It is time to turn our attention to what we intend to be an annual event of our newly formed Speaker's Society: the presentation of the first Annual Thomas Kennedy Award.
Thomas Kennedy was a delegate from Western Maryland who, as a matter of principle, took a stand on the need to broaden the base of public participation in government. Initially it may have cost him his seat in the House, but ultimately his efforts persuaded a majority of his colleagues to pass a constitutional amendment that permitted Maryland's growing population of Jews to hold public office. The lesson he taught us is two fold:
that democracy works, but only if you work at it,
and that to be an effective member of this House requires patience, persistence, and a lot of hard labor.
The Thomas Kennedy Award is a medallion cast in bronze and takes its design from the mace of the Maryland House of Delegates.
The mace is the symbol of the independence and authority of the House. It is used to bring order to the House and to summon witnesses before it.
The mace first took on special meaning in the context of the history of a legislative body when it was employed by the House of Commons as a symbol of its resistance to King Charles the First.
The House of Commons mace apparently was an ebony rod surmounted by a silver orb bearing the King's coat of arms and other marks of Royal authority.
The first mace of the House of Delegates (then known as the Lower House of Assembly) was presented to it by Governor Francis Nicholson in 1698. Although it is not known for certain, the present mace may well be the original mace.
The House of Delegates Mace is capped by silver, upon which is engraved the 1794 Great Seal of Maryland, designed by Charles Willson Peale, a native Marylander and one of the foremost artists of his day.
Our mace is 24 1/2 inches long and 1 3/4 inches in diameter and is made of ebony, the traditional wood from which, on Thomas Jefferson's recommendation, the original mace of the U. S. House of Representatives was formed.
Today our mace, probably the oldest of its kind still in existence and in use, is placed in a wooden holder on the lower rostrum of the House of Delegates chamber (better known as the well) whenever the House is in Session.
The medallion we award tonight carries an engraving of the mace, backed by the Maryland Flag, on one side, and the 1794 Great Seal of Maryland on the other.
Surrounding the Mace and Flag is the simple inscription, "Speaker's Medallion, Maryland House of Delegates."
On the other side, the symbols of Maryland's economy of the 1790s is encompassed by the then official state motto: "Industry the means and Plenty the Result."
We intend to award the medallion annually to a former member of the House in recognition of an outstanding career of public service like that of our colleague of one hundred and seventy-eight years ago, Thomas Kennedy of Hagerstown.
Tonight, in the 300th year of our presence in the capital city and in the 361st year of our existence as a legislative body, we pay tribute to a man who is not only a master of the political world, but also one who puts the lie to arguments for term limits, a man who first entered politics as a member of our ranks in 1938.
[ask Louis to come to the podium]
In his over fifty years of public service, Louis Goldstein has faithfully executed offices of public trust in the exemplary tradition of Thomas Kennedy. Louis's first election was in 1938 as Delegate from Calvert County, an election in which, to use his own words:
The voters rejected two constitutional amendments, one to keep an existing state income tax, the other to create a state lottery. The General Assembly enacted a state income tax again in 1939, this time for keeps, and the voters themselves changed their minds about the lottery in 1972.
But the issue that drew more votes than any other on the ballot was a referendum question affirming a law requiring a 48 hour waiting period between the application for a marriage license and the ceremony.
The old axiom proves true again. The more things change [the more they remain the same].
Louis left our House for the Senate 1946, serving four years as majority floor leader and four years as president. In 1958, he was elected comptroller and has served in that post ever since. Indeed, he has served in statewide elected office longer than any other individual in Maryland history, infusing that distinguished service with remarkable energy and considerable accomplishment, not the least of which is the national recognition he has received for his innovative leadership in fiscal matters. We know Louis as a tireless campaigner, a warm friend, a loyal colleague, a devotee of our history who has no peer. Today it is my pleasure and privilege to add to his many honors one which captures his spirit best, recognition as a dedicated and effective participant in the process of government, a true believer in the traditions of the House so well exemplified by Thomas Kennedy.
Louis, permit me to read the accompanying certificate:
to The Honorable Louis L. Goldstein in recognition of his distinguished service to the People and to the House of Delegates of the State of Maryland. This Award and accompanying Medallion incorporate the Mace of the House of Delegates, the symbol of its independence and its authority as the House strives to reflect the will of the people and to provide for the good of the State. Louis L. Goldstein, in a long and memorable public career, which began in the House of Delegates and continues to this day, has pursued those two goals with an unexcelled passion and inspiring results. He is a noble successor to Thomas Kennedy (1776-1832), a Delegate of unshakeable conviction and determined public service in whose memory this award is given.
and present you with the first Thomas Kennedy Award Medallion.