ANNAPOLIS – Delegate Pauline H. Menes, D-Prince George’s, announced her candidacy for state treasurer Friday, becoming the first to formally set her sights on the spot Richard N. Dixon said Thursday he would leave in February.
Delegate Rushern L. Baker III, D-Prince George’s, and the 21-member Prince George’s County House Delegation backed her candidacy.
“Pauline has been a consistent and earnest advocate for women’s and children’s issues, and has been a stringent advocate for ethical rules and behavior by all public servants,” Baker said. “We are going to do all we can to make sure she’s the next treasurer of Maryland.”
They will seek support from the Legislative Black Caucus as well, he said.
The members of the General Assembly elect the treasurer. Since Dixon was the first African American to hold the treasurer’s spot, lawmakers may be feeling pressure to replace him with another minority. The Prince George’s delegation, however, has several prominent members of the black caucus who have vowed support for Menes.
Dixon will step down one year early on Feb. 2 due the difficulties of maintaining his heavy workload with advancing diabetes.
The new treasurer will complete the last year of Dixon’s term before facing another election in 2003 for the next four-year term.
Menes regretted the cause of Dixon’s resignation, but said she intended to win. She ran against Dixon for the position in 1995 and came in second. At the time, her candidacy was supported by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.
Menes has served as a delegate for more than 30 years. During that time, she has been chairwoman of the Prince George’s House Delegation, the Women’s Legislative Caucus, and the National Order of Women Legislators. She studied economics at Hunter College and is currently House parliamentarian.
Montgomery County delegates also met Friday to discuss possible nominations from their delegation.
Delegate Nancy K. Kopp, D-Montgomery, said all but one of the county’s 27- member delegation would support a local nominee.
Kopp and Delegate Kumar Barve, D-Montgomery, were favorites.
Kopp said she was flattered by the consideration but would have to mull it longer before making a formal announcement.
A special joint legislative committee will consider candidates and make recommendations. Sen. Clarence W. Blount, D-Baltimore, and Delegate Thomas E. Dewberry, D-Baltimore County, will serve as co-chairmen of the committee.