Delegate Justin Ross to resign from the House of Delegates

Prince George’s County Delegate Justin Ross (D-Greenbelt) has announced his resignation from the Maryland House of Delegates to take a better paying positions sources say within the AFL-CIO International. Ross, who was elected in 2002 is in his third term after being reelected in 2010, is one of the most well liked members of the Prince George’s Delegation. As a Chief Deputy Whip and Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus Ross served on the leadership team of Speaker Michael Busch. His role helped push through controversial bills like gambling, same-sex marriage, and the Dream Act through one of the state’s most conservative delegations.

Ross’ resignation will be a body blow to the Prince George’s delegation. His contacts helped the county continue a record of impressive victories for increased state funding for education, public safety, and general operations. It also opens a door for what Ross may do next. Few if any sources believe Ross is leaving politics for good. Delegate Ross was often mentioned as a possible successor to Rep. Steny Hoyer should he decide to retire in the near future.

In the letter below announcing his resignation, Ross says he will step down on November 9th. That will give the Prince George’s County Democratic Central Committee 30 days to recommend a replacement to Governor Martin O’Malley on who should serve the remaining two years of the unexpired term. Rumors are a number of local leaders are potentially lining up to seek that appointment including Central Committeeman Alonzo Washington, Chief of Staff to Prince George’s County Councilman Will Campos. Washington is often mentioned as a frontrunner to replace Campos on the council when he is termed out in 2014.

Filling the seat vacated by Ross is not the only vote members of the Central Committee are preparing for. Everyone expects Delegate Tiffany Alston to be forced from her seat within the next few weeks as a result of a number of criminal charges. Should that happen the committee will also be tasked with recommending her replacement.

Full resignation letter from Delegate Justin Ross –

I am writing to tell you that after 10 amazing years representing you in the Maryland House of Delegates that I will be retiring on November 9th to spend more time with my lovely wife, my 4 beautiful children, and to concentrate on giving back to Prince George’s County as a private citizen and as a member of the business community. Words cannot possibly express the gratitude I feel for the opportunities that you have given me. Representing my hometown in the legislature over the past decade has truly been a dream come true.

Together, we have been part of some important political battles back in Prince George’s County, as well as some truly historic votes in Annapolis. I have had the pleasure of meeting some of the most committed neighborhood activists around, as well as serving with some of the most honorable public servants, Democrats and Republicans. The experience was a true gift, in every sense of the word, so please allow me just a couple of thoughts that I would like to share.

In November of 2001, when my wife and I returned from our honeymoon, we immediately set out for the campaign trail.  We were newly married, had just bought a house in College Park and were preparing to run for an open seat that was vacated by then Delegate Rushern Baker (what ever happened to that guy :-)). We hit our first doors in February of 2002 and I spent countless hours handing out our “Justin Ross” pens at the Hamilton Street, Route 450, and Greenbelt Safeway’s. That campaign consisted of 50,000 pieces of literature, 10,000 pens, at least 1,000 yard signs, enough red Ross t-shirts to outfit a small city, 100 volunteers for the Greenbelt Labor Day Parade (including FDR’s grandson Jim Roosevelt), 1 new district map in the middle of the campaign, and 1 awesome victory party at Lasick’s Restaurant. Since then, I have had the pleasure of attending Berwyn Heights pancake breakfasts, lead Fourth of July Parades in University Park, attend National Nights Out with Beacon Heights and Templeton Knolls, listen to live music at Summer Jams in Hyattsville, attend “New Carrollton Days”, go caroling in Riverdale Park, barbecue with my friends in Kingswood, and last but not least visit the Greenbelt Golden Age Club (I love you guys!!) I have had the pleasure of helping organize civic associations, assist with immigration issues, court new business to our community, tour flooded basements, meet with crime victims in their time of need, and help encourage and support kids on their way to college.

Although some of it was difficult it never felt like work.  After 10 years of working for, with, and alongside Prince Georgians, I know today what I have known my whole life; that we are a proud, hardworking, and resilient group of people. I am grateful to have represented constituents, who are thoughtful, well informed, and passionate about their community.  My decision to retire was not an easy one but it was made easier in knowing that, together, we have made a great deal of progress for Prince George’s County.

Let me say a couple of “thank you’s” before I wrap this up. First, I want to say thank you to my wife Nancy, without you none of this would have been possible. I want to thank my children Caroline, Andrew, Jackson, and Katherine for being my living reminders of why we need a society that strives for a better tomorrow.  I want to thank my Mom, Dad, sister Abby, and the rest of my family for supporting me in this endeavor (and walking in A LOT of parades).  I want to thank Brad Frome, Ryan Duffy, Gia Franzone, Kim Mayhew, Nick Leonardi, Walter Moody, and everyone else that has worked in my office on behalf of the 22nd District. I would like to extend a sincere thank you to Senator Paul Pinsky, and Delegates Ann Healey and Tawanna Gaines for being great partners for our district. Finally, I want to thank the citizens of the 22nd District. 10 years ago, I asked for your vote, but what you gave me was your trust, love, and support. It was a truly amazing experience and from the bottom of my heart I want to say thank you, I love you, and I’ll never forget it.

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