September 27, 2019

First Citizen Celebration Series Senator Melvin Steinberg (1998)

Senator Melvin Steinberg was Maryland’s Senate President from 1983-1987 and a recipient of the Maryland First Citizen Award in 1998. Although widely known as Maryland’s Lieutenant Governor from 1987-1995, Steinberg saw his political career begin and flourish in the Maryland Senate from 1967-1987.

A native of Baltimore City, Steinberg was born in 1933 and attend Baltimore City public schools and then the University of Baltimore. He’d graduate with his A.A. Degree in 1952 and then a J.D. in 1955. Upon graduation from law school, he’d answer a call to military service joining the United States Navy and serving on active duty from 1955-1957.

Steinberg would begin his time in the Maryland Senate in 1967 and his service would ultimately culminate in his election as President of the Senate in 1983. In the time prior to his Presidency, he’d serve in numerous other leadership roles in the Senate including as Chairman of the standing Finance Committee, the Rules Committee, and the Joint Committee on Ethics.

Steinberg would leave the Senate in 1987 to join the gubernatorial ticket of then Baltimore Mayor and future Governor William Donald Schaefer. The two would work together for eight years and win two elections in the process of leading Maryland through the late 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s.

When asked about his time as Senate President, Steinberg described his Senate tenure to the Maryland Archives back in 2000. Addressing his accomplishments, he stated: “Without a doubt, the most significant contribution to the State of Maryland was my involvement in the ‘savings and loan crisis.’ The entire State’s financial structure was in jeopardy. As President of the Senate, I was supported by the membership in my opposition to the settlement accepted by the Governor and the House of Delegates. The Senate successfully negotiated a more beneficial settlement for the State and created a process that resolved the problem within a few years.”

Summarizing his Senate career, he said: “Service in the Maryland Senate for me was a very satisfying experience. Perhaps most gratifying was to have had the opportunity to meet people from all over the State, develop lasting friendships, and be part of helping to make Maryland a better place to live, work, and do business.”

Steinberg would leave elected office in 1995 at the end of his second term as Lieutenant Governor. Since leaving office, he’s stayed active serving on numerous boards and commissions and has been awarded numerous honors including honorary degrees from Goucher College in Towson, the former Villa Julie College (now Stevenson University) in Stevenson, and St. Mary’s College of Maryland in St. Mary’s City. He has prominently taken his place in the history of Maryland’s elected leaders and left a legacy of service surpassed by very few.