Maryland leaders react to the death of Congressman Elijah Cummings

Maryland reacts to the death of Congressman Cummings
Posted at 8:19 AM, Oct 17, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-17 23:41:51-04

BALTIMORE — An outpouring of admiration Thursday morning for Maryland Rep. Elijah E. Cummings who died early Thursday at Gilchrist Hospice Care, a Johns Hopkins Hospital affiliate, due to complications from longstanding health challenges, his congressional office said.

Retired US Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-Maryland): “We join Maryland and all of America in mourning the loss of Congressman Cummings. We extend our condolences and sympathies to his family and loved ones during this time. America has lost a giant, the 7th Congressional District has lost a champion, and I, along with so many others, have lost a friend. The Maryland Delegation calls itself Team MD, he certainly was our MVP. From distinguishing himself in the halls of Congress to working the streets and neighborhoods of the 7th Congressional District, it was always about jobs and justice. We worked on many things together from President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act to empowerment legislation; he was always there when you needed him. He could investigate, he could legislate, and if necessary, he could agitate. Congressman Cummings always had a place in his heart for young people. He was always telling us, not to worry about the next election but the next generation. He will be missed.”

US Senator Ben Cardin (D-Maryland) released a statement: “Chairman Elijah E. Cummings and I shared a city, an alma mater, a love of the law and a life of public service. I am deeply saddened by his passing, and my prayers today are with his family and loved ones – and the people of Baltimore. The death of Chairman Cummings leaves an irreplaceable void in our hearts, in our Maryland and in our Congress. Quite possibly no elected official mattered so much to his constituents. Chairman Cummings guaranteed a voice to so many who would otherwise not have one, and stood as a symbol for the heights one could reach if they paid no mind to obstacles, naysayers and hate. His commitment to his city and country was unwavering, as will be my lasting respect for him.”

US Senator Chris Van Hollen (D- Maryland) released the following statement: “At a time of chaos and division, our friend Elijah Cummings stood strong as a man of principle, unity, dignity, and compassion. His insatiable thirst for justice was rooted in his core. Maryland has lost a beloved son and our nation a hero of our times.”

Baltimore City Mayor Bernard C. "Jack" Young said: With the passing of U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings, the City of Baltimore, our country, and people throughout the world have lost a powerful voice and one of the strongest and most gifted crusaders for social justice. Rep. Cummings, the son of sharecroppers whose ancestors were slaves, wasn't afraid to use his considerable intellect, booming voice, and poetic oratory to speak out against brutal dictators bent on oppression, unscrupulous business executives who took advantage of unsuspecting customers, or even a U.S. President. He was, put simply, a man of God who never forgot his duty to fight for the rights and dignity of the marginalized and often forgotten. As we enter this period of mourning, let us remember his long legacy of justice as an example to us all of a life well lived. Rest easy, Congressman. We love you and will draw strength by remembering your selfless acts of service and dedication to pursuing equality and basic human rights for all people.

Baltimore City Council President Brandon Scott said: "I am heartbroken by the passing of Congressman Elijah Cummings. Congressman Cummings leaves an unmatched legacy of service that all elected officials can only hope to aspire to. Today Baltimore has lost its Congressman and our country has lost a true American hero. I am eternally grateful for his mentorship and for blazing a trail that opened doors for sons of Baltimore like me to serve in elected office.
He motivated generations of Baltimoreans to public service through his inspirational speeches and deep commitment to our young people. He motivated me to serve. I am a better person and undoubtedly a better public servant because of Congressman Cummings. I will miss hearing “Brandon, I need to see you.” He imparted invaluable lessons during our meetings. He was never satisfied with good enough and constantly sought solutions to our City’s most persistent problems. He cared deeply about Baltimore and everyone in it. My heart goes out to Dr. Rockeymoore Cummings and the entire Cummings family.
Rest in peace, Congressman."

Delegate Nick Mosby and his wife Baltimore City State's Attorney Marilyn Mosby released a statement: Representative Elijah Cummings represents everything that is honorable about public service. He is literally the standard for moral and effective leadership. Baltimore has never had a greater champion and our family joins the entire country in mourning the passing of this giant of a man and a leader. After we pause to reflect on his immense legacy, the greatest tribute we can make is to commit ourselves to the work and the people he cared so deeply about. We send our love and condolences to his loving wife, Maya, and his staff, constituents, family and friends.

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski released a statement: Congressman Cummings believed in the power of government to improve lives, and he was a champion for those who most needed a strong voice speaking up on their behalf in Washington. He dedicated his life to the people of the Baltimore region, and we are all better for his selfless service. May he Rest In Peace.

Howard County Executive Calvin Ball released the following statement: Our world, our nation, our state, and our county are all mourning the loss of United States Congressman Elijah Cummings – an incredible man of deep convictions, a dedicated public servant, and a trailblazing historic figure. Although he became one of our nation’s preeminent Congressional leaders, for many of us in Howard County, he was always simply ‘our Congressman’ and we could not be prouder of him. He served Maryland's 7th Congressional District for more than 23 years as an honorable and humble individual. He represented every one of his constituents with dignity, respect, and integrity. Our thoughts, prayers, and condolences are with Congressman Cummings’ family and, specifically his wife, Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, as well as friends, staff members, and all those he influenced and helped become their best self.
I have lived in Congressman Cummings’s district my entire life. I still clearly remember the support and wisdom he gave me after I was first elected to office, and that continued over the years. He was more than a mentor to me - he was a friend, a confidante, and a role model. Congressman Cummings was someone who would take my call whenever I needed him, provided the best advice, and was always gracious and kind. He treated me and my family, like he did all his constituents, as if we were his family. I never witnessed any politician transcend politics like he did. He would make every person he met feel special- no matter if they were Democrat or Republican, young or old, rich or poor, from Baltimore, Howard County, or anywhere else. Congressman Cummings would often say, ‘Diversity is our strength,’ to inspire us and ‘We’re better than that’ to motivate us, when our nation needed it most. These simple thoughts represent both the spirit and reality of Howard County, Baltimore and the entirety of our state. Yet, the legacy I will remember most and pledge to continue is his unwavering commitment to advocate for the most vulnerable amongst us. He was a fighter, and he was our fighter. Today, we will fly the flag at half-mast out of respect for his memory. I am asking all Howard County residents to take a moment of reflection and remembrance for the Cummings family and to join me in continuing his legacy by remaining ever vigilant in our fight for freedom, peace, and prosperity for all.”

Maryland Insurance Commissioner Al Redmer, Jr. released the following statement: "I was sad to learn of the death of my former colleague, Congressman Elijah Cummings. When I was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates, I served with then-State Delegate Cummings before he was elected to Congress. As a young Delegate, I was struck by his passionate speeches on the House floor that captured the attention and focus of every Member. Whether you agreed or disagreed with Elijah on any specific issue, you never doubted his commitment to the citizens that he represented. I would like to offer my sympathy to Mrs. Rockeymoore Cummings and the entire Cummings family."

Senator Jim Rosapepe, Chair of Democratic Caucus: "You didn't have to know Elijah personally to know he was a good, not just a great, man. What a gift he was to all of us."

Congressman James Raskin (MD 8th District): “It is hard to measure the enormity of the loss we have just suffered. Elijah was the beloved favorite son of Maryland and the prophetic voice of moral integrity and social rebuilding that America needs so desperately. It is hard to imagine going on in these hard days without his passion, his decency and his brilliance, but he would be the first to tell us that we must not waver and we must not falter. For Elijah, it was always about the children—the messengers we send to a future we won’t see. So we must redouble and expand our work in his honor. I will miss him every day.”

Congressman C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger (D Maryland): “Today, we mourn the loss of an American patriot and one of the most principled, passionate men I have ever known. When I was Baltimore County Executive, Elijah Cummings was a state delegate in Annapolis, where he rose through the ranks until his election to Congress. When I first joined him in Washington, he mentored me and I was lucky to learn from the best. We bonded over our memories of Baltimore City College, of Colts games and conversations over where to find the best crab cake in town. Congressman Cummings got a lot of attention on the national stage as Chairman of the Government Reform Committee and there’s no doubt he was fighting for our democracy every single day. But he never stopped fighting for Baltimore and the little man. When we would tour local businesses or universities or factories together, he would always stop and ask the employees how they felt. He wanted the janitor to know he was as valued as the executive. People were his priority. Maryland’s delegation is small but mighty, and Congressman Cummings had our backs. He fought to ensure Maryland and his district got its fair share of the pie, securing critical resources for infrastructure, law enforcement and job training. We also served together on the Naval Academy Board and he understood the needs of our nation’s military.
Congressman Cummings was a powerful and gifted speaker – I won’t miss following him at the podium. He was inspiring and effective because he spoke about his own life experiences, which were so relatable. That’s why he fought so hard for decent jobs, good schools and safe streets.
Congressman Cummings can rest easy knowing that he did everything he could in his time to restore the principles of our democracy and equality. His passing is a tremendous loss to myself personally, the City of Baltimore, our state and our country. My heart goes out to his family, friends and staff during this time of grief.”

Statement on Behalf of the Morgan State University Board of Regents:

The Board of Regents of Morgan State University expresses our sincere condolences on the passing of our fellow Regent, Congressman Elijah E. Cummings.

We will miss his unstinting service to the University and to the City, State and nation as well. His dedication to Morgan State and the advancement of higher education was unparalleled. The book may have closed on his life, but the record is not yet complete. Let that record show that Elijah E. Cummings was a stalwart in the storm, one who stood steady and steadfast through it all.

No matter how long the journey, cold the chill, fierce the enemy or few the friends, he captured our will as a nation to dare to be different, and he challenged us as citizens to dare to make a difference. He confronted life with the courage of his convictions and confronted death with the courage of his faith. Common law and experience teach us that politics change people, but Elijah was a person who changed politics: he put a human face on it.

He made it real.

And he did that through the simple eloquence of his example, an example that even at this moment inspires the students whom he loved. Above all, to those he knew and loved, he was simply a good man with a good heart. He was our friend, and we will miss him dearly.

Maryland Commission on African American History and Culture:

“Congressman Cummings represented the best of Baltimore. His unwavering dedication to the citizens of both the city and county has left us a legacy of spirit, service, and pride. He taught us by example what it means to live up to our best selves and compassionately fight for the equality of all people. As we mourn his transition let us celebrate his life and memory by continuing to rise up to his decree that ‘we are better than this.’”

- Rev. Dr. Tamara E. Wilson, Chair