Meet Rep. Marjorie Sewell Holt, MD-4
A Life of Dedication and Public Service and the first Republican woman elected to Congress from Maryland.
Born in Birmingham, Alabama, on September 17, 1920, Marjorie Sewell Holt would grow up to make a name for herself in Maryland as a dedicated public servant. A Republican, Holt’s commitment to her constituents and her ability to find common ground with her political opponents would propel her to a successful career in the Maryland State House and the United States Congress.
After attending Jacksonville State University in Alabama, Holt earned her law degree from the University of Maryland School of Law. She would go on to become a practicing attorney in Anne Arundel County, Maryland. This experience would lay the groundwork for her political career, as she gained valuable insights into the legal system and the needs of her community.
In 1966, Holt took her first step into the world of politics when she successfully ran for the Maryland House of Delegates, representing Anne Arundel County. During her time in the state legislature, Holt was known for her ability to work across the aisle and find bipartisan solutions to issues affecting her constituents. In 1972, she decided to bring her skills to a larger stage, running for the U.S. House of Representatives.
Holt’s 1972 congressional campaign was focused on fiscal responsibility, a strong national defense, and support for small businesses. She ultimately won the election, becoming the first Republican woman to represent Maryland in Congress. She would go on to serve in the House of Representatives for seven consecutive terms, from January 3, 1973, to January 3, 1987.
During her tenure in Congress, Marjorie Holt played a significant role in shaping the legislative landscape. One of her most notable legislative successes was her co-sponsorship of the “Holt–Garcia Amendment” in 1977. This amendment aimed to reduce government spending by setting annual spending limits for federal agencies. The amendment garnered support from both Republicans and Democrats, and its passage led to significant reductions in government spending. This achievement showcased Holt’s dedication to fiscal responsibility and her ability to work across party lines for the greater good.
Another significant accomplishment of Holt’s career in Congress was her role in the passage of the Women’s Business Ownership Act in 1988. This legislation aimed to eliminate discriminatory lending practices that affected women-owned businesses and to provide support for women entrepreneurs. As a result of Holt’s efforts, the act helped to level the playing field for women in business and increased access to resources for women entrepreneurs.
Holt was also known for her support of a strong national defense. She served on the House Armed Services Committee and worked to ensure the United States had the resources necessary to protect itself and its allies. Throughout her time in Congress, Holt consistently advocated for a robust military and a clear strategy to protect American interests at home and abroad.
After her retirement from Congress in 1987, Marjorie Holt continued her commitment to public service. She returned to practicing law, focusing on elder law and estate planning. Additionally, Holt remained active in her community, participating in numerous local organizations and serving on various boards. She also continued to be an advocate for women in politics, encouraging more women to run for office and become involved in the political process.
Marjorie Holt’s career is a testament to her dedication to her constituents and her passion for public service. Throughout her time in the Maryland State House and the United States Congress, she worked tirelessly to bring about positive change for her community and the nation as a whole. As an advocate for fiscal responsibility, a strong national defense, and women’s rights, Holt’s impact can still be felt today. Her post-congressional career demonstrates that public service doesn’t end when one leaves office, and her legacy of dedication and leadership will always be remembered.