Del. Benjamin Brooks, (D-MD-10) treasurer for the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland members who will be stepping down from his role at the end of the year. Brooks is running for a Maryland Senate seat in District 10, where he currently serves as a member of the Maryland House of Delegates. (Courtesy Photo from Del. Brooks)

By Tashi McQueen, AFRO Political Writer,
Report for America Corps Member,

As Election Day nears, changes in the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland (LBCM) quickly approach too.

December will mark the end of an era for LBCM Chairman Del. Darryl Barnes (D-MD-25), and Del. Benjamin Brooks (D-MD-10), treasurer of the organization, as they have announced their resignations. The decision will go into effect for Brooks on Dec. 31.

According to their website, the LBCM was created to ensure that Black Marylanders are “equally protected and benefited by the promises of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness” as the U.S. constitution provides. 

Brooks has been the treasurer since 2016, and Barnes has held the chair since 2018. Brooks will remain a caucus member but has stepped aside for new leadership. 

Del. Jheanalle Wilkins (D-MD-20), the first vice chair, will be the interim chairwoman. She can occupy the seat through the end of Barnes’ term which expires in 2024.

Brooks wrote a resignation letter to Barnes in September.

“It has been a pleasure serving under your leadership and with the other executive board members, ” Brooks said in the letter. “Your vision and formulation of the ‘Black agenda’ have been a booming call addressing some major equity issues in the African-American community.”

“I have decided to step down so the new chairwoman can formulate her team unencumbered,” said Brooks. “I will still be available to answer questions and assist with the transition.”

Brooks said his proudest accomplishments as treasurer was bringing transparency to the caucus, saving funds, pushing for a medical marijuana program, and creating HBCU [Historical Black Colleges and Universities] settlements. 

“We need our policies to reflect the diversity of the state,” Brooks said, commenting on the importance of representation. 

According to the 2020 U.S. census, Maryland’s population is 31 percent African American.

“The new leadership, with the support of the old leadership, will continue to move the caucus forward for a better Maryland, to be recognized in the capacity we should,” said Brooks.

Brooks is currently running for the 10th District’s senate seat.

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