In a Thursday morning session of the Maryland Senate, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller, Jr. awarded the prestigious First Citizen Award to four prominent former Maryland elected officials. The group of honorees included former Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker along with former Maryland State Senators Ed DeGrange, Nancy Jacobs, and Rich Madaleno.
Established in 1992, The First Citizen Award is awarded by the President of the Maryland Senate to Marylanders who have been dedicated and effective participants in the process of making government work for the benefit of all. According to the Maryland State Archives, “The award is named for Charles Carroll of Carrollton, who wrote a series of influential letters published in 1773 in the Maryland Gazette under the name ‘First Citizen.’ At the time, Carroll, as a Roman Catholic, was barred from public office, but his First Citizen letters launched a long career of public service. He was a signer of the Declaration of Independence, helped shape Maryland’s first Constitution, and served in the State Senate, Continental Congress and U.S. Senate. In his First Citizen letters, Carroll strongly defended the idea of an independent legislature and argued that government must work for the benefit of all. He called for a radical restructuring of government based on the advice and consent of the people, ideas which contributed to the coming of the American Revolution.”
Rushern Baker served as Prince George’s County Executive from 2010 until 2018. Additionally, Baker was a member of the Maryland House of Delegates from 1994-2003. Admitted to Maryland Bar, he served as a Captain in the U.S. Army Reserves Judge Advocate General Corps, from 1987-2001. The first former Prince George’s County Executive to receive the First Citizen Award, Baker now serves as a professor at Bowie State University.
Ed DeGrange represented District 32 (Northern Anne Arundel County) in the Maryland Senate from 1999-2019. Prior to his service in the Senate, DeGrange represented District 2 on the Anne Arundel County Council from 1994-1998. Chairman of the Senate Capital Budget Subcommittee from 2007-2019, DeGrange allocated Maryland’s capital budget funds for some twelve years. DeGrange is the third former Anne Arundel County State Senator to receive the award and the first since former Senator and current Maryland Secretary of Health Robert Neall in 2001.
Nancy Jacobs represented District 34 (Harford and Cecil Counties) in the Maryland Senate from 1999-2015. Prior to her service in the Senate, Jacobs served as a member of the House of Delegates from 1995-1999 (also representing District 34). In her tenure in the Senate, she served as a member of both the Judicial Proceedings Committee (2011-2015) as well as the Education, Health, and Environmental Affairs Committee (1999-2011). In the 2011 General Assembly Session, Jacobs served as the Minority Leader of the Maryland Senate. She is just the second Republican woman to receive the First Citizen Award (the other was former Congresswoman Helen Delich Bentley in 2013).
Richard Madaleno represented District 18 (Montgomery County) in the Maryland Senate from 2007-2019. Prior to his service in the Senate, Madaleno served as a member of the Maryland House of Delegates (also representing District 18) from 2003-2007. In his Senate tenure, Madaleno served as the Vice Chairman of the Budget and Taxation Committee and was known for his tireless advocacy for educational, civil rights, and social justice issues. Having left the Senate earlier this year, Madaleno now serves as the Budget Director for Montgomery County.
With today’s addition of Baker, DeGrange, Jacobs, and Madaleno, just sixty Maryland residents have now received the First Citizen Award since its creation in 1992.