filing. “Now is clearly the time for a third party.”

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Computer scientist runs for House of Delegates

  • Published in State

Brian Crider 400x400Brian Crider. COURTESY PHOTO    Brian Crider, a computer scientist, says he was compelled to run for the House of Delegates in District 19 because of his concern for Maryland and his background in activism.

“I’ve been an activist for many years, and we’re just not making the progress we need,” said Crider. “I feel like we can do more, so my goal is to make Maryland better.”

Crider, a Democrat, says that part of what he hopes to do if elected is make people aware of resources that can help them. However, he also has a lot of ideas for things he wants to change.

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Ariana Kelly takes helm of group dedicated to fighting for women

  • Published in State

Ariana KellyDel. Ariana Kelly (D-16). COURTESY PHOTO  

After being elected president of the Women Legislators of Maryland, Del. Ariana Kelly (District 16) proclaimed that she had just “fulfilled one of my legislative dreams.”

Kelly, who is already known around Annapolis for fighting for women’s causes, now heads an organization dedicated to the rights and needs of women and girls on issues such as child care, domestic violence and human trafficking.

“I think it’s an incredible opportunity. I think there are a lot of ways to improve women’s lives,” she said.

“For me, it’s both a tremendous honor to be elected by my colleagues, but it also is a tremendous opportunity to improve the lives of the women of Maryland.”

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Raskin successor in state senate named

  • Published in State

Del. Will Smith 2Del. Will Smith (D-20) COURTESY PHOTO  

Del. Will Smith (D-20) was selected to replace outgoing Congress-bound Sen. Jamie Raskin (D-20) in the Maryland Senate last Wednesday.

A former appointee by President Obama to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), Smith will become the first African American to represent Montgomery County in the state Senate.

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