PoliticsWilliam J. Ford

Md. Delegate Apologizes for Using Racial Slur, Stripped of Committee Post

A white lawmaker in Maryland apologized Tuesday for allegedly using the N-word last month at an Annapolis cigar bar to describe residents of the southern part of Prince George’s County.

Del. Mary Ann Lisanti, a Democrat from Harford County, issued a statement apologizing for reportedly telling a white colleague at the bar that when he campaigned last fall in Prince George’s County on behalf of a candidate, he was door-knocking in a “n—– district.”

“I deeply apologize to my constituents, my colleagues in the Maryland General Assembly, the citizens of Maryland and all who are reading this for my word choice,” she said in a statement late Tuesday. “I am sickened that word came out of my mouth. It is not in my vocabulary, and it does not represent my belief system, my life’s work or what’s in my heart.”

House Speaker Michael E. Busch stripped Lisanti, 51, of her post as chair of the unemployment insurance subcommittee of the House Economics Matters Committee.

The committee, one of the most influential groups in the legislature, reviews proposed legislation on alcohol licenses, insurance and increasing the state’s minimum hourly wage, also known as “Fight for $15.”

“While I believe her apology was heartfelt, the damage among her colleagues and the public has been done,” Busch said in a statement.

Delegate Darryl Barnes (D-District 25) of Upper Marlboro said Lisanti apologized late Monday to members of the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland.

“Not only are members of the Black caucus concerned about this, but we are getting phone calls from our constituents,” said Barnes, who chairs the caucus.

Delegate Melissa Wells (D-Baltimore City) declined to comment.

Delegate Talmadge Branch (D-Baltimore City), who also serves as majority whip in the House, said some caucus members remain upset about Lisanti’s remarks.

One possibility of a formal punishment would be a complaint to the state Ethics Commission, but Talmadge said that hasn’t been done.

“Some members still want a little more of a discipline,” he said. “We’ll have to see what that will be. It’s been pretty much handled, I think, pretty good by [Black caucus] leadership.”

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William J. Ford – Washington Informer Staff Writer

I decided I wanted to become a better writer while attending Bowie State University and figured that writing for the school newspaper would help. I’m not sure how much it helped, but I enjoyed it so much I decided to keep on doing it, which I still thoroughly enjoy 20 years later. If I weren’t a journalist, I would coach youth basketball. Actually, I still play basketball, or at least try to play, once a week. My kryptonite is peanut butter. What makes me happy – seeing my son and two godchildren grow up. On the other hand, a bad call made by an official during a football or basketball game makes me throw up my hands and scream. Favorite foods include pancakes and scrambled eggs which I could eat 24-7. The strangest thing that’s ever happened to me, or more accurately the most painful, was when I was hit by a car on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. If I had the power or money to change the world, I’d make sure everyone had three meals a day. And while I don’t have a motto or favorite quote, I continue to laugh which keeps me from driving myself crazy. You can reach me several ways: Twitter @jabariwill, Instagram will_iam.ford2281 or e-mail, wford@washingtoninformer.com

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