Del. Kirill Reznik (D-Dist. 39) is leaving his seat in the Maryland House of Delegates to join Gov. Wes Moore’s administration as the new assistant secretary for inter-departmental data Integration for the state Department of Human Services.
His vacancy will represent the fourth time this year that Montgomery County’s Democratic Central Committee will select a nominee to fill a General Assembly seat for the vast majority of a four-year term.
Reznik represents parts of Germantown and Montgomery Village. He will officially retire from the General Assembly on March 21, according to a news release from his office. He’s served in the House for more than 15 years, since he was appointed in October 2007 and later re-elected in each subsequent election.
He said in an interview that he was proud of the work he’s done for his constituents in Montgomery County, but felt it was time to find other opportunities.
“I love driving around my district, the county and the state and seeing things that I have done in physical manifestation and being incredibly proud of that. So that will always go with me and hopefully that will be an enduring legacy to my constituents as well,” Reznik said.
Reznik, 48, served on the Health and Government Operations Committee from 2007-2016, before moving to the Appropriations Committee, where he has served as the Chair of the Health and Social Services Subcommittee. He also served as the House Parliamentarian from 2017-2019. Reznik was the first Ukrainian-born state legislator in the U.S.
Reznik banned the use of credit history in hiring process, worked on reforming the State procurement system, allowed for the direct sale of electric vehicles, created a robotics education grant program, created a first in the nation energy storage tax credit, required schools across the State to stock menstrual products in school bathrooms, helped rape victims get access to HIV post-exposure prophylaxis, and amended the State Constitution to allow for Election Day Voter Registration.
In his new role, Reznik said he plans to help different parts of the state government connect to get constituents the services they need
“Right now, I think we in the state government are pretty siloed from department to department. And that does not bode well for people to be able to get benefits and support that they need. You have to fill out multiple forms. You have to go to multiple places,” Resnik said. “It
‘s difficult to address and it ‘s difficult at best for people who are in the worst position to be able to have to deal with bureaucracy. So the goal is to be able to break down some of these silos and work with departments across the spectrum.”
The Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee will be tasked with appointing a replacement for Reznik. The county’s Central Committee members, who are elected at-large or in legislative districts, vote on who will fill the legislative vacancies, and send their recommendations to the governor to approve as a formality.
This is the fourth time the committee will go through this process this legislative session.
Former District 16 Del. Ariana Kelly has been appointed to the District 16 Senate seat, which became vacant after former Sen. Susan Lee was named secretary of state for Maryland by Gov. Wes Moore on Jan. 10. As a result of Kelly’s selection to the Senate, her House seat is open, and the committee is in the process of filling it.
Bernice Mireku-North was nominated to fill a vacant seat in District 14 of the House of Delegates in January, after former Del. Eric Luedtke resigned the seat to become Moore’s chief legislative officer.
Twelve of the current 34 state delegates and senators in Montgomery County applied through the MCDCC appointment process to get to their post (roughly 35%), according to an analysis by MoCo360. Of those, Del. Aaron Kaufman (D-Dist. 18) is an outlier, because he was placed on the 2022 primary election ballot and faced election, instead of Al Carr, a former delegate. Carr had dropped out of the District 18 House of Delegates race at the filing deadline, to pursue the County Council District 4 seat (his bid was unsuccessful). All the other legislators served some time in legislative session in Annapolis before facing voters in their districts for elections, MoCo360 reported earlier this week. Once the vacancy for the District 16 House seat is filled by March 21, it will be 13 of 35 legislative seats (about 37%).
Good-government advocates, some central committee members and several state legislators have criticized the process as less democratic than special elections would be.
For years, legislative reforms calling for a special elections model have failed to pass in Annapolis, preserving a system where Democratic and Republican central committees across Maryland have tremendous power in who gets to fill delegate and state senate seats. Democratic central committees pick whenever the seat was last vacated by a Democrat, and Republican committees do the same for Republicans.
Reznik said he doesn’t know who will apply to his seat, but he is sure the committee will appoint a “very capable” resident of District 39.
“Hopefully they will come in with the same energy that I did 15 and a half years ago and get to work,” he said.