Del. Barbara Robinson Appointed to Fill Mayor Pugh’s Open Senate Seat

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Newly appointed state Sen. Barbara Robinson (left) and Mayor Catherine Pugh

When Catherine Pugh took office as Baltimore’s 50th mayor last week, she left behind an open seat in the Maryland Senate that she had occupied for nine years. Today, Gov. Hogan appointed her colleague in the General Assembly, Del. Barbara Robinson, to fill her shoes.

Robinson’s appointment was no real surprise, since she had actually already been picked by a committee last Wednesday to replace Pugh to represent the 40th district, which runs through Northwest, Central and Southwest Baltimore. The seven-member Democratic central committee for the district voted 5-2 for her, rather than City Councilman William “Pete” Welch, to take the open Senate seat, with the two for Welch coming from his mother and daughter who serve on the committee, Luke Broadwater of the Sun reported.

Robinson served in the House of Delegates for essentially the same amount of time that Pugh served in the state Senate. According to the General Assembly’s website, Robinson was the deputy majority whip of the assembly from 2015 up until today and was on the House of Delegates’ Appropriations Committee since she took office in 2007. She was also chair of the dual-house Legislative Black Caucus, a group made up of black legislative leaders from around Maryland, from 2014 to 2016. Pugh herself was actually also chair of the Black Caucus from 2010 to 2012. Clearly, they have some political history in common.

Robinson’s office said she wasn’t available to comment today. She’ll serve her first day in the upper house of the General Assembly when it meets again on Jan. 11, 2017.

With Robinson’s appointment, the Democratic Central committee will now have to hold another vote to fill her open spot.

Gov. Hogan also appointed another new state senator in now-former Del. William C. Smith, Jr. in Montgomery County. Smith is taking over for Jamie Raskin, the 20th District state senator who was elected to Congress in November.

“I am confident that Barbara Robinson and Will Smith will continue to be strong advocates for their constituents in the state senate,” said Gov. Hogan in a statement. “I offer my sincere congratulations to the new senators and look forward to working with them in their new roles to change Maryland for the better.”

Ethan McLeod
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