November 18, 2019

Senate Collegiate Pride Series Senator Joanne Benson

A Maryland State Senator since January 12, 2011, Senator Joanne C. Benson represents Maryland’s 24th legislative district in Prince George’s County. Before her career in the political realm, she would first attend and graduate from Bowie State College (B.S., Elementary Education, 1962).

Born on March 11, 1941, in Roanoke, Virginia, Benson’s path to the Maryland Senate would be both an interesting and accomplished one. Her professional career would see her make her way to the field of education serving both as a teacher and administrator for over forty years. In addition to that professional career, Benson embarked on a career in public service upon her election to the Maryland House of Delegates in 1990. She’d serve as a Delegate from 1991 until 2011. In the House of Delegates, Benson would serve as a member of the Constitutional and Administrative Law Committee (1991-1992), the Environmental Matters Committee (1992-1993), the Commerce and Government Matters Committee (1994-2003), and the Health and Government Operations Committee (2003-2011). She’d also serve as Chair of Law Enforcement and State Appointed Boards Committee (1999-2006) and the House Chair of the Joint Committee on Access to Mental Health Services.

Since her election to the Maryland Senate, Benson has served as a member of the Senate Education, Health, & Environmental Affairs Committee (2011-2015) and the Senate Finance Committee (2015-present). Additionally, she serves as the Chair of the Prince George’s Senate Delegation (2019-present) and the Senate Rules Committee (2019-present).

For her years of service, Benson has been recognized with numerous awards and honors including the For Love of Children Award from the Kiwanis Club of Capitol Centre (1985), the Community Service Award from the J. Franklyn Bourne Bar Association (1989), the Phyllis Campbell Newson Public Policy Leadership Award from the Center for Nonprofit Advancement (2009), and Certificates of Appreciation from the Maryland Municipal League (2008-2011).

Benson is the daughter of the Reverend and Mrs. William Claybon. She is a Member of the First Baptist Church of Glenarden and serves as the Chaplain of the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland.