Ulysses Cur­rie, who rep­re­sented Prince Ge­orge’s in Se­nate, re­signs

Baltimore Sun - - NEWS - By Michael Dresser mdresser@balt­sun.com twit­ter.com/michaelt­dresser

Ulysses Cur­rie, the share­crop­per’s son who rose to the top bud­get po­si­tion in the Mary­land Se­nate, re­signed Fri­day af­ter rep­re­sent­ing Prince Ge­orge’s County in the Gen­eral Assem­bly for nearly 30 years.

In a let­ter to Se­nate Pres­i­dent Thomas V. Mike Miller, Cur­rie said his health would no longer per­mit him to carry out his du­ties “with the strength and en­ergy you all de­serve.” Aformer teacher and prin­ci­pal, he had held his Se­nate seat since 1995. Be­fore that, he had served as a mem­ber of the House of Del­e­gates since 1987.

Cur­rie, 79, wrote in his res­ig­na­tion let­ter that he was proud to have fought for ed­u­ca­tion fund­ing while in An­napo­lis.

“Even in the worst of eco­nomic times ... we took the tough ac­tion needed to keep our ed­u­ca­tion prom­ises,” he wrote.

Cur­rie, a Demo­crat, reached the peak of his in­flu­ence in An­napo­lis in 2003, when he be­came chair­man of the pow­er­ful Se­nate Bud­get and Tax­a­tion Com­mit­tee.

He held that po­si­tion un­til 2010, when he was in­dicted on fed­eral cor­rup­tion charges. Pros­e­cu­tors con­tended that he used his state of­fice to ad­vance the in­ter­ests of Shop­pers Food Ware­house at a time when he was on the com­pany pay­roll as a con­sul­tant. Cur­rie was ac­quit­ted of bribery, ex­tor­tion and con­spir­acy in 2011, but part of his de­fense was that his ac­tions on be­half of a gro­cery com­pany should be con­sid­ered vi­o­la­tions of ethics rules rather than a crime.

The Se­nate cen­sured him dur­ing the fol­low­ing ses­sion, and Miller stripped him of his lead­er­ship po­si­tions.

Cur­rie voted in fa­vor of his own cen­sure and apol­o­gized to the Se­nate.

“I’m a per­son with flaws, and I do have weak­nesses,” he told his col­leagues. “I have be­come a stronger per­son and hope­fully a bet­ter per­son.” Ulysses Cur­rie

Cur­rie was per­mit­ted to re­main on the bud­get com­mit­tee and twice won re­elec­tion af­ter be­ing charged, but never re­gained his for­mer in­flu­ence. In re­cent years he rarely spoke on the Se­nate floor.

Miller, a Calvert County Demo­crat, is­sued a state­ment say­ing he was “greatly sad­dened” to lose a “tremen­dous col­league.”

“He served his coun­try in the Army and is a true pa­triot and a gen­tle­man who brought much-needed thought­ful­ness and ci­vil­ity to the po­lit­i­cal world in An­napo­lis,” Miller said.

De­spite his di­min­ished in­flu­ence in the Se­nate, Cur­rie re­mained pop­u­lar in his home district. In the 2014 Demo­cratic pri­mary, he turned back a strong chal­lenger by win­ning 59 per­cent of the vote.

Cur­rie’s suc­ces­sor will be cho­sen by the lo­cal Demo­cratic State Cen­tral Com­mit­tee. Un­der the state con­sti­tu­tion, the gover­nor must ap­point the per­son se­lected by the party of the leg­is­la­tor last elected to the seat.

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