Mary Ann Lisanti is a white legislator from Harford County, Maryland who is accused of using the term “n—–” district to refer to a majority-black area of the state.
Lisanti said she couldn’t remember completely what happened, but she has apologized to the Legislative Black Caucus in her state all the same, The Washington Post reported.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Mary Ann Lisanti Is Accused of Uttering the Slur in a Cigar Bar
The accusation that Lisanti used the racial slur to refer to a district in Prince George’s County emerged publicly after she made the apology.
According to the Post article, the delegate, who is a Democrat, was accused of making the comment at an “after-hours gathering at an Annapolis cigar bar” to a white colleague who was discussing knocking on doors for a campaign in that district. She’s accused of saying he was knocking on doors in a “n—– district,” The Post reported.
“She apologized several times,” Del. Darryl Barnes (D-Prince Georges) said to the Post. “She recognizes how she has hurt so many within the caucus, and she hoped to repent from this. She said that she doesn’t remember fully what happened, but she recognizes what happened.”
2. Lisanti Is Accused of Saying Everyone Has Used the Racial Slur
Once confronted, Lisanti is accused of saying that everyone has used the racial slur.
When asked about it, she allegedly said, “I’m sure I have [used it] . . . I’m sure everyone has used it. I’ve used the f-word. I used the Lord’s name in vain.”
People are leaving negative comments on her Facebook page. “How dare you say everyone has used the N word. I sure never have,” wrote one woman. “Um the only thing i want to hear from you is a resignation. Shame on you. You need to respond to the black caucus,” wrote another.
Some lawmakers aren’t satisfied with the comments or apologies. House Speaker Michael E. Busch called on Mary Ann Lisanti to “face the consequences of her behavior,” WJLA-TV reports.
3. On Social Media & as a Delegate, Lisanti Champions Democratic Causes
On Twitter, she refers to herself as “Delegate 34a Maryland House of Delegates, former Harford County Councilwoman.” According to her website, Mary Ann Lisanti, of Harford County, Maryland, was elected as the Council Member for District F “which includes Havre de Grace, Abingdon, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Perryman and Belcamp, in 2006, and re-elected in 2010.”
Her biography explains her viewpoints: “Councilwoman Lisanti is a strong advocate for economic development, education, public health, transportation, national defense at Aberdeen Proving Ground, and the environment.” You can read a detailed round-up of where she stands on the issues here.
“As a member of the Harford County Council, Councilwoman Lisanti serves on the Council’s Personnel Committee, Citizens Nursing Home Board, Mental Health & Addictions Advisory Board, she Chaired the Bi-partisan Commission on School Construction, and Vice-Chair of the Obesity Task Force,” her website says.
On social media, she writes about public issues. She has championed a higher minimum wage and is for cracking down on payday loans, and she has offered support for Planned Parenthood. For example, a recent post read, “Friday night and the hearing for $15.00 min wage continues. Four more pages of testimony to go. Regular people from every corner of the state have been here to give their opinion. Delegates Queen and Roger’s are with me and we will stay until the last person speaks!”
Another post read, “Celebrating the 90th birthday of Planned Parenthood in Balitmore (sic). It’s about Heath (sic) not birth control.”
She has also bashed President Trump on Twitter.
She retweeted a laudatory post about Martin Luther King Jr. that read, “MLK was assassinated 50 yrs ago, but lives on in we who fight for justice & to end #poverty. Loved reading about how he affected today’s young folks in #Baltimore ❤️❤️❤️ ‘Passing policy can be unsexy..but that is where you will see true change.’ #PoorPeoplesCampaign #MLK50.”
4. Lisanti Is the Fourth Generation of Her Family to Live in Maryland’s Harford County
Mary Ann Lisanti has long roots in the area.
“Mary Ann was born in October of 1967 and is a fourth-generation Harford Countian. She resides in her childhood home outside of Havre de Grace,” her bio says.
“Mary Ann graduated from Havre de Grace High School in 1985 and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from the College of Notre Dame of Maryland in 1989. In 1996 she earned a Master’s degree from Central Michigan University in Public Administration.”
Her current term ends in 2023.
5. Lisanti Was Previously a Staff Assistant to a County Executive & Was a City Manager
Before she was a delegate, Mary Ann Lisanti held other positions in government.
Her professional career “began by working for several high profile state and local campaigns and later for the Maryland General Assembly,” her bio reads.
“She was a staff assistant to Harford County Executive Eileen Rehrmann and later to the Director of Planning and Zoning. In 1997 Mary Ann was appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by the City Council to the position of Havre de Grace City Manager and served in that position until 2002.”
Continued the bio: “Mary Ann was elected Vice President in 2000 and President in 2001 of the Maryland Association of City and County Managers. In 2002, Ms. Lisanti became the Executive Director of the Lower Susquehanna Heritage Greenway where she remains committed to enhancing public recreational opportunities and the preservation of our region’s history, culture and natural environment.”
You can track her positions on bills here.