Jazz Lewis, a campaign professional with close ties to U.S. House of Representatives Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) was selected to be the next delegate representing District 24 in the Maryland House of Delegates recently.
On Jan. 24, the Prince George’s County Democratic Central Committee tapped Lewis to replace Michael Vaughn as the Democratic representative for the District 24 in the House. Lewis got 18 votes from the committee and his name will be forwarded for the formal appointment to the seat by Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan (R).
Jazz Lewis is set for the Maryland General Assembly as a 24th District delegate. (AFRO File Photo)
“I look forward to representing the district in Annapolis,” Lewis told the AFRO. “I have a community organizing background and I will use that to help the people stay engaged. I know that I can work well with the rest of the District 24 delegation because I am good with relationships.”
Lewis, 26, is a graduate of the University of Maryland, College Park and has worked on Hoyer’s campaign organization for several years.
The selection of Lewis took place at the headquarters of the Sheet Metal Workers Union in Suitland, Md. That venue serves as the meeting place for the committee.
The room was packed with committee members and onlookers. Among the people that submitted their candidacies to replace Vaughn were Maurice Simpson Jr., president of the Prince George’s County Young Democrats; Capitol Heights Mayor Marnitta L. King, former State Senate candidate Bobby Henry and noted political activist Phillip Raines. Simpson received 11 votes from the committee, with Prince George’s County NAACP President Bob Ross and Glenarden, Md., City Council member Jennifer Jenkins, testifying on his behalf.
Lewis will work alongside Maryland Sen. Joanne Benson (D-District 24) and Maryland Delegates Carolyn J. B. Howard and Erek Barron, both Democrats. Lewis had the solid support of Benson and she spoke in his favor at the hearing.
“This young man knows how to work within a team,” Benson told the committee. “He is a good Christian man, he’s married and is a member of the First Baptist Church of Glenarden and he will be a great addition to our delegation.”
On Jan. 11, Vaughn resigned unexpectedly from the House. His resignation came at the same time as the recent federal investigation over corruption involving liquor store owners seeking to illegally gain favors from elected officials in the county. Vaughn has been neither named nor charged in the ongoing investigation.
Simpson has already declared his candidacy for delegate in 2018 and Seat Pleasant businesswoman LaTasha Ward told the AFRO that she will run for one of the three positions. Before Vaughn’s departure, Lewis made it clear that he would run for delegate in 2018, also.
Barron will run for Prince George’s County State’s Attorney in 2018, thereby vacating his delegate position. Howard declared last year that she will retire from politics and not run for re-election in 2018.
Lewis said that he will have a lot of catching up to do when he officially is appointed the delegate by Hogan but is up to the challenge of learning while the General Assembly is in session.
“I will work with the Prince George’s delegation to see that we get the funding for the regional hospital in Largo and work to get dedicated funding for Maryland for the Metro system,” he said.