Maryland House of Delegates votes to censure Delegate Mary Ann Lisanti after she used racial slur

Posted at 6:14 PM, Feb 28, 2019

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — For the first time in decades a member of the Maryland House of Delegates has been censured.

That means a formal statement of disapproval for Harford County Delegate Mary Ann Lisanti. Lisanti created a firestorm when reports surfaced that she used the "n" word at a bar in Annapolis to describe Prince George's County, a predominately black district in Maryland.

“This is a sad day for the house of delegates when we have to act to censure one of our own,” Del. Kathleen Dumais said.

On Tuesday, Lisanti admitted to using the “n” word and sent out a formal apology.

Lisanti stood and was prepared to give her statement to the house but wasn't given the chance, so she delivered her message to reporters.

Now saying she doesn’t remember saying the "n" word that night.

“I do not believe I did, but I’m still accepting responsibility,” Lisanti said. “That’s semantics and I’ll tell you why it’s semantics because what we know about words and words hurt. Whether I say something to you and she hears something else, if you think that hurts you that’s what’s important and that’s why we’re reconciling.”

The vote was 136 to 0 in favor to censure Del. Lisanti.

She said she met with members of the Legislative Black Caucus on Monday who asked her to make a formal apology, seek diversity training, and relinquish her leadership position, all things she said she did immediately.

“Some have expressed concern about my education and offered theories that as a white woman from Harford County I couldn’t possibly understand diversity and the pain of oppression. I say to them teach me what I do not know,” said Lisanti.

She blamed a 17-hour work day for not being able to remember whether she said it, and said it wasn't because of alcohol.

“I don’t remember a lot of conversations through the day. If you were to spend one hour with one of us you know we go from one thing to another to another. It was the end of a very long day.”

Saying she denounces the word and it’s not in her vocabulary and doesn’t represent her beliefs.

“While ever so vile and hurtful a word. Not an action behavior or course of conduct. Words matter they can inflict pain and in this case this word represents the most deplorable and for that I accept your action,” said Lisanti.

Some Delegates have expressed concerns over her voting record as it pertains to the minority community in Harford County and the State of Maryland.

“I welcome such an examination as it will reveal more about the strength of my character and my dedication to fairness.”

Lisanti said she won’t resign because quitting is the easy way out and that it would deprive the people of Harford County of a vote.

“Quitting is easy, but not the road to redemption,” said Lisanti.

She plans to accept Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks invitation to visit her county.


RELATED: Maryland lawmaker apologizes for using racial slur

Several state lawmakers, including Governor Larry Hogan, said Delegate Mary Ann Lisanti should resign.