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Former Maryland House Speaker Has Died

June 14th, 2019 by WCBC Radio

WBAL reports former Maryland Speaker of the House Clay Mitchell has died.  In a Facebook post, his family announced that Mitchell died Thursday. He was 83. R. Clayton Mitchell, a Democrat, was first elected to the House of Delegates representing the Upper Eastern Shore in 1970. He became chairman of the Eastern Shore Delegation in 1974 and later became chairman of the House Appropriations Committee in 1983. In 1987, after his predecessor Ben Cardin was elected to Congress, Mitchell was elected speaker of the House of Delegates.  He served in that post until retiring in 1992.  Cumberland's Casper R Taylor succeeded Mitchell as speaker. Mitchell’s tenure as speaker took place during the first six years of William Donald Schaefer’s tenure as governor. 

A 1989 Washington Post profile described Mitchell as a person who clashed with Schaefer on budget issues, enforcing the General Assembly’s spending limits that led to cuts in Schaefer’s budget. 

Mitchell also stressed in the article that he urged members of the Democratic-controlled House not to give in to Schaefer’s demands.

In the article, Mitchell described his leadership style as low-key.

In a statement this morning, Republican Gov. Larry Hogan praised Mitchell as – “an icon on the Eastern Shore.”  Last year, Hogan rededicated the U.S. Route 50 Bridge over the Kent Narrows to honor Mitchell.

Hogan has ordered all Maryland flags to be flown at half-staff until Mitchell is buried next week

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