The Prince George’s County Democratic Central Committee unanimously nominated Ashanti Martinez to fill District 22’s vacant Maryland House of Delegates seat at a public hearing Thursday.
Now, Maryland Gov. Wes Moore will have 15 days to approve the nomination.
Martinez, a 26-year-old who lives in New Carrollton, grew up in Prince George’s County and began his career working for CASA de Maryland, a Latino and immigrant advocacy group, and currently serves as chief of staff for Prince George’s County council member Krystal Oriadha. During the hearing, Martinez told committee members these experiences made him the right fit for the role.
“Prince George’s County needs a leader in Annapolis who is willing to think boldly and fight for every member of our community,” he said. “Throughout my career as a nonprofit lobbyist, legislative staffer and community advocate, I’ve had to bring people together to deliver results.”
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The delegate seat, which was previously held by Alonzo Washington, became vacant last month after the PGCDCC appointed Washington to fill the District 22 seat that was vacated by former state Sen. Paul Pinsky after he resigned his position to serve in the Moore administration.
Washington endorsed Martinez and spoke strongly of him during Thursday’s hearing.
“He has worked in our community for such a long time,” Washington said. “I know [Martinez] has the fortitude to make sure that he gets the job done, and he will continue to listen to our community.”
Anne Healey and Nicole Williams, District 22’s other state delegates, were also in full support of Martinez, Washington said.
Oriadha — the first openly LGBTQ+ person to serve on the Prince George’s County Council — also spoke to the committee in favor of Martinez, noting it is a historic moment for an Afro-Latino and openly gay man to represent District 22.
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“For so many young people, seeing him sworn in … and centering their issues will mean so much,” she said. “It will mean that they have a voice and a space in politics.
Martinez lost elections for the House of Delegates seat in both 2018 and 2022. In 2022, he came in fourth for the seat in the Democratic primary by less than 800 votes. The top three candidates advanced to the general election.
Several other candidates previously applied for appointment but withdrew their applications ahead of Tuesday’s filing deadline, including Molly McKee-Seabrook, the government relations associate director at the University of Maryland, and Rushern “Rush” Baker IV, the son of former Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker III. Both did so following Washington’s endorsement of Martinez.