MELVIN A. STEINBERG
Democrat, District 11.
Born in Baltimore, October 4, 1933. Attended Baltimore public schools; University of Baltimore, A.A., 1952; University of Baltimore Law School, J.D., 1955. Admitted to the Maryland Bar, 1955. Honorary degrees from Goucher College, Villa Julie College, St. Mary's College of Maryland.
Member of Senate, 1967-87. Vice-Chair, Judicial Proceedings Committee, 1975-78. Chair, Finance Committee, 1979-82. President of the Senate, 1983-87. Co-Chair, Legislative Policy Committee. Chair, Rules Committee; Joint Committee on Ethics; Committee on Narcotics, Subcommittee on Family Law; Joint Committee on Racing. Vice-Chair, Commission to Revise the Annotated Code. Member, Executive Committee, Southern Legislative Conference; Pensions Committee, National Conference of State Legislatures; National Society of State Legislators; Blue ribbon Task Force on Health-Care Cost Containment.
Private Career and Other Public Service:
Served on active duty with the U.S. Navy, 1955-57. Private law practice; partner, Levin and Gann, P.A. Lt. Governor of Maryland, 1987-1995. Counsel to Rifkin, Livingston, Levitan & Silver, LLC. President and CEO of American Oriental Group, Inc., an international trading company. Member, State House Trust; State Commission on the Capital City; Maryland Historical Trust; Maryland Environmental Trust. Board of Advisors, Maryland Vietnam Veterans Leadership Program; Maryland Veterans Home Commission. Chair, Governor's Commission on Alcohol and Drug Abuse; Maryland Executive Helicopter Advisory Committee; Peabody Institute Oversight Committee. Member, Governor's Employment and Training Council; Interstate Banking Committee; Western Maryland Enterprise Study Commission; Commission on Excellence in Higher Education; Eagle Square and Compass Club of Maryland; Yedz Grotto; B'nai B'rith; Greenspring Valley Synagogue; American Lodge No. 25, A.F. & A.M. Board of Directors, Beth El Congregation; Jewish Museum of Maryland. Governing Board, Baltimore Symphony. First Citizen Award, 1998.
Personal Comments and Observations:
"Although there were a number of controversial issues (e.g.., death penalty, abortion, critical area legislation, etc.), the most controversial was pension reform. The political pressure applied by special interest groups was tremendous. However, the Senate came through and we passed pension reform legislation that made the Pension Plan financially sound.
"...the most memorable moment was related to a non-legislative event. During my term as President of the Senate, a blizzard hit Annapolis on a Friday. Because many Senators had a long distance to travel, I opened the Session at 11:00 and, about a half hour later, recessed until Monday.
"A few Senators and I went to the Maryland Inn for lunch and to wait for the snow to stop before traveling home. The Maryland Inn lost its electricity, so we proceeded to Fran O'Brien's where we had lunch and saw many friends. At six o'clock it was still snowing, so, still seated at our same table since noon, we ordered dinner. It finally stopped snowing around 8:00 p.m. and we all left to go home.
"Without a doubt, the most significant contribution to the State of Maryland was my involvement in the 'savings and loan crisis.' The entire State's financial structure was in jeopardy. As President of the Senate, I was supported by the membership in my opposition to the settlement accepted by the Governor and the House of Delegates. The Senate successfully negotiated a more beneficial settlement for the State and created a process that resolved the problem within a few years.
"In closing, service in the Maryland Senate was for me a very satisfying and rewarding experience. Perhaps most gratifying was to have had the opportunity to meet people from all over the State, develop lasting friendships, and be a part of helping to make Maryland a better place to live, work and do business."
Compiled March 16, 2000 from the biographical files of the Maryland Manual, ©Maryland State Archives and from materials submitted by Senator Steinberg dated January 31, 2000.