State Senator Verna Jones-Rodwell announced Monday she is abandoning her re-election campaign and retiring from office at the end of her term in January.
Jones-Rodwell made the announcement at the University of Maryland BioPark in West Baltimore with supporters in the audience. She didn’t say why she was retiring, but her spokesman, Anthony McCarthy, said later she believes it is time to move on after 16 years in the General Assembly, that she can be a better advocate for her community outside the Senate.
She said she wants to work on national initiatives dealing with Alzheimer’s Disease after she leaves office.
“It’s the fastest growing epidemic in this country and we gotta get our hands around it,” said Jones-Rodwell who sits on the national and Central Maryland boards of the Alzheimer’s Foundation.
Jones-Rodwell, the Senate’s deputy majority whip, serves on the Committee on Budget and Taxation and chairs the Baltimore City Senate Delegation.
Senator Catherine Pugh said Jones-Rodwell represented her district well and was a stronger leader of the delegation.
“She always has worked in collaboration with all of us trying to make sure that we move Baltimore City legislation forward,” said Pugh, represents a southwest Baltimore district. “She has worked across the aisles and I think she is widely respected.”
Jones-Rodwell was first elected to represent a West Baltimore district in the House of Delegates in 1998 and to the Senate four years later.
She was the lead sponsor in 2013 of a plan to pump $1.1 billion into an overhaul of Baltimore’s decrepit school buildings and is credited with organizing a coalition to establish a Health Enterprise Zone in West Baltimore. It increased health care opportunities in four designated zip codes and helped save Bon Secours Hospital, along with more than 700 jobs.
Her retirement leaves her challenger, Baltimore County Del. Shirley Nathan-Pulliam, unopposed in the June primary. The district was redrawn in 2012 to include parts of the county.