After hearing speeches from Republican Gov.-elect Larry Hogan, state House Speaker Michael Busch (D-District 30) and U.S. Democratic Sen. Barbara Mikulski, and signing in her first day as delegate for Maryland’s 11th District, Shelly Hettleman was navigating the halls of the State House to get her computer. It was one of many orientation rituals she and the other 57 freshman delegates took part in.
“It feels like finally the culmination of a long road,” said the Baltimore County Democrat.
Hettleman and her fellow newcomers enter the General Assembly at a crucial time with a new governor beginning his term and a budget deficit in excess of $600 million. Experts expect taxes and fees passed during the outgoing O’Malley administration to come under fire and lively debates about what programs and services will be on the chopping block. The impact of the new legislators on these debates remains to be seen.