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Longest-Serving Woman in Maryland’s legislature, Sheila Hixson-Dies at the Age of 89


On Sunday, Sheila Hixson, 89, passed away. She was the first woman to serve as chair of the House Ways and Means Committee in the Maryland General Assembly and the longest-serving woman legislator when she retired three years ago.

Sheila Hixon- A political and governmental innovator in Maryland

 Former DNC staffer “got involved locally and paved the way for a generation of women running in Maryland elections at every level, always working pragmatically for progressive change,” said representatives from Montgomery County on Monday. They included U.S. Rep. Jamie Raskin, Maryland Sen. Will Smith, delegates David Moon, Jheanelle Wilkins, and Lorig Charkoudian.

Raskin’s office declined to comment on the circumstances surrounding Hixson’s passing. Hixson served in the Maryland General Assembly for 43 of those 50 years, making him one of the state’s longest-serving politicians. She first worked in Michigan for three years in the 1960s as a campaign manager and aide for U.S. Representative William D. Ford.

Hixson served as a delegate for Maryland’s Montgomery County from 1976 until his retirement this year. She was the first woman to be appointed as chair of the Ways and Means Committee in 1993 after serving on the now-defunct Environmental Matters Committee. Hixson retired in 2018. However, she stayed on the committee after graduating as chair in 2017.

Hixson entered this world in 1933 in L’Anse, Michigan. She graduated from Northern State Teachers College in Marquette, Michigan, with a degree in social work. Four kids were born under her care. Democrat Brooke Lierman, who represents South Baltimore and is running for comptroller in Maryland, has praised Hixson as a “fascinating person and a great leader.” From 2015 until her retirement in 2018, Lierman worked for Hixson.

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