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Published 10/17/2019 | Reading Time 1 min 46 sec
By Nehemiah D. Frank
U.S. Congressional leader, Rep. (D-Md.) Elijah E. Cummings of Maryland passed away in the early morning hours (2:45 am) on October 17, 2019, at John Hopkins University from complications of longstanding health issues. Cummings was 68-years-old.
The African American leader was a member of the Phi Beta Kappa Society, a graduate of Howard University and earned his J.D. from the University of Maryland.
He began his public service career in the Maryland House of Delegates, where he served for 14 years, becoming the first African American in Maryland history of being named Speaker Pro Tem. Since 1996, Congressman Cummings has proudly represented Maryland’s 7th Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives.
While working on The Hill, the Congressman served on the Task Force on Health Care Reform and was a Co-founder and Chairman of the Congressional Caucus on Drug Policy. He also served as a Congressional Progressive Caucus member and Chaired the Congressional Black Caucus for the 108th United States Congress.
In March 2013, Representative Cummings introduced, the President and Federal Records Act Amendments of 2014, a legislative act that amends federal law regarding the preservation, storage, and management of federal records — specifically towards ensuring, prior to the release of records, the Archivist of the United States that gives appropriate notice to both the current President of the United States and the President who was in office at the time the documentation was made — and was signed into law by President Barack Obama on November 26, 2014. Cummings also introduced and supported other legislation that was also signed into law.
At the 2016 Democratic National Convention, Cummings shared his support of the Black Lives Matter movement in a unifying declaration, saying “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.”
Cummings dignifying-ly defended his Baltimore constituents amid attacks from President Donald J. Trump when the current U.S. President referred to Cummings’ community as “rat and rodent-infested”, saying “Mr. President, I go home to my district daily,” and “Each morning, I wake up, and I go and fight for my neighbors.”
Cummings played a vital role in the impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump — that continues in wake of Cummings’ passing.
In an announcement in late September of 2019, Cummings announced that his doctors expected him to fully recover and return to Washington after surgery and when the House came back into session. Cummings was in constant communication with his staff and congressional colleagues before he unexpectedly passed.
Representative Cummings dedicated his life of service to uplifting and empowering the people he represented.