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Prominent MD Democrat Dies at Age 89

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Former Maryland Democrat Sheila Hixson Dies at Age 89

A trailblazer in Maryland state politics died Sunday at her home in New Smyrna Beach, Florida, at age 89, according to Representative Jamie Raskin, D-Md.

Former Delegate Sheila Hixson represented the Silver Springs area for more than 40 years after her initial 1976 appointment to fill an Annapolis vacancy. Del. Hixson retired from the General Assembly in 2018 after deciding against another term.

““We are filled with sadness to share news of the loss last night of our beloved friend and mentor and former District 20 colleague, Delegate Sheila Hixson, the former Chair of the House of Delegates Ways and Means Committee,” Congressman Raskin said in a joint statement with four other Maryland politicians. “We extend heartfelt condolences to her wonderful family and share their grief over this terrible loss.”

The Conservative Brief further reported:

“Her death was announced Monday by U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin (D) and the four state lawmakers in Montgomery County’s District 20, which Hixson represented for 43 years. No cause of death was given, though the ex-lawmaker was in declining health in recent years. She died in New Smyrna Beach, Fla., where she lived with one of her daughters,” local news outlet WTOP reported.

“Hixson was the longest-serving woman in the history of the General Assembly, and was chair of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee from 1993 to 2017. She was one of the most progressive members of the General Assembly when Democratic moderates were dominant, but she was also a political pragmatist, who began waging uphill policy fights only when she knew she had a chance of winning,” the outlet noted.

“All of the progressive issues in the state of Maryland, all started with Sheila Hixson,” the late Democrat House Speaker Mike Busch said during a tribute to Hixson in 2017, when she announced she would not seek another term.

“We are grateful for her impassioned life of service and her enduring contributions to the dynamic political culture of District 20, where her Breakfast Club was always the center of the action, the good-government politics of Montgomery County and progressive legislative change in the state of Maryland. Sheila believed in the power of government to be an instrument of common prosperity and the agent of excellent constituent service. She listened to and valued the voice of the people,” Raskin, state Sen. William Smith (D-Montgomery) and Dels. Lorig Charkoudian (D-Montgomery), David Moon (D-Montgomery) and Jheanelle Wilkins (D-Montgomery) said in their statement announcing Hixson’s death.

“Hixson was a lifelong Democratic activist who moved to the Washington, D.C., area from Michigan with her family in the 1960s. She quickly became involved with national and local Democratic politics, and when a vacancy opened in the House of Delegates in early 1976, she was appointed to the position. She was subsequently reelected nine times,” WTOP reported.

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