Squeezed into chairs in both chambers were state leaders from every jurisdiction and from every office. Mikulski also addressed the House of Delegates, concluding her brief speech with a “Star Wars” favorite: “may the force be with us.” U.S. Sen. Ben Cardin (D-Md.) schmoozed while congratulating his former staffer, first-term Del. Shelly Hettleman (D-Baltimore) on her win. County executives from Baltimore, Frederick, Montgomery and Harford counties were seated near Baltimore City Mayor Stephanie Rawlings-Blake in the House of Delegates.
Everyone watched as a remarkably large freshman class of legislators — 69 — took their oath. Despite a heavily Democrat-dominated legislature, the Nov. 4 election brought in many more Republicans than either chamber has seen in many years. Southern Maryland was affected particularly by the arrival of more Republican blood, as Sen. Steve Waugh (R-St. Mary’s, Calvert) bumped off longtime Sen. Roy Dyson and Del. Deb Rey (R-St. Mary’s) replaces veteran Del. John Bohanan.