Maryland Del. Dereck Davis, attending his final meeting at the State House in Annapolis as a delegate on Dec. 9, waves as his colleagues give him a standing ovation after he was chosen as the new state treasurer. (Robert R. Roberts/The Washington Informer)

LaTasha Ward of Bowie said the selection of Del. Dereck Davis as the state treasurer for Maryland represents “hope” and “optimism” not only as the second African American elected and the first ever from Prince George’s County.

Ward, who founded two nonprofit organizations called “Go Promote U” and “The Solid Foundation Inc.,” said Davis will help ensure minority-owned businesses receive financial and other business opportunities.

“It’s a major moment for gorgeous Prince George’s. That is a trophy for all of us,” said Ward, who received an endorsement from Davis in her run for state delegate to represent the 24th Legislative District. “Having a person like him at the table is a long time coming for people like myself who are minority business owners to get our fair share in the state of Maryland.”

Davis, 54, a Democrat of Mitchellville, will replace current state treasurer Nancy Kopp who plans to retire after nearly 50 years in public office.

His election as the state treasurer ended a four-day special session last week in Annapolis by the Maryland General Assembly that included lawmakers voting on a new redistricting map and overriding more than dozen vetoes made by Gov. Larry Hogan earlier this year.

Some of the state treasurer’s duties include managing state funds and property, issuing or authorizing agents to issue payments of state funds and overseeing financial institutions that invest in the state.

One of the main priorities will be serving on the three-member Board of Public Works with the comptroller and the governor which decides on millions of dollars in procurement and various state projects.

He’s scheduled to be sworn-in Friday, Dec. 17 and attend his first Board of Public Works meeting Jan. 5.

Davis garnered the title of “Mr. Chair” in Annapolis for leading smooth meetings in the House Economics Matters Committee since 2003. The committee oversees policies that include economic development, alcoholic beverages and labor and employment.

The Prince George’s native who represented the 25th Legislative District and served in the House of Delegates since 1995, offered a bit of humor Thursday, Dec. 9 during his nearly 10-minutes speech at the rostrum, usually reserved for House Speaker Adrienne Jones (D-Baltimore County) to preside over the House sessions.

“You know how they say if you have a job that you love [and] you’ll never work a day? That is a lie,” he said to some laughter in the House chamber. “I love being a delegate and the chair of economic matters. I worked my butt off.”

Davis admitted he “tried to stay ahead” of the minority leaders, progressive members, the Democratic and Republican caucuses.

“You pushed me to be as prepared as best I could be,” said Davis, who also worked for about 10 years as the deputy director for community relations for Prince George’s. “I spent many nights plotting on you jokers, too.”

The husband and father of two children ended his speech with a few lyrics from the song by Boyz II Men, “It’s So Hard to Say Goodbye to Yesterday.”

Maryland state Sen. Jill Carter (D-Baltimore City) said Davis’s election “was the highlight” of the special session.

Several Prince George’s legislators such as Del. Nick Charles (D-District 25) of Forestville said Davis brings not only experience, but also having African-American representation on a statewide position.

“We have someone who will bring fairness and equity to the position and to the state,” he said. “It’s going to be sad not having him on the District 25 team and not having him in the chamber. Knowing that he is not too far away, we can always call him to get the guidance we need.”

It remains unclear who will replace Davis in the district that includes Forestville and portions of Largo and Upper Marlboro. Del. Darry Barnes and Sen. President Pro Tem Melony Griffith, both of Upper Marlboro, count as the other two lawmakers who represent the district.

Coverage for the Washington Informer includes Prince George’s County government, school system and some state of Maryland government. Received an award in 2019 from the D.C. Chapter of the Society of...

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