Michael Vaughn, a District 24 Democrat who served years in the Maryland House of Delegates, recently stepped down and several politically active residents are interested in taking his place.
Michael Vaughn is a former Maryland delegate from District 24. (Courtesy Photo)
Vaughn submitted his resignation on Jan.11 to Maryland Del. Michael Busch (D-District 30A), who serves as the speaker of the House of Delegates, citing health reasons.
“It has been an honor to serve in the House with you and represent the great people of the 24th district in Prince George’s County,” Vaughn wrote in a letter to Busch that was reported by the Baltimore Sun in its Jan. 11 edition.
It is widely believed, but unconfirmed, that Vaughn is a target of the recent federal investigation into alleged corruption involving liquor store owners seeking to illegally gain favors from elected officials in the county. However, a spokeswoman in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Maryland told the AFRO that Vaughn hasn’t been charged with any crime.
Former Maryland delegate and Prince George’s County Council member Will Campos pleaded guilty to bribery on Jan. 10. And recently, FBI agents arrested a member of the Prince George’s County liquor board, the board’s executive director and two liquor store owners, regarding the scandal.
Vaughn has represented his central Prince George’s County district since 2003. Del. Jay Walker (D-District 27), who is the chairman of Prince George’s House delegation, expressed sadness at the recent turn of events.
“The Prince George’s delegation strives to meet the highest standard of legislative ethics,” Walker said. “These allegations should not reflect on the hard working members of the Prince George’s delegation who are deeply committed to representing their constituents with integrity and independence.”
Belinda Queen-Howard, who lives in District 25 and serves on the Prince George’s County Democratic State Committee, told the AFRO that the process to replace Vaughn is already in place.
“To fill the vacancy, the committee has a vote and the person who gets the most votes will be recommended for the position, will be sent to Gov. Larry Hogan,” Queen-Howard said. “We have to move quickly because we don’t have much time on this and people need to know what the committee needs in order to consider candidates.”
Queen-Howard said the committee will hold a meeting on Jan. 17 and that replacing Vaughn “is high on the agenda.”
Maurice Simpson Jr., president of the Prince George’s County Young Democrats, and Jazz Lewis, a campaign professional who has strong ties to U.S. Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.), the minority whip for the U.S. House of Representatives, have told the AFRO they are interested in the position.
“I was born and raised in the district,” Simpson said. “I have the capacity to fill the void.”
Lewis said, “I will submit an application to the committee and I know I can do a good job.”
Before Vaughn’s resignation, Simpson and Lewis had indicated they would run for a House seat in 2018.