Ann Remington Hull, the highest-ranking woman legislator in the Maryland House of Delegates, has decided not to seek election to a fourth term this year because she no longer sees "a possibility of upward mobility."
Hull, assistant speaker of the House since 1975, tried to become the first woman state senator from Prince George's County last year when Sen. Meyer M. Emanuel resigned. She was rejected by the Democratic Central Committee in favor of John J. Garrity, a delegate with less legislative experience but closer ties to the party leadership.
"I sought that position very actively" said hull, a 12-year legislative veteran from takoma park. "If I had been chosen, I would have run again. But I saw no reason to go back to the same thing again."
Hull said another factor in her decision not to seek reelection was that she has recently attained a new job as urban affairs staff director for the National League of Women Voters.
Since earning a delegate seat in 1966, Hull has developed a reputation among many of her colleagues as "the brains" of the Prince George's delegation. She made the General Assembly almost a full-time occupation, rarely missing a floor or committee sessiona nd volunteering to serve on various ad hoc task forces and panels.
"Several times over the years the county delegation would find itself fighting over a piece of legislation that it did not fully understand," Del. Lorraine Sheehan (D-Prince George's) said. "We would usually turn to Ann to tell us quietly and succinctly what was really going on."
Hull said she was disappointed, "but not devasted," after being rejected for the Senate position. She does not hold a grudge against the county's Democratic organization, she added. "I don't want to damn what I've been associated with for 12 years. Whether their choice was good or bad remains to be seen."
She said she had mixed feelings about the way the county Democratic Party operates. "I think it's more open than it is sometimes given credit for. It is probably more inefficient than some people think, too."
She said the General Assembly has improved markedly since 1966, both in its internal structure and in its attitude towards women politicians.
"The best change is that the assembly is not nearly as hierarchy-ridden as it used to be. Everyone has an opportunity to make a mark in committee work. There is no longer the tradition that first-termers should be seldom seen and heard from even less.
"There are enough women in the House now (16 out of the total of 141) so that we can have an impact when we have near-unanimity. And womena re no longer held to a higher standard. It used to be that women were criticized if they talked too much, but men weren't. That not true anymore. We're all considered legislators, which is the way it should be."
Hull's retirement leaves a vacancy in the legislative slate of the Democratic organizations. That slate is now being formed by the party leadership and is expected to feature incumbents in all a few instances.