Bonnie Cullison

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Bonnie Cullison
Member of the Maryland House of Delegates
from the 19th district
Assumed office
January 12, 2011
Personal details
Born (1954-03-24) March 24, 1954 (age 63)
Baltimore, Maryland
Political party Democratic
Domestic partner Marcia Massey
Residence Silver Spring, Maryland
Occupation Teacher

Bonnie Cullison (born March 24, 1954) is an American teacher, labor official and politician from Montgomery County, Maryland. A Democrat, she was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in 2010, representing the state's 19th district. She took office on January 12, 2011.

Early life and career[edit]

Raised in a military family, Cullison lived in four states and two European countries until she was 18. Her parents had maintained residency in Maryland, and she returned to the state to attend college. Cullison earned both bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Maryland, College Park and began working for the St. Mary's County school district in 1978.

Cullison moved to from St. Mary's County to Montgomery County in 1981, where she worked as a special education teacher in the public schools.[1] She worked as a special education teacher for 19 years. Twelve years of those years were spent teaching students with language disabilities at Kensington Parkwood Elementary.[1]

Cullison was elected to office in the Montgomery County Education Association, an 11,000-member teachers' union. In 2003, she was elected the union's president,[1] a post she held for six years. While serving as president, Cullison advocated for affordable housing for teachers[2] and advocated against laying off teachers to save money,[3]

In 2007, Cullison served as the chair of the Committee for Montgomery, a coalition of business and community leaders in Montgomery County, advocating for Montgomery County's interests in the Maryland General Assembly.[4]

Cullison retired from the Montgomery County Education Association in 2009 and now works for the National Education Association.[5]

In 2009, Cullison was the chief of the Montgomery County teachers' union.[6] While seeking to be elected to the policy-setting executive committee of the National Education Association, Cullison raised money to pay for her campaign's travel, mailings, and other costs.[6] She asked for contributions from Maryland state legislators, many of whom had previously been endorsed by the teachers' union.[6] The Maryland State Attorney General's Office determined that political campaigns cannot fund a national union's internal election.[6] The Maryland State Board of Elections ordered Cullison to refund the several thousand dollars she'd raised from state legislators, and she did so. Cullison was not elected to the position at the National Education Association.[6]

Political career[edit]

2010 election[edit]

Cullison mounted a bid for the Maryland House of Delegates in 2010, running in the three-member 19th district. The district includes the Montgomery County communities of Silver Spring, Wheaton, Leisure World, Northwood, Four Corners, Aspen Hill, Kemp Mill, Olney, Derwood, Laytonsville and unincorporated areas of Rockville and Gaithersburg. Incumbents Roger Manno and Henry B. Heller had decided against seeking reelection, creating two open seats in the 19th.

Six Democrats filed to run in the primary election for delegate. The editorial board of The Washington Post endorsed her candidacy.[7] In the Democratic primary election, Cullison placed second, winning one of the three Democratic nominations.[8][9]

The editorial board of The Washington Post endorsed her in the general election.[10] She won the general election.[11][12]

First term[edit]

During Cullison's first term in office, she advocated in favor of establishing same-sex marriage in Maryland.[13]

2014 election[edit]

Cullison ran for reelection in 2014.[14] She won the Democratic primary election as well as the general election.[15]

Second term[edit]

Cullison supports public school buses providing transportation for students attending private schools,[16] saying doing so helps parents and reduces traffic.[17]


Cullison is openly gay; on June 23, 2013 she married her domestic partner of 30 years, Marcia Massey.[5][18] She is one of eight openly LGBT members of the Maryland General Assembly, alongside Sen. Rich Madaleno (D–Kensington) and Dels. Anne Kaiser (D–Burtonsville), Heather Mizeur (D–Takoma Park), Peter Murphy (D–Bryans Road), Maggie McIntosh (D–Baltimore), Mary L. Washington (D–Baltimore) and Luke Clippinger (D–Baltimore).

Electoral results[edit]

2010 primary election[edit]

Democratic Primary Results[9]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Ben Kramer 7,603 26
Democratic Bonnie Cullison 6,083 21
Democratic Sam Arora 5,767 20
Democratic Jay Hutchins 4,559 16
Democratic Hoan Dang 3,277 11
Democratic Vivian Stretchen 1,600 6

2010 general election[edit]

General Election Results[11]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Ben Kramer 23,526 26
Democratic Sam Arora 22,242 24
Democratic Bonnie Cullison 21,795 24
Republican Linn Rivera 11,929 13
Republican Tom Masser 11,362 13
  write-in 288 0

2014 primary election[edit]

Democratic Primary Results[14]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Ben Kramer 8,196 29
Democratic Bonnie Cullison 6,279 22
Democratic Maricé Morales 4,894 17
Democratic Charlotte Crutchfield 4,512 16
Democratic Paul Bardack 3,679 13
Democratic Melodye A. Berry 1,238 4

2014 general election[edit]

General Election Results[15]
Party Candidate Votes %
Democratic Ben Kramer 20,817 29
Democratic Bonnie Cullison 20,009 28
Democratic Maricé Morales 18,833 26
Republican Martha Schaerr 11,836 16
  write-in 315 0


  1. ^ a b c Mosk, Matthew; Perlstein, Linda (August 14, 2003). "Politicos Organizing for 2004 Primary". The Washington Post. p. T2. 
  2. ^ Trejos, Nancy (October 11, 2005). "Affordable Housing Shortage Is Targeted; Montgomery Initiative Aimed at Middle Class". The Washington Post. p. B1. 
  3. ^ Craig, Tim (October 29, 2004). "Bleak Mailer Denounces Tax Cap Measure; Backers of Montgomery Issue Call Warnings of Cuts and Funding Shortages Scare Tactics". The Washington Post. p. B1. 
  4. ^ Cullison, Bonnie (January 25, 2007). "What One Group Wants the General Assembly to Do for the County". The Washington Post. p. T18. 
  5. ^ a b "2010 voters' guide: Bonnie Cullison". The Gazette. 
  6. ^ a b c d e "Cash on the barrel; Montgomery County's teachers union and the politics of entitlement". The Washington Post. February 22, 2010. p. A14. 
  7. ^ "Choices in Montgomery: Democratic primaries for the General Assembly". The Washington Post. August 23, 2010. p. A12. 
  8. ^ Haniffa, Aziz (September 24, 2010). "Maryland on course to make Indian-American political history". India Abroad. New York, New York. p. A18. 
  9. ^ a b "Official 2010 Gubernatorial Primary Election results for House of Delegates: House of Delegates: Legislative District 19". The State Board of Elections. State of Maryland. 2010. Retrieved June 4, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Tuesday's ballot choices" (editorial). The Washington Post. November 2, 2010. p. A18. 
  11. ^ a b "Official 2010 Gubernatorial General Election results for House of Delegates: House of Delegates: Legislative District 19". The State Board of Elections. State of Maryland. 2010. Retrieved June 4, 2014. 
  12. ^ Springer, Richard (November 12, 2010). "Barve, Arora, Miller Capture Maryland Statehouse Seats". India - West. San Leandro, California. p. A19. 
  13. ^ Dvorak, Petula (February 17, 2012). "Political and personal join for some legislators". The Washington Post. p. B1. 
  14. ^ a b "Official 2014 Gubernatorial Primary Election results for House of Delegates". Maryland State Board of Elections. July 6, 2014. 
  15. ^ a b "Unofficial Results for the 2014 Gubernatorial General Election". Maryland Board of Elections. November 5, 2014. 
  16. ^ Pollak, Suzanne (March 5, 2015). "MoCo Council adds funds for private school busing". Washington Jewish Week. Gaithersburg, Maryland. p. 3. 
  17. ^ Pollak, Suzanne (May 8, 2014). "Md. 19 hopefuls talk busing to Jewish voters". Washington Jewish Week. Gaithersburg, Maryland. pp. 1, 16–17. 
  18. ^ "Gay candidates seek record voice in legislature". The Gazette. June 18, 2010. 

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