Newsletter—January 2020

2020 Maryland General Assembly

The start of the 2020 Maryland General Assembly Session saw notable elections in the presiding officers, as a new Senate President was elected for the first time in more than 30 years, and two African-American women were elected to lead the House. Senator Bill Ferguson was elected President and Senator Melony Griffith was elected President Pro Tem. In the House of Delegates, Delegate Adrienne Jones was elected Speaker and Delegate Sheree Sample-Hughes was elected Speaker Pro Tem. This is the first Session that all four of these positions will be filled by new legislators.


In addition, Governor Hogan has appointed Delegate Charles Sydnor to fill the Baltimore City and County district 44 Senate seat vacated by Senator Shirley Nathan-Pulliam who has retired. The Governor has also appointed Mike Griffith to represent district 35B in Harford and Cecil Counties, replacing Delegate Andrew Cassilly who has joined the Governor’s office. There will be announcements in the near future about replacements for the Senate seat in Baltimore County’s district 11 that had been held by Senator Bobby Zirkin, the House of Delegates seat vacated by now-Senator Sydnor, and the seat in Baltimore City’s district 45 vacated by Delegate Cheryl Glenn in a recent resignation. The Baltimore City Democratic Central Committee has nominated Chanel Branch for Glenn’s seat. Governor Hogan will has two weeks to decide if he will approve her nomination.


Furthermore, House Speaker Adrienne Jones has made some new leadership appointments. They include:

Delegate Bonnie Cullison as Deputy Speaker Pro Tem

Delegate Diana Fennell as Assistant Speaker Pro Tem

Delegate Jheanelle Wilkins as Parliamentarian

Delegate Michael Jackson as Appropriations Vice Chairman

Delegate Marvin Holmes as Rules and Executive Nominations Vice Chair

Delegate Alonzo Washington as Ways and Means Vice Chairman

Delegate Andrea Harrison as Protocol Committee Chairman

Delegate Geraldine Valentino-Smith as Spending Affordability Committee Chairman 


People on the Move

Patrick Carlson will be returning as Committee Counsel to the Senate Finance Committee.  Carlson previously served as Assistant Director of State Affairs at Johns Hopkins.

Steve Daviss has been named Medical Director of Optum, Maryland’s new behavioral health administrative services organization. Daviss is also the President-Elect of the Maryland-DC Society of Addiction Medicine.

Dr. Aliya Jones has been selected to head the Behavioral Health Administration (BHA) as Deputy Secretary to beginning Jan. 2, 2020. Jones comes to MDH from Bon Secours Hospital in Baltimore, where she served seven years as Chief of Psychiatry and Chair of Behavioral Health.

Matt Power has been named Deputy Chief Administrative Officer for Land Use of Anne Arundel County.  Power was most recently Vice President of Governmental Affairs of the Maryland Independent Colleges and Universities Association.   Power was also formerly Deputy Secretary of the Maryland Department of Planning under the O’Malley Administration.

Matthew Stegman has taken the role of Deputy Director, Mayor's Office of Government Relations in Baltimore City. Stegman served as Chief of Staff of the House Appropriations Committee for almost 5 years.

Allison Taylor has taken a new position as Director of Governmental Affairs for Kaiser Permanente in Maryland.  Taylor previously served as Committee Counsel to the Senate Finance Committee and Director of Governmental Affairs at the Maryland Department of Health.

William Tilburg has been appointed as Executive Director of the Maryland Medical Cannabis Commission after having served in the capacity as Acting Director.  Tilburg also served as Director of Governmental Affairs and Policy.

Danielle Torain has been appointed director of Open Society Institute-Baltimore. Torain has held positions with the Baltimore City Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, Mayor’s Office of Employment Development, and the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

Keith Walmsley has been named Director of Public Policy Initiatives at The Maryland Developmental Disabilities Council. Walmsley held roles in operations within the House of Delegates, and most recently served as Chief of Staff to the Ways & Means committee.


Shirley Devaris is retiring from the position of Director of Legislative Affairs for the Maryland Board of Nursing.  Devaris has worked in the executive and legislative branches, including her role as Committee Counsel to the House Economic Matters Committee.

David Juppe recently retired as Budget Manager at the Department of Legislative Services. Juppe has taken on a new role as Legislative Analyst at the Prince George’s County Office of Budget and Management.

Daphne McClellan, Executive Director of the National Association of Social Workers-Maryland, was recently recognized as the 2019 Outstanding Chapter Executive by the national NASW Council of Chapter Executives. McClellan has worked for NASW-Maryland for over 15 years advocating daily for Maryland social workers.

Karen Nelson, President and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Maryland, graduated from Leadership Maryland’s Class of 2019.



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