From former Delegate and Councilwoman Barbara Osborn Kreamer:
Statement on the passing of Representative Elijah Cummings
There have been so many eloquent statements about Congressman Elijah Cummings on the sad day of his passing. I have been grieving the loss of my friend and former colleague. He was a great man, who held high office, affected public policy, and monitored the federal executive branch from his leadership perch. But he started out in MD’s House of Delegates in 1982 as a newcomer with potential. While the child of sharecroppers, he was a city boy. He was interested to learn about MD’s diversity from the Delegates who personified their districts. He participated in and came to lead caucuses for which he had an affinity, but he didn’t let the associations become blocs. He reached out to colleagues of all areas and worked to understand their issues.
Elijah was always an inspiring speaker. With the sensibility of a novelist he selected images from his life to lift up his listeners.
He told about his hardworking father bringing home a Baby Ruth to his beloved wife Ruth at the end of a work week. He carried MD’s harsh history, but he looked to brighter days ahead. He worked for paths of equal opportunity, head starts, internships and jobs that would let the children and young people he represented have a better, freer life. He recalled his father taking his family to the airport, not to board a plane but to promise, “In your life, you will fly.”
Fourteen years he served in the House of Delegates and 23 in the U.S. House of Representatives. He was no flash in the pan. But challenged by his grandmother not to be too patient and not to wait too long, he made it to greatness. He was the courageous voice from the chairman’s seat, the right person for our time of crisis. His example challenges the House and Senate not to accept wrongdoing and not to dawdle in their duty.
Rest in peace, my friend.