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MD Congressman Elijah Cummings, dead at 68

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Maryland Rep. Elijah Cummings

Congressman Elijah Cummings has passed away.  The Maryland Democrat was 68 years old.  A tweet from his office says he died this morning at approximately 2:45 Eastern time at Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore.  The congressman had been suffering from "longstanding health challenges."

Cummings served as Chairman of the House Oversight Committee, one of the committees overseeing the current impeachment inquiry of President Trump.  A Baltimore native, Cummings served in the House of Representatives representing Maryland's Seventh District since 1996.  Before that, Cummings served more than a decade in the Maryland House of Delegates, where he was the first black person to be named Speaker Pro Tem.

Cummings attended Howard University and later went on to graduate from the University of Maryland School of Law.  He practiced law for nearly two decades before his election to the House.  He also held no less than a dozen honorary doctoral degrees from universities around the nation.  He leaves behind a wife, Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, and three children.

Congressman Cummings was very much  a part of the Morgan State University family, serving on the board of regents and delivered the 2019 Spring Commencement address. 

The son of a former South Carolina sharecropper, Cummings often spoke of running home from church on Sundays so he could listen to the speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the radio.  He would talk of being among the first African American children to integrate Baltimore's Riverside Park swimming pool in the summer of 1962.  The 12-term congressman held the House seat filled by Parren Mitchell, Maryland's first African American congressman, and Kwesi Mfume, who left Washington to head the NAACP.  Like them, Cummings chaired the Congressional Black Caucus.

Cummings represented for Maryland's 7th congressional districtsince 1996. The district includes just over half of Baltimore City, most of the majority-black precincts of Baltimore County, as well as most of Howard County. He previously served in the Maryland House of Delegates. He was a member of the Democratic Party and chair of the Committee on Oversight and Reform.         

Cummings served as chairman of the House Oversight Committee, one of the committees overseeing the current impeachment inquiry of President Donald Trump.   Over the summer, Cummings found himself on the other side of vitriolic outbursts from Trump.

The President had labeled Cummings' Baltimore district a rat-infested mess where no human would want to live and questioned why the congressman wasn't doing more to find out what happens to the billions of dollars of financial aid going to his city. 

Cummings responded the president’s insults by inviting him to come to Baltimore. “Come to Baltimore, don’t just criticize us,” said Cummings. “Come to Baltimore—and I promise you, you will be welcomed. I promise you we will give you every bit of hospitality we’ve got. Because every time you come to Baltimore, that means that somebody in this neighborhood is working—it gives them hope.”                                             

Over the summer, Cummings found himself on the other side of vitriolic outbursts from Trump. The President had labeled Cummings' Baltimore district a rat-infested mess where no human would want to live and questioned why the congressman wasn't doing more to find out what happens to the billions of dollars of financial aid going to his city. 

Cummings responded the president’s insults by inviting him to come to Baltimore. “Come to Baltimore, don’t just criticize us,” said Cummings. “Come to Baltimore—and I promise you, you will be welcomed. I promise you we will give you every bit of hospitality we’ve got. Because every time you come to Baltimore, that means that somebody in this neighborhood is working—it gives them hope.”

Cummings served on numerous Maryland boards and commissions including the Board of Visitors to the United States Naval Academy and the Elijah Cummings Youth Program in Israel. He was an honorary member of the Baltimore Zoo Board of Trustees.

In addition to his many speaking engagements, he wrote a biweekly column for the Baltimore Afro-American newspaper. He lived in the Madison Park community in Baltimore and was an active member of the New Psalmist Baptist Church.

He was married to Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, who was elected chairwoman of the Maryland Democratic Party in December 2018.

In June 2011, his nephew Christopher Cummings, son of his brother James, was murdered at his off-campus house near Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, where he was a student. Cummings underwent surgery to repair his aortic valve in May 2017 and was absent from Capitol Hill for two months. In July 2017, he developed a surgery-related infection but returned to work. On Wednesday, Cummings died at Johns Hopkins Hospitals at the age of 68, from complications concerning his longstanding health challenges.

Cummings underwent surgery to repair his aortic valve in May 2017 and was absent from Capitol Hill for two months. In July 2017, he developed a surgery-related infection but returned to work. On October 17, 2019, Cummings died at Johns Hopkins Hospital, from complications concerning his longstanding health challenges.