A flower is only as vibrant as the soil it’s grown in, and a rose of the fairest kind has emerged from our own back yard and now blooms bright in Annapolis, Maryland. Delegate Diana M. Fennell, a born and bred native of Emporia has taken her humble beginnings all the way from small-town Virginia to the hallowed halls of the Maryland House of Delegates.
Fennell, who proudly represents District 47-A in Prince George’s County, Maryland. was first elected to the Maryland General Assembly in 2014 and immediately hit the ground running meeting with elected officials and community leaders throughout her District to address their various concerns. With a heart geared toward improving the quality of life for all and especially seniors and the handicapped Delegate Fennell consistently fulfilled promises made along the campaign trail and soon became a welcomed mainstay within the community.
A proud graduate of Greensville County High School Fennell continued her education at the University of Maryland School of Public Policy where she attended the Academy for Excellence in Local Governance as well as an Honorary Degree in Humane Letters.
In 1995 she launched a promising career in politics as a Councilmember for the Town of Colmar Manor and soon elevated to the office of mayor in 2000 where she orchestrated the construction of a state-of-the-art community center, the first of its kind in the town’s history. In 2018 Fennell won re-election as Delegate by an overwhelming margin, a true measure of her dedication and commitment to public service.
With a litany of accomplishments too many to name Fennell’s most profound moment as a lawmaker was the passing of a House Bill sponsored by her affectionately known as ‘The Fight for $15’. This life-changing piece of legislation which became law in 2019 gradually raises the state’s minimum wage to $15hr by 2023 and was received with jubilation by working class citizens statewide. The passage of this bill however was not without more than a few hurdles.
“HB166 met fierce opposition from its inception, causing it to fail on its two previous attempts” Fennell says speaking of the challenges she endured bringing this bill to the House Floor. “Knowing first-hand the struggle families face making ends meet I was determined to pull this Bill across the finish line and see it become law. Our State needed this, our working class needed this, but most importantly, our children needed this.”
Maryland Speaker of the House the Honorable Adrienne Jones whose appointment in 2019 made history making her the state’s first female and first African-American Speaker has closely followed Fennell’s long and prominent career and was beyond impressed with what she saw. Convinced by Fennell’s stellar record, profound impact within her district, and life-long passion for serving others Speaker Jones elevated Fennell to the office of Assistant Speaker Pro Tempore.
A true believer in the power of family, Fennell credits her every success to God and a deep-rooted bond she shares with her beloved mother Martha Hicks, husband Jeffrey Fennell Sr., children DeJanee and Jeffrey Fennell Jr. (both of Calabasas, California), sisters Doreatha Epps (Colmar Manor, Maryland), Isabel Boone and brother-in-law Ronnie (both of Emporia)
“Without the love, support, and prayers of my entire family I can assure you I wouldn’t be here today,” Fennell said.
With Fennell on board District 47-A certainly appears to be in great hands!