- The Washington Times - Tuesday, December 10, 2002

ANNAPOLIS The new speaker of the House of Delegates shook up the House leadership team yesterday, moving several delegates to other positions and creating a new committee.
The changes were announced by Delegate Michael Busch, Anne Arundel County Democrat, just six days after he was chosen by House Democrats to replace Speaker Casper R. Taylor Jr., who was defeated for re-election in his district in Allegany and Washington counties.
Mr. Busch increased the role of black delegates in key positions, with Baltimore Democrat Howard P. Rawlings remaining as chairman of the Appropriations Committee and Delegate Derrick Davis of Prince George's County replacing Mr. Busch as chairman of the Economic Matters Committee.
Mr. Busch already had chosen Adrienne Jones, another black Democrat from Prince George's County, as speaker pro tem, whose main duty is to preside over House sessions in the absence of the speaker.
Women will fill several important posts, including leading two of the six major committees, and serve several other roles.
"It wasn't done by design to look like the Channel 11 news," Mr. Busch said. "I like to think I did this because talented people happened to be women or minorities."
Except for Mr. Busch, all the top-tier leadership positions will be filled by delegates from three Democratic strongholds Baltimore city and Montgomery and Prince George's counties.
But he said that several of the 13 rural Democrats would play important roles in the House.
Delegate Norman Conway of Wicomico County will continue as vice chairman of the Appropriations Committee, and Delegates Mary Dulany James of Harford County and Van Mitchell of Charles County will oversee two of the budget subcommittees.
Mr. Busch abolished the old Commerce and Government Matters Committee and replaced it with a Health and Health Insurance Committee, with Delegate John Hurson of Montgomery County as chairman. He said that he made the change because of a big growth in the number and complexity of health care bills over the past several years.
Delegate Maggie McIntosh of Baltimore, who had been majority leader, will become chairman of the Environmental Matters Committee. Montgomery County Delegate Kumar Barve will be the new majority leader.
Delegate Shelia Hixson of Montgomery County will continue as chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, and Delegate Joseph Valario of Prince George's County will return as chairman of the Judiciary Committee.
The biggest loser was Delegate John Wood, a St. Mary's County Democrat whose Commerce and Government Matters Committee was abolished. He will become chairman of the Administrative, Executive and Legislative Review Committee, which deals with regulations imposed by the governor and state agencies and does not carry the prestige of a major committee.

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