A member of the Maryland General Assembly from 1999-2015, Verna Jones-Rodwell would serve as a Maryland State Senator from 2003-2015 and a Maryland State Delegate from 1999-2003. Before all of that, she would graduate from the University of Maryland in 1978 (B.A., Urban Studies and Community Organization).
The professional career of Jones-Rodwell would take her to the field of community development serving as a Special Assistant to the City Manager in Berkeley, California (1986-1987), as a Community Development Consultant for the Development Training Institute (1987-1997), and currently as the Founder and President of Collaborative Solutions (a Maryland-based consulting and training firm).
Jones-Rodwell would enter the public realm serving upon her election to the Maryland House of Delegates in 1998. She’d serve from 1999-2003 as a member of the Appropriations Committee, the Education and Economic Development Subcommittee of the Appropriations Committee, the Oversight Committee on Pensions of the Appropriations Committee, and the Oversight Committee on Program Open Space and Agricultural Land Preservation of the Appropriations Committee. In the 2002 elections, Jones-Rodwell would seek and win election to the Maryland Senate.
Her time in the Senate would be highlighted by numerous positions of responsibility including service as the Deputy Senate Majority Whip (2014-2015), Chair of the Joint Audit Committee (2008-2010), Chair of the Joint Committee on the Management of Public Funds (2007-2015), Chair of the Pensions Subcommittee of the Budget and Taxation Committee (2011-2015), Chair of the Baltimore City Senate Delegation (2011-2015), and Chair of the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland (2006-2008). Additionally, she’d serve as a member of the Budget and Taxation Committee (2003-2015), the Joint Committee on Federal Relations (2003-2015), the Joint Committee on Children, Youth, and Families (2003-2015), and the Special Committee on Substance Abuse (2003-2015).
For both her professional and legislative efforts, Jones-Rodwell was awarded numerous honors. These recognitions included a certificate of appreciation from the Maryland Municipal League (2008), selection as one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women by the Daily Record from 2005-2008, the Helen S. Schultze Award for the Advancement of Alzheimer’s Research (2007), the Dedicated Service Award from Woman Power, Inc. (2006), the Living Women History Makers’ Award from the National Association of Negro Business and Professional Women’s Clubs, Inc. (2004), the Henry Toll Fellowship from the Council of State Governments (2003), the Award of Excellence from Maryland Women for Responsible Government (2003), and the Verda F. Welcome Award from the Delata Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. (2001).
Following her retirement from the Senate in 2015, Jones-Rodwell returned to public life where she currently focuses her advocacy efforts on important causes including prisoner-re-entry and Alzheimer’s research. She’s clearly left a legacy of service in the Maryland Senate that continues to this day.