The widow of Thurgood Marshall made a plea to state lawmakers Monday night to give the first black Supreme Court justice, a Baltimore native, a fitting Maryland tribute by renaming Baltimore-Washington International Airport in his honor.
"Knock down the fences that divide," Cecilia Marshall said, speaking from the dais of the House chamber. "We hope that the Senate, like the House, will see fit to honor Justice Marshall."
The Marshall family received a standing ovation from members of the House, but the reception was less than warm in the Senate. There, lawmakers say, Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller Jr. (D-Calvert), whose district spans Calvert and Prince George's counties, opposes the bill because it would cost about $2 million to rename BWI after Marshall.
Miller has suggested that there might be more appropriate ways to honor Marshall.
But former Prince George's House Delegate Darren Swain questioned that thinking as he left the statehouse and passed the Miller Senate House building.
"How much did it cost us to build the Mike Miller Senate House building, compared to placing the name of Maryland's most historic figure who impacted the world? You compare the cost.
"We are trying to pay tribute to one of our native sons, who was denied entry to one of our top schools not because he wasn't qualified, but because of the color of his skin. And now we are trying to pay homage for his service, and we are looking at mere cost of $2 million. I think it is a travesty."
Johnson's Staff Adds Two
A couple of new faces have joined the Johnson administration in the past couple of weeks.
Penelope Guzman was named the new Latino affairs liaison, replacing Will Campos, who successfully ran for the County Council in September.
Guzman, a former employee in the medical assistance program at Prince George's Hospital Center, said she looks forward to continuing the work Campos did in the county's growing Latino community.
Guzman, who fills a position that has been vacated for months, described her new role as a "go-between" who will help bring concerns of the Latino community to the administration's attention.
For now, she said, she's just trying to meet as many people as she can.
"One meeting opens the door to other meetings," she said.
Denise Roberts is the latest addition to the press information office, said Jim Keary, the director of communications for the Johnson administration.
Roberts, who most recently worked as a media relations specialist for the Nuclear Energy Institute in the District, will handle questions relating to economic development and health care.
Keary said Roberts will be part of a four-member team with him, John Erzen and Christy Lipscomb, who is about to go on maternity leave.
"We won't be up to full staff until Christy gets back," Keary said.