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Elijah Eugene Cummings (January 18, 1951 – October 17, 2019) was an American politician and civil rights advocate who served in the United States House of Representatives for Maryland's 7th congressional district from 1996 until his death in 2019.[1] The district includes just over half of the city of Baltimore, most of the majority-black precincts of Baltimore County, as well as most of Howard County. He previously served in the Maryland House of Delegates. He was a member of the Democratic Party.

Elijah Cummings
Elijah Cummings23.jpg
Chair of the House Oversight Committee
In office
January 3, 2019 – October 17, 2019
Preceded byTrey Gowdy
Succeeded byCarolyn Maloney (acting)
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Maryland's 7th district
In office
April 16, 1996 – October 17, 2019
Preceded byKweisi Mfume
Succeeded byVacant
Member of the Maryland House of Delegates
from the 39th district
In office
January 12, 1983 – January 10, 1996
Preceded byLena King Lee
Succeeded bySterling Page
Personal details
Born
Elijah Eugene Cummings

(1951-01-18)January 18, 1951
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
DiedOctober 17, 2019(2019-10-17) (aged 68)
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
Political partyDemocratic
Spouse(s)
Joyce Matthews
(div. 1982)

Maya Rockeymoore (m. 2008)
Children3
EducationHoward University (BA)
University of Maryland, Baltimore (JD)
Signature

Cummings served in the Maryland House from 1983 through 1996. That year, he was elected to the U.S. House. Cummings served as the chair of the Committee on Oversight and Reform from January 2019 until his death in October 2019.

Early life, education, and careerEdit

Cummings was born on January 18, 1951, in Baltimore, the son of Ruth Elma (née Cochran) and Robert Cummings.[2] His parents were sharecroppers.[3] He was the third child of seven. When he was 11 years old, Cummings and some friends worked to integrate a segregated swimming pool in South Baltimore.[4]

Cummings graduated with honors from the Baltimore City College high school in 1969.[5][6] He then attended Howard University in Washington, D.C.,[6] 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[7] and graduated in 1973 with a Bachelor's degree in Political Science.[6][8]

Cummings graduated from law school at the University of Maryland School of Law, receiving his Juris Doctor in 1976, and was admitted to the Maryland State Bar Association later that year.[9] He practiced law for 19 years before first being elected to the House in the 1996 elections.[10]

Cummings received 12 honorary doctoral degrees from universities across the United States, most recently an honorary doctorate of public service from the University of Maryland, College Park in 2017.[11][12]

For 14 years, Cummings served in the Maryland House of Delegates. His predecessor, Lena King Lee, raised funds and campaigned for him; years later, Cummings credited her with launching his political career.[13][14] 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,[15] the second highest position in the House of Delegates.

Cummings also served on several boards and commissions, both in and out of Baltimore. Those include SEED Schools of Maryland Board of Directors and the University of Maryland Law School Board of Advisors.[16] He served on numerous Maryland boards and commissions including the Board of Visitors to the United States Naval Academy and the Elijah Cummings Youth Program in Israel. He was an honorary member of the Baltimore Zoo Board of Trustees.[17]

In addition to his speaking engagements, he wrote a biweekly column for the Baltimore Afro-American newspaper.[18]

U.S. House of RepresentativesEdit

 
Earlier photo of Cummings
 
Cummings, Xavier Becerra, and Robert Matsui at a press conference on civil rights in 1997

Committee assignmentsEdit

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.[19] Reportedly, the White House also wanted Towns to be replaced.[20] Cummings defeated Carolyn Maloney in a vote of the House Democratic Caucus.[19]

In his role as chair of the Oversight Committee, Cummings presided over the first public testimony by President Trump's former lawyer, Michael Cohen,[21][22][23] and was a leading figure in the impeachment inquiry against Donald Trump.[24] Carolyn Maloney will serve as chair in the interim.[25]

Caucus membershipsEdit

Cummings was a member of the Congressional Progressive Caucus.[28] He served as chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus[29] during the 108th United States Congress.

Cummings received praise following the congressional panel hearings on steroids in 2008. 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.[30]

LegislationEdit

Cummings introduced the Presidential and Federal Records Act Amendments of 2014, a bipartisan bill signed into law by then-President Barack Obama in December 2014. The bill, which Cummings co-sponsored with Representative Darrell Issa, Republican of California, is a set of amendments to the Federal Records Act and Presidential Records Act. Among other provisions, the bill modernizes the definition of a federal record to expressly include electronic documents.[31][32]

He supported the Smart Savings Act, 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).[33] 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".[34]

He introduced the All Circuit Review Extension Act, 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 U.S. circuit court of appeals, instead of only the U.S. Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.[35] 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".[36] He also said that the Federal Circuit Court of Appeals has "an abysmal track record in whistleblower cases".[36]

In remarks at the 2016 Democratic National Convention, Cummings declared: "Our party does not just believe, but understands, that Black Lives Matter. But we also recognize that our community and our law enforcement work best when they work together."[37][38]

Political campaignsEdit

 
Cummings speaking at the 2008 Democratic National Convention

Five-term Congressman for Maryland's 7th congressional district, Kweisi Mfume resigned in February 1996 to take the presidency of the NAACP. Cummings won a crowded[39] seven-way Democratic primary—the real contest in this heavily Democratic, black-majority district—with 37.5% of the vote. In the special election, he defeated Republican Kenneth Kondner with over 80 percent of the vote. He defeated Kondner again in November by a similar margin to win the seat in his own right.[40]

He was reelected 11 more times in the contests which followed, never dropping below 69 percent of the vote. He ran unopposed in 2006.[40]

Electoral historyEdit

Maryland's 7th congressional district: Results 1996–2018[41][42]

Election Winner Party Votes % Opponent Party Votes % Opponent Party Votes %
1996 Special  Y Elijah Cummings Democratic 18,870 80.9% Kenneth Kondner Republican 4,449 19.1%
1996 General  Y Elijah Cummings Democratic 115,764 83.5% Kenneth Kondner Republican 22,929 16.5%
1998 General  Y Elijah Cummings Democratic 112,699 85.7% Kenneth Kondner Republican 18,742 14.3%
2000 General  Y Elijah Cummings Democratic 134,066 87.0% Kenneth Kondner Republican 19,773 12.8%
2002 General  Y Elijah Cummings Democratic 137,047 73.5% Joseph E. Ward Republican 49,172 26.4%
2004 General  Y Elijah Cummings Democratic 179,189 73.4% Tony Salazar Republican 60,102 24.6% Virginia Rodino Green 4,727 1.9%
2006 General  Y Elijah Cummings Democratic 158,830 98.1% Write-in candidates 3,147 1.9%
2008 General  Y Elijah Cummings Democratic 227,379 79.5% Michael Hargadon Republican 53,147 18.6% Ronald Owens-Bey Libertarian 5,214 1.8%
2010 General  Y Elijah Cummings Democratic 152,669 75.2% Frank Mirabile Republican 46,375 22.8% Scott Spencer Libertarian 3,814 1.9%
2012 General  Y Elijah Cummings Democratic 247,770 76.5% Frank Mirabile Republican 67,405 20.8% Ronald Owens-Bey Libertarian 8,211 2.5%
2014 General  Y Elijah Cummings Democratic 144,639 69.9% Corrogan Vaughn Republican 55,860 27.0% Scott Soffen Libertarian 6,103 3.0%
2016 General  Y Elijah Cummings Democratic 238,838 74.9% Corrogan Vaughn Republican 69,556 21.8% Miles B. Hoenig Green 9,715 3.0%
2018 General  Y Elijah Cummings Democratic 202,345 76.4% Richmond Davis Republican 56,266 21.3% David Griggs Libertarian 5,827 2.2%

Personal lifeEdit

Cummings lived in the Madison Park community in Baltimore and was an active member of the New Psalmist Baptist Church.[40] He married Joyce Matthews, with whom he had a daughter, Jennifer J. Cummings.[43][44] He had a son and a daughter, Adia Cummings, from other relationships.[43][44] He married Maya Rockeymoore Cummings in 2009, who was elected chairwoman of the Maryland Democratic Party.[45][46]

In June 2011, his nephew Christopher Cummings, son of his brother James, was murdered at his off-campus house near Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, where he was a student.[47]

Cummings underwent surgery to repair his aortic valve in May 2017 and was absent from Capitol Hill for two months. In July 2017, he developed a surgery-related infection but returned to work.[48] Cummings was later hospitalized for a knee infection.[49]

DeathEdit

Cummings, who had cancer, died on October 17, 2019, at Gilchrist Hospice Care at the age of 68 from "complications concerning longstanding health challenges", his spokeswoman stated.[49][50][51][52] Before his funeral service on October 25 at Baltimore's New Psalmist Baptist Church, where he was a communicant for 40 years, he will lie in state at the U.S. Capitol Building's Statuary Hall.[50]

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Gibbs Smith. Maryland Government. Suzanne Chapelle. p. 65.
  2. ^ Rasmussen, Frederick N. (February 7, 2018). "Ruth Cummings, mother of U.S. Rep. Elijah Cummings and founder of Victory Prayer Chapel, dies". The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on November 8, 2018. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  3. ^ Stout, David; Stolberg, Sheryl Gay (October 17, 2019). "Elijah E. Cummings, Powerful Democrat Who Investigated Trump, Dies at 68". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on October 17, 2019. Retrieved October 17, 2019.
  4. ^ "A white mob attacked Elijah Cummings for integrating a swimming pool. He was 11".
  5. ^ "Baltimore City College alum: Elijah Cummings". The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on September 10, 2016. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  6. ^ a b c Dodge, Andrew R.; Koed, Betty K., eds. (2005). Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774-2005. United States Congress. Government Printing Office. p. 904. ISBN 9780160731761.
  7. ^ "Congressman Elijah Cummings: We need to see each other to move forward". Watson Institute. Brown University. March 13, 2016. Archived from the original on February 28, 2019. Retrieved February 27, 2019.
  8. ^ "Elijah E. Cummings". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on November 14, 2018. Retrieved November 14, 2018.
  9. ^ "Cummings, Elijah Eugene, (1951-)". Biographical Directory of the United States Congress. Archived from the original on July 18, 2011. Retrieved November 17, 2018.
  10. ^ Folkenflik, David (October 17, 1999). "As Cummings rose, financial problems grew; Politician struggled with child support, taxes, mortgage". Archived from the original on February 28, 2019. Retrieved February 27, 2019.
  11. ^ "Biography". Congressman Elijah Cummings. December 11, 2012. Archived from the original on December 7, 2016. Retrieved December 4, 2016.
  12. ^ Press, Associated (December 19, 2017). "Rep. Elijah Cummings to give commencement address". Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Archived from the original on December 24, 2017. Retrieved December 23, 2017.
  13. ^ "Pioneering Md. Delegate, Educator Lena Lee, 100". The Washington Post. August 28, 2006. Archived from the original on December 11, 2017. Retrieved December 11, 2017.
  14. ^ "Post office branch renamed in tribute to pioneering delegate". The Washington Examiner. June 3, 2006. Archived from the original on December 12, 2017. Retrieved December 12, 2017.
  15. ^ "Rep. Cummings to speak at Hood College". January 29, 2014. Archived from the original on July 28, 2019. Retrieved February 27, 2019.
  16. ^ Killough, Ashley (July 29, 2019). "Elijah Cummings has served for decades the city Trump attacked". CNN. Archived from the original on August 4, 2019. Retrieved October 17, 2019.
  17. ^ "Board of Trustees - The Maryland Zoo in Baltimore". marylandzoo.org. Archived from the original on March 25, 2016. Retrieved July 11, 2016.
  18. ^ Cummings, Congressman Elijah. "The Thing I Love About Baltimore | Afro". Archived from the original on August 1, 2019. Retrieved October 17, 2019.
  19. ^ a b Brian Beutler (December 16, 2010). "Pelosi Power Play Doomed Towns On Oversight Committee | TPMDC". Tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com. Archived from the original on March 19, 2012. Retrieved July 15, 2012.
  20. ^ "Ed Towns Steps Down; Sources Blame White House". Daily News. Archived from the original on December 16, 2010.
  21. ^ Pierce, Charles P. (February 28, 2019). "The Cohen Hearing Was the Start of a Reconstruction of the American Republic". Esquire. Archived from the original on February 28, 2019. Retrieved February 28, 2019.
  22. ^ Zurawik, David (February 27, 2019). "Maryland Congressman Cummings redeems Cohen hearing with passionate, poetic closing remarks". Capital Gazette. Archived from the original on February 28, 2019. Retrieved February 28, 2019.
  23. ^ Stableford, Dylan. "Cohen brought to tears by Rep. Cummings at end of House hearing". Yahoo Finance. Archived from the original on February 28, 2019. Retrieved February 28, 2019.
  24. ^ Baynes, Chris (October 17, 2019). "Elijah Cummings death: Senior Democrat at centre of Trump impeachment probe dies, aged 68". The Independent.
  25. ^ Chiacu, Doina; Heavey, Susan (October 17, 2019). Lambert, Lisa (ed.). "Maloney to be acting House oversight chair after Cummings death". Reuters. Retrieved October 17, 2019.
  26. ^ "Membership". Congressional Arts Caucus. Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved March 13, 2018.
  27. ^ "Members". Afterschool Alliance. Archived from the original on April 18, 2018. Retrieved March 23, 2018.
  28. ^ "Caucus Members". Congressional Progressive Caucus. Archived from the original on December 26, 2017. Retrieved January 30, 2018.
  29. ^ "Membership". Congressional Black Caucus. Archived from the original on June 12, 2018. Retrieved March 7, 2018.
  30. ^ "Clemens pressed by Congress, denies accusations by Pettitte, McNamee". Star News Online. Archived from the original on July 29, 2019. Retrieved July 29, 2019.
  31. ^ National Archives Welcomes Presidential and Federal Records Act Amendments of 2014 Archived October 7, 2015, at the Wayback Machine (press release), National Archives and Records Administration (December 1, 2014).
  32. ^ Charles S. Clark, Obama Signs Modernized Federal Records Act Archived October 23, 2015, at the Wayback Machine, Government Executive (December 1, 2014).
  33. ^ "H.R. 4193 - Summary". United States Congress. Archived from the original on July 15, 2014. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  34. ^ "Oversight Committee Passes Bipartisan Bills to Improve Federal Worker Savings, Whistleblower Protections". House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform. March 12, 2014. Archived from the original on July 15, 2014. Retrieved July 14, 2014.
  35. ^ "CBO - H.R. 4197". Congressional Budget Office. Archived from the original on July 14, 2014. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  36. ^ a b "Oversight Committee Passes Bipartisan Bills to Improve Federal Worker Savings, Whistleblower Protections". House Committee on Oversight & Government Reform. March 12, 2014. Archived from the original on July 15, 2014. Retrieved July 15, 2014.
  37. ^ Dan Spinelli, Cummings declares 'Black Lives Matter' in convention speech Archived August 3, 2018, at the Wayback Machine, Politico (July 25, 2016).
  38. ^ "Representative Elijah Cummings Delivers Remarks at the Democratic National Convention". C-SPAN.org. Archived from the original on November 5, 2018. Retrieved August 3, 2018.
  39. ^ Matthews, Robert Guy (January 6, 1996). "7th Congressional District candidates". The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on February 28, 2019. Retrieved February 27, 2019.
  40. ^ a b c "Elijah Cummings elections". tribpub.com. Archived from the original on October 7, 2019. Retrieved October 17, 2019.
  41. ^ "Candidate Details". Archived from the original on November 5, 2014. Retrieved December 4, 2014.
  42. ^ "Elections By Year". Maryland State Board of Elections. Archived from the original on October 27, 2014. Retrieved November 25, 2014.
  43. ^ a b Carlson, Michael (October 17, 2019). "Elijah Cummings obituary". The Guardian.
  44. ^ a b Rivera, Zayda (October 17, 2019). "Elijah Cummings' Family: The Congressman's Wife, Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, And His Children". BET. Retrieved October 19, 2019.
  45. ^ Wiggins, Ovetta (December 1, 2018). "Maryland Democrats elect Maya Rockeymoore Cummings as state party chair". The Washington Post. Archived from the original on January 11, 2019. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
  46. ^ "Rep. Elijah E. Cummings (D-Md.)". Roll Call. Archived from the original on August 23, 2014. Retrieved July 8, 2014.
  47. ^ "Sailor gunned down on sentry duty, Navy says". CNN. July 3, 2009. Archived from the original on March 31, 2012. Retrieved June 15, 2011.
  48. ^ Fritze, John (July 20, 2017). "Cummings plans to return to work during August recess". The Baltimore Sun. Archived from the original on August 30, 2017. Retrieved August 29, 2017.
  49. ^ a b Barker, Jeff. "Rep. Elijah Cummings, Baltimore civil rights advocate and leader in Trump impeachment inquiry, dies". baltimoresun.com. Retrieved October 17, 2019.
  50. ^ a b Barker, Jeff; Pitts, Jonathan M. (October 19, 2019). "Rep. Elijah Cummings will lie in state in U.S. Capitol's Statuary Hall". Baltimore Sun. p. 9. Retrieved October 19, 2019.
  51. ^ Stout, David; Stolberg, Sheryl Gay (October 17, 2019). "Elijah E. Cummings, Powerful Democrat Who Investigated Trump, Dies at 68". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Archived from the original on October 17, 2019. Retrieved October 17, 2019.
  52. ^ "Rep. Elijah Cummings Dies At 68: Reports". HuffPost. October 17, 2019. Retrieved October 17, 2019.

External linksEdit