Congressman Elijah Cummings - Biography
Congressman Elijah Cummings of Maryland is one of the most progressive leaders of the United States Congress. In 2007, he founded the Maryland grass roots campaign that successfully worked for Barack Obama’s election as President of the United States.
Believing that our children are the living messages that we send to the future, Congressman Cummings is committed to ensuring that all Americans - now and into the future - will have access to high quality and affordable healthcare, a world-class education, good jobs that pay a living wage, clean water and clean air, and a strong economy that works for this nation’s working families.
Born in Baltimore in 1951, Elijah Cummings spent his formative years in South and West Baltimore before embarking upon an academic career that included graduating with honors from Baltimore City College High School (1969) and Howard University (1973). At Howard, he served as Sophomore Class President, Student Government Treasurer and Student Government President; and he was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa academic honor society.
After college, Elijah Cummings fulfilled his life-long dream by graduating from the University of Maryland School of Law. He was admitted to the Maryland State Bar in 1976 and successfully practiced law for 20 years before entering the Congress.
Before his first election to the Congress, Elijah Cummings served in the Maryland House of Delegates for 14 years, where he served as Chairman of the Maryland Legislative Black Caucus and was the first African American in Maryland history to be named Speaker Pro Tem, the second highest position in the House of Delegates.
First sworn in as a Member of the United States House of Representatives in April 1996, Congressman Cummings now has represented Maryland’s 7th Congressional District for eight terms.
Congressman Cummings currently serves as the Ranking (leading Democratic) Member of the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, the primary investigative committee in the House of Representatives.
There, he works to hold the federal government to a high standard of excellence, efficiency and effectiveness - and to do so in a balanced and fair manner.
Congressman Cummings is also a senior member of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, serving on both the Subcommittee on Coast Guard and Maritime Transport and the Subcommittee on Highways and Transit.
Congressman Cummings has consistently been an advocate for the rights of those facing foreclosure and holds regular Foreclosure Prevention Seminars for people who are at risk of being foreclosed upon. The homeowners are matched with lenders to work out loan modifications on site to prevent foreclosure.
During his service in the Congress, Congressman Cummings has been a leading advocate of federal initiatives to:
- stimulate our economy,
- create and protect good, well-paying jobs,
- promote sound and affordable health care for all Americans,
- better protect workers’ rights,
- advance and expand veterans’ rights,
- mitigate climate change and global warming,
- preserve our natural heritage – including the restoration of our Chesapeake Bay,
- ensure that all children have access to a high quality public education,
- increase federal support for college education, and
- expand federal contracting opportunities for small businesses.
Though his Washington responsibilities have expanded during his 14-year tenure, Congressman Cummings continues to serve on numerous boards and commissions in our community.
He is spearheading an effort to strengthen the Maritime curriculum at the Maritime Academy in Baltimore, is the Chairman of the Maritime for Primary and Secondary Education Coalition (MPSEC). He also serves on the U.S. Naval Academy Board of Visitors, the Morgan State University Board of Regents, the Baltimore Aquarium Board of Trustees, and the Baltimore Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America Board of Directors. He is an honorary Board member of the SEED School of Maryland, KIPP Baltimore Schools, and the Baltimore School for the Arts.
Congressman Cummings is married to Dr. Maya Rockeymoore Cummings, resides in the Madison Park community in Baltimore City, and is an active member of New Psalmist Baptist Church.