November 13, 2019

Senate Veterans Celebration Series Senator Louis Goldstein

Maryland’s Senate President from 1955-1958, Prince Frederick native son Louis L. Goldstein was a leader for Maryland’s Senate who would go on to become a true legend of Maryland politics.

First elected as a Delegate to the Maryland General Assembly in 1938, Goldstein’s young political career would soon be interrupted in 1942 following the Japanese attack of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. The event would inspire him to join the United States Marine Corps where he would embark on a short yet distinguished military career. He’d serve through the end of World War II in 1945 when he would achieve the rank of 1st Lieutenant and serve on the staff of General Douglas MacArthur (where he would investigate war crimes in the Philippines following the Japanese surrender).

Born in 1913, just ten days after the dawn of the administration of President Woodrow Wilson, Goldstein grew up in rural Calvert County as a child of an immigrant retailer Goodman Goldstein. Fascinated by the 1928 Presidential campaign between then United States Commerce Secretary Herbert Hoover and New York Governor Al Smith, Goldstein would be inspired to engage in the political realm at the age of fifteen. He’d campaign in his community for then-Governor Smith in 1928 and four years later he would do the same for another New York Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt. Louis would stay in Calvert County until he left to pursue a college education at Washington College in Chestertown and then ultimately the University of Maryland School of Law (receiving his law degree in 1938) where he would lay the groundwork for his own future career in politics.

In 1946 Goldstein would be first-elected to the Maryland Senate where he would be elected to three consecutive four-year terms and serve as the President of the body during his final Senate term from 1955-1958. It was during his time in the Senate when Louis would meet and marry the love of his life, the former Hazel Horton (a lawyer in her own right), in 1948. They would meet in 1947 when she came to work for then-Majority Leader Harold Sothoron (the couple would raise three children together and their marriage would last some forty-eight years until Hazel’s passing in 1996).

Following his tenure in the Maryland Senate, Goldstein would achieve his ultimate legendary status in Maryland’s political history. Leaving the Senate to pursue the Office of the Comptroller, Goldstein would be elected in 1958 to the first of ten terms as the State’s Chief Tax Collector where he would serve with seven Maryland Governors (Tawes, Agnew, Mandel, Lee, Hughes, Schaefer, and Glendening) over that forty-year period.

Known for a profound concern for his constituents along with the famous catchphrase “God bless you all real good,” Goldstein left an indelible mark on not just the Maryland Senate but Maryland’s political landscape as a whole. He would lead the office of the Comptroller through some four decades and be a tireless advocate for social justice and financial responsibility.

Upon his passing in July of 1998, Goldstein was one of the longest-serving statewide elected officials in United States history. He was the first elected official to lie in state in the Maryland Statehouse and is forever memorialized in his native Calvert County (with an exhibit of his papers and a replication of his office at the Jefferson Patterson Museum in St. Leonard), at his alma matter Washington College (with a hall named in his honor), and in the Maryland State Capital Complex (with a statue in front of the Office of the Comptroller).

Although forever known as Maryland’s Comptroller, the Maryland Senate still proudly claims Louis L. Goldstein first and foremost as its’ President from 1955-1958.