1951 – 2019
Chairman, Committee on Oversight and Reform, U.S. House of Representatives
We pause to pay tribute to a giant of a man, one who brought civility, goodness, and kindness to the U.S. House of Representatives and to American politics. A humble man, who said recently about the controversies swirling around him, “God has called me to this moment, I did not ask for it.” But he met the moment. He was a force of nature in Congress.
Elijah Cummings was a powerful voice at home in West Baltimore, and never stopped working on behalf of its citizens. He was a peacemaker after riots tore apart the city he loved. When the President criticized Baltimore in terms we will not repeat here, Rep. Cummings simply ignored him.
Elijah Cummings spent 14 years in the Maryland General Assembly before winning a special election to Congress in 1996. In Washington, he formed close alliances across party lines; one of his closest friends in Congress was Rep, Mark Meadows (R-NC), founder of the conservative Freedom Caucus.
Earlier this year, Rep. Cummings chaired a hearing at which the President’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, testified about the President’s racist behavior and payments to women to buy their silence. Even in such a fraught situation, Rep. Cummings brought calm and civility to the process.
Elijah Cummings’ legacy will be one of respect and kindness for all people–but also one of a fighter unwilling to stay silent where injustice reigns. At a Baltimore park opening this year, he urged residents to embrace hope for their city. “It (the park) gives people light — it brings light into their lives. I have so much to do,” Rep. Cummings said. For too short a time, he brought light to millions.