Marjorie Holt, Maryland’s 1st female Republican Rep., dies at 97

WASHINGTON — Marjorie Sewell Holt, the first woman elected to Congress from Maryland and a staunch conservative, died Jan. 6 at her Severna Park, Maryland, home. She was 97.

Marjorie Sewell Holt. (Courtesy U.S. House of Representatives)

Holt represented Anne Arundel and Prince George’s counties.

Her daughter told The Baltimore Sun that she died from complications from old age.

Gov. Larry Hogan says former Rep. Marjorie Holt served alongside his father in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Maryland flags will be lowered to honor Holt.

Hogan, a Republican, says Holt helped to chip away at the glass ceiling, paving the way for the next generation of women leaders from Maryland.

The governor’s office says flags will be lowered on the day of Holt’s interment.

Holt was born on Sept. 17, 1920, in Birmingham, Alabama. She attended Jacksonville Junior College and graduated in 1945. Afterward, she earned her law degree from the University of Florida in 1949.

Holt served from January 1973 to January 1987. Key among her signature issues were reducing government spending, as well as opposing forced busing to desegregate public schools, which she called “the new racism.”

After retiring from Congress in 1986, Holt returned to practicing law in Baltimore.

According to the biography on the U.S. House of Representatives website, Holt was a champion of fiscal conservatism in Congress. She sought to cap federal spending across the board — with the notable exception of the defense budget.

Holt was hesitant to embrace the political cause of women’s rights and liberation. “I’ve always thought of myself as a person and I certainly haven’t been discriminated against,” she told voters in her first House race.

She was nominated by President Ronald Reagan as a member of the General Advisory Committee on Arms Control and Disarmament in July 1987.

Holt served as the Maryland state co–chair for the George W. Bush and Richard Cheney presidential campaign in 2000 and was named a member of the Maryland campaign leadership team seeking to re–elect the Bush ticket in 2004.

She is survived by a son and daughter.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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