Maryland House Speaker Michael Busch (D-Anne Arundel County) has appointed a lesbian delegate from Montgomery County as his chamber’s next majority leader.
Busch in a Nov. 19 press release described state Del. Anne Kaiser (D-Montgomery County) as an “instrumental member” of the House Ways and Means Committee that she joined in 2003. The Montgomery County Democrat since 2007 has also chaired the House Education Subcommittee.
“Anne Kaiser has worked tirelessly for the House Democratic Caucus and demonstrated leadership capabilities on crucial legislative priorities,” said Busch.
Busch was not immediately available for comment.
“I’m really excited to be offered the position of majority leader and am pleased that the speaker has faith in my leadership abilities,” Kaiser told the Washington Blade on Monday.
Kaiser, 46, has represented House District 14 in the Maryland House of Delegates since 2003.
The Montgomery County Democrat the following year came out during her testimony in support of a bill that sought to allow gay and lesbian Marylanders to make medical decisions on behalf of their partners. Kaiser will be among the six openly gay members of the General Assembly when it reconvenes in January.
Kaiser told the Blade she is “cautiously optimistic” about working with Gov.-elect Larry Hogan, even though she said she and other lawmakers have yet to meet with him.
The Republican stressed during his campaign against Lieutenant Gov. Anthony Brown that he would not seek to repeal the state’s same-sex marriage law that voters approved in a 2012 referendum. Hogan told the Baltimore Sun ahead of the June primary he opposes Maryland’s transgender rights law that took effect on Oct. 1.
“I hope it’s a good working relationship,” Kaiser told the Blade.
Kaiser during the interview also weighed in on the growing controversy surrounding Hogan’s decision to appoint Montgomery County Democrat Blair Lee to his transition team.
Lee, who is a columnist for the Gazette newspapers, in 2006 compared gays to pedophiles and serial killers. He described gay sex as a “mortal sin” in a second op-ed that urged Marylanders to vote against the same-sex marriage law in the 2012 referendum.
“It’s disappointing that his voice is being elevated, but he’s only one voice,” Kaiser told the Blade.
McIntosh to chair House Appropriations Committee
Busch on Nov. 19 also announced that Del. Maggie McIntosh, who represents portions of Baltimore City, will chair the House Appropriations Committee.
“Maggie McIntosh is one of the most well respected leaders in Annapolis and I have total confidence in her ability to manage the myriad of subjects that fall within the jurisdiction of the committee, most importantly legislative review and oversight of the state’s annual budget,” said Busch. “She is the right person to take the lead on budget issues as we continue to provide critical services to the citizens of our state and to use our resources to foster a growing economy.”
Carrie Evans, executive director of Equality Maryland, applauded the appointments.
“The promotion of two lesbians — Delegate Anne Kaiser as the house majority leader and Delegate Maggie McIntosh as chair of the House Appropriations Committee — is great news,” Evans told the Blade on Monday. “Kaiser and McIntosh have worked hard serving their constituents and Maryland for many years. Young LGBT people and young women have some incredible role models in these two.”