Elijah Cummings

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Elijah Cummings
Elijah Cummings23.jpg
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maryland's 7th district
Incumbent
Assumed office
April 16, 1996
Preceded by Kweisi Mfume
Member of the
Maryland House of Delegates
from the 39th District
In office
January 12, 1983 – January 10, 1996
Succeeded by Sterling Page
Personal details
Born Elijah Eugene Cummings
(1951-01-18) January 18, 1951 (age 63)
Baltimore, Maryland
Political party Democratic
Spouse(s) Dr. Maya Rockeymoore-Cummings
Residence Baltimore, Maryland
Alma mater Howard University (B.A.)
University of Maryland School of Law (J.D.)
Occupation U.S. Representative
Religion Baptist
Signature Elijah E. Cummings

Elijah Eugene Cummings (born January 18, 1951) is the U.S. Representative for Maryland's 7th congressional district, serving since 1996.[1] He is a member of the Democratic Party. The district includes just over half of Baltimore City, as well as most of Howard County. He previously served in the Maryland House of Delegates.

Early life, education and career[edit]

Cummings was born in Baltimore, the son of Ruth and Robert Cummings.[2] He graduated with honors from Baltimore City College in 1969. He later attended Howard University in Washington, D.C., where he served in the student government as sophomore class president, student government treasurer and later student government president. He became a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society and graduated in 1973 with a Bachelor of Arts in Political Science.

Cummings attended law school at the University of Maryland School of Law, graduating in 1976 and entering the Maryland Bar in December 1976. He practiced law for 19 years before first being elected to the House in the 1996 elections.

For 13 years, Cummings served in the Maryland House of Delegates. In the Maryland General Assembly, he served as Chairman of the Legislative Black Caucus of Maryland and was the first African American in Maryland history to be named Speaker Pro Tempore, the second highest position in the House of Delegates.

U.S. House of Representatives[edit]

Rep. Cummings

Committee assignments[edit]

In December 2010 Edolphus Towns announced that he would not seek the position of Ranking Minority Member of the Oversight Committee in the next Congress, even though his seniority and service as Chair would typically result in him filling this post. Reportedly, Towns withdrew because of a lack of support from Nancy Pelosi who feared that he would not be a sufficiently aggressive leader of Democrats in an anticipated struggle with incoming committee chair Republican Darrell Issa.[3] Reportedly, the White House also wanted Towns to be replaced.[4] Cummings defeated Carolyn Maloney in a vote of the House Democratic Caucus.[3]

Caucus memberships[edit]

  • Task Force on Health Care Reform
  • Co-founder and Chairman of the Congressional Caucus on Drug Policy

Cummings is a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus. He served as Chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus during the 108th United States Congress.

Cummings received praise and a boost in notoriety following the Congressional panel hearings on steroids in March 2005. While investigating the use of steroids in sports, the panel called numerous baseball players to testify, including former single season home run record holder Mark McGwire. After McGwire answered many questions in a vague fashion, Cummings demanded to know if he was "taking the Fifth", referring to the Fifth Amendment. McGwire responded by saying, "I am here to talk about the future, not about the past." The exchange came to epitomize the entire inquiry.

Legislation[edit]

Cummings supported the Smart Savings Act (H.R. 4193; 113th Congress), a bill that would make the default investment in the Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) an age-appropriate target date asset allocation investment fund (L Fund) instead of the Government Securities Investment Fund (G Fund).[5] Cummings called the bill a "commonsense change" and argued that the bill "will enable workers to take full advantage of a diversified fund designed to yield higher returns."[6]

Cummings introduced the All Circuit Review Extension Act (H.R. 4197; 113th Congress), a bill that would extend for three years the authority for federal employees who appeal a judgment of the Merit Systems Protection Board (MSPB) to file their appeal at any federal court, instead of only the U.S. Court of Appeals.[7] Cummings said that this program is important to extend because it "allows whistleblowers to file appeals where they live rather than being limited to the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals."[8] He also said that the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals has "an abysmal track record in whistleblower cases."[8]

Political campaigns[edit]

Five-term Congressman Kweisi Mfume resigned in February 1996 to take the presidency of the NAACP. Cummings won a crowded seven-way Democratic primary—the real contest in this heavily Democratic, black-majority district—with 37.5 percent of the vote. In the special election, he defeated Republican Kenneth Konder. He defeated Konder again in November to win the seat in his own right. Cummings has been reelected seven times since then with no substantive opposition, never dropping below 70 percent of the vote and even running unopposed in 2006. He won a seventh full term in 2008 with 79.5 percent of the vote.

Electoral history[edit]

Year Office Election Subject Party Votes % Opponent Party Votes % Opponent Party Votes %
1996 Congress, 7th district General Elijah Cummings Democratic 115,764 83.47% Kenneth Kondner Republican 22,929 16.53%
1998 Congress, 7th district General Elijah Cummings Democratic 112,699 85.74% Kenneth Kondner Republican 18,742 14.26%
2000 Congress, 7th district General Elijah Cummings Democratic 134,066 87.07% Kenneth Kondner Republican 19,773 12.84%
2002 Congress, 7th district General Elijah Cummings Democratic 137,047 73.53% Joseph E. Ward Republican 49,172 24.61%
2004 Congress, 7th district General Elijah Cummings Democratic 179,189 73.38% Tony Salazar Republican 60,102 26.38% Virginia Rodino Green 4,727 1.94%
2006 Congress, 7th district General Elijah Cummings Democratic 158,830 98.06% Write-in Candidates 3,147 1.94%
2008 Congress, 7th district General Elijah Cummings Democratic 227,379 79.50% Michael Hargadon Republican 53,147 18.58%

Personal life[edit]

Cummings serves on numerous Maryland boards and commissions including the Board of Visitors (BOV) to the United States Naval Academy and the Elijah Cummings Youth Program in Israel (ECYP). He is an honorary member of the Baltimore Zoo Board of Trustees.[9]

In addition to his many speaking engagements, he writes a biweekly column for the Baltimore Afro-American newspaper. He currently lives in the Madison Park community in Baltimore, and is an active member of the New Psalmist Baptist Church.

He is married to Maya Rockeymoore.[10]

In June 2011, his nephew Christopher Cummings, son of his brother James, was murdered at his off-campus house near Old Dominion University, where he was a student.[11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Gibbs Smith. Maryland Government. Suzanne Chapelle. p. 65. 
  2. ^ "Elijah Cummings ancestry". Freepages.genealogy.rootsweb.ancestry.com. Retrieved 2012-07-15. 
  3. ^ a b Brian Beutler December 16, 2010, 5:09 PM (2010-12-16). "Pelosi Power Play Doomed Towns On Oversight Committee | TPMDC". Tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com. Retrieved 2012-07-15. 
  4. ^ "Ed Towns Steps Down; Sources Blame White House". Daily News. 
  5. ^ "H.R. 4193 - Summary". United States Congress. Retrieved 14 July 2014. 
  6. ^ "Oversight Committee Passes Bipartisan Bills to Improve Federal Worker Savings, Whistleblower Protections". House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform. 12 March 2014. Retrieved 14 July 2014. 
  7. ^ "CBO - H.R. 4197". Congressional Budget Office. Retrieved 15 July 2014. 
  8. ^ a b "Oversight Committee Passes Bipartisan Bills to Improve Federal Worker Savings, Whistleblower Protections". House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform. 12 March 2014. Retrieved 15 July 2014. 
  9. ^ http://www.marylandzoo.org/board-of-trustees/
  10. ^ "Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.)". Roll Call. Retrieved July 8, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Sailor gunned down on sentry duty, Navy says". CNN. July 3, 2009. 

Works cited[edit]

External links[edit]

United States House of Representatives
Preceded by
Kweisi Mfume
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maryland's 7th congressional district

1996–present
Incumbent
United States order of precedence (ceremonial)
Preceded by
Ed Whitfield
R-Kentucky
United States Representatives by seniority
83rd
Succeeded by
Earl Blumenauer
D-Oregon