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Who is Delegate Mary Washington
Delegate Mary Washington is dedicated to sensible, progressive policies that support the needs of her neighbors in Baltimore and Maryland’s diverse communities. She has spent over 20 years working for Maryland’s 43rd District as a legislator, advocate, and student of public policy.
In 2010, she made history when she became the first openly LGBT African-American elected official in Maryland – and only the second such state legislator in the country. In her seven-plus years in the House of Delegates since, she has distinguished herself as a leader
- Fighting for affordable access to water,
- Protecting families at risk of losing their homes to unfair tax sales and foreclosures,
- Making sure Baltimore city schools get the fair and equitable funding they deserve
- Helping unaccompanied homeless youth get the services and support they need.
After serving on both the House Appropriations Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee, Delegate Washington has won the trust of her colleagues and constituents as an expert and a leader on budget and tax issues and on the impact of those funding choices on families across Maryland
Born in Philadelphia, Mary Washington is the oldest daughter of a family of six siblings and a proud graduate of the Philadelphia High School for Girls. She began her professional career teaching at a Catholic elementary school. Her dedication to serving at-risk students and drive to understand the needs of urban communities brought her to Baltimore to study sociology at Johns Hopkins University. She earned her Ph.D from Johns Hopkins in 1997, then taught sociology at Lehigh University before taking a post-doctoral fellowship at the Population Studies Center at University of Pennsylvania.
From Scholar to Public Official
Looking for new ways to serve at-risk youth and the communities she cared about, Mary Washington looked for opportunities to bring together academic institutions, foundations, community-based civic, local and state government agencies, residents and business owners, and researchers.
These positions give her extensive experience managing complex relationships among public agencies and private stakeholders in Baltimore and the state of Maryland and negotiating effective solutions to real problems those stakeholders face.
Those positions include serving as:
- First director of the Baltimore City Housing Department’s CitiStat program.
- Interim Director of the Baltimore Neighborhood Indicators Alliance, a project that collects and analyzes data important to neighborhoods.
- Associate Director of the Parks & People Foundation, where she advanced urban sustainability and urban farming projects and helped connect city youths to good green jobs that can help open up a greener future for the city and a brighter future for their careers.
- President of the Abell Improvement Association, the community association for a diverse and vibrant North Baltimore neighborhood.
This experience has strengthened her ability to work for Maryland’s 43rd District in Annapolis and at home in Baltimore today.
An Experienced Civic Leader
In Annapolis, Delegate Washington serves as House Chair of the Joint Committee on Homelessness and as a member of the Joint Committee on Children Youth and Families, the Regional Revitalization Task Force, and the Tax Credit Evaluation Committee. She served as Deputy Majority Whip in 2015-16 and on the Unaccompanied Homeless Youth Task Force in 2013-14. Today Delegate Washington is a member of Women Legislators of Maryland and the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland and an Associate Member of the Latino Legislative Caucus.
In her seven years in in the general assembly, Mary has consistently stayed true to her constituents by working on the issues that mattered most. She’s tirelessly worked with churches and residents to reform unjust water bill policies, secured over $400K in multi-year funding for the first homeless youth count in Maryland (Youth REACH MD), secured over $400K in capital bond funding for Restoration Gardens II – a haven for former foster care and young adults experiencing homelessness or housing insecurity in Baltimore City, passed community schools legislation to make Title I funds available to hire community schools coordinators, and increased funding for Senior Centers across the state of Maryland by $250K.
Mary is a member of the Board of Directors for the Parks & People Foundation, Health Care Access Maryland (HCAM), Baltimore Heritage, Inc. and the Maryland School for the Blind. She was also a founding member and long-time board member of the Baltimore City Commission on Sustainability. She is a member of the NAACP of Baltimore City, Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 500 and of First and Franklin Presbyterian Church, a welcoming congregation in Baltimore’s Mount Vernon neighborhood.
Delegate Washington, a member of the part-time faculty at the Maryland Institute College of Art (MICA) teaches public policy and sociology courses. She lives in the Ednor Gardens- Lakeside neighborhood of the 43rd District. When she isn’t at a community event, board meeting or in session, Mary enjoys spending her time with her family, gardening and DIY, or talking with her neighbors.
You can reach Mary Washington at firstname.lastname@example.org or (410)841-3476.