By ALEXANDRA RADOVIC
Capital News Service
ANNAPOLIS, Md. — The Maryland General Assembly on Thursday elected longtime Delegate Dereck Davis as the new state treasurer.
Members of the Legislature filled out paper ballots and the Senate leadership accompanied their votes into the House of Delegates chamber where, after a careful tally, nearly all the votes went to Davis.
Davis addressed fellow lawmakers after the vote.
“The incredible show of support means a great deal to me,” he said. “It is with a great deal of humility and a spirit of Thanksgiving that I stand before you today as treasurer-elect for the state of Maryland.”
Davis, 54, now-outgoing chair of the House Economic Matters Committee, as treasurer will serve on the Board of Public Works, among other duties.
Davis, D-Prince George’s, was elected to the House of Delegates in 1994, according to the General Assembly website. He graduated from the University of Maryland with a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1989 and a master’s in public policy in 1999.
Davis said during a Special Joint Legislative Committee to Select the State Treasurer meeting on Nov. 29 that public service has been a lifelong dream for him.
He is “one of the youngest African-Americans ever elected to the Maryland General Assembly,” according to his website.
“I’m motivated by Maryland and all that it has to offer its citizens,” Davis said. “I want to continue to carry out the treasurer’s duty to protect and safeguard state funds in these volatile times.”
Davis, who represents District 25, was elected chairman of the House Economic Matters Committee in 2003, “becoming just the fourth African-American to chair a House standing committee and the first from Prince George’s County,” according to his website.
The treasurer of Maryland “is the principal custodian of the State’s cash deposits, monies from bond sales, and other securities and collateral and directs the investments of those assets,” according to a state website.
Davis, born in Washington, D.C., serves as deputy director for the Office of Community Relations in Prince George’s County, a position he has held since 2011.
The delegate’s website states that before becoming treasurer, Davis “successfully sponsored legislation that lowered the states drunk driving threshold to .08, raised the states minimum wage above the national rate (and) increased financial assistance for low income residents to pay electric bills.”
During the November committee meeting, Davis said he plans to continue improving the state’s finances in his new role.
“I want to continue to work towards fully funding the state’s pension fund,” he said. “I want to work to increase participation by Maryland residents in saving for their children’s education.”
Davis told lawmakers that despite his shy demeanor, he will “stand up and certainly speak and communicate the will and desires of the Legislature in a bipartisan fashion.”
Davis will take the place of Nancy Kopp, who announced recently that she is stepping down after serving as treasurer since 2002. Kopp was the state’s 23rd treasurer and became a member of the Maryland Women’s Hall of Fame in 2012.
Kopp was “named by her colleagues as the most effective woman legislator and one of the ten most effective members of the House of Delegates,” according to the Maryland State Treasurer website.