|Majority Leader of the Maryland House of Delegates|
|Assumed office |
September 9, 2019
|Preceded by||Kathleen Dumais|
|Member of the Maryland House of Delegates|
from the 14th district
|Assumed office |
January 13, 2011
|Preceded by||Herman L. Taylor Jr.|
|Born||November 13, 1981|
Washington, D.C., U.S.
|Education||University of Maryland, College Park (BA, MEd)|
Eric Luedtke (born November 13, 1981) is an American politician and educator from Maryland and a member of the Democratic Party. He was elected in 2010 to the Maryland House of Delegates, representing District 14 in Montgomery County, which includes parts of Burtonsville, Silver Spring, Olney, Sandy Spring, Brookeville, and Damascus. Luedtke currently serves as the House Majority Leader, as a member of the Ways and Means Committee, and as Chair of the Revenues Subcommittee.
Luedtke was born in Washington, D.C. and grew up in Montgomery County, Maryland, attending Thomas S. Wootton High School in Rockville, Maryland and later the University of Maryland, College Park. He worked as a middle school social studies teacher for Montgomery County Public Schools from 2004-15. After becoming a teacher, he became involved with the Montgomery County Education Association, where he served on the Board of Directors. He also served on Montgomery County's East County Citizens Advisory Board, advocated on environmental issues with the local Sierra Club, and served as a member of the Board of Trustees of the Sandy Spring Museum Following his election, he continued to work as a classroom teacher for a number of years prior to returning to his alma mater, the University of Maryland, first as an adjunct instructor and then as a clinical professor.
In the fall of 2009, Luedtke explored a run against incumbent State Senator Rona E. Kramer. He dropped out of the Senate race, but in early 2010 two seats in the House of Delegates became open when incumbent Delegate Karen S. Montgomery decided to challenge Kramer and Delegate Herman L. Taylor, Jr. began a campaign against Congresswoman Donna Edwards. Luedtke entered the campaign for one of the district's three seats in the House of Delegates, competing against seven other Democrats in the primary. In the primary election on September 14, 2010, Luedtke finished in third place, behind incumbent Delegate Anne Kaiser and political staffer Craig Zucker. Democrats swept the general election in the district, winning the three Delegate seats as well as the Senate seat. Luedtke was sworn into the House of Delegates on January 12, 2011.
During his first term in the House of Delegates, Luedtke was assigned to the House Ways and Means Committee, which oversees tax policy, education, election law, and gambling. He participated in debates on a number of major issues in his first year. During the floor debate on the Civil Marriage Protection Act, which would have legalized same-sex marriage in Maryland, Luedtke helped defeat hostile amendments. He also played a role in passage of the Maryland Dream Act, giving undocumented immigrants the right to in state tuition at Maryland Universities. In that debate, he was quoted by the Baltimore Sun as arguing that, "We are talking about children. They didn't make the decision to cross the border," and therefore should not be punished for decisions their parents made. He was among the leaders of the effort led by backbenchers in 2014 that resulted in the partial decriminalization of marijuana possession in the state.
In January 2013, Luedtke was appointed to chair the Financial Resources Subcommittee, which oversees the lottery, casino gambling, and horse racing. He was also appointed as Co-Chair of the Joint Committee on Gaming Oversight. He continued to serve as Chair of that subcommittee until 2017, when he was appointed to chair the Education Subcommittee, which oversees education policy in the state from pre-kindergarten through 12th grade. As Chair of the Education Subcommittee, Luedtke authored a range of legislation related to education policy. In 2017, he led successful efforts to place limits on standardized testing in schools through the Less Testing, More Learning Act. That year, he also authored and led the effort to pass and override a veto on the Protect Our Schools Act, which aimed to force the state to assess the quality of schools using a range of criteria rather than simply test scores, and banned the state from attempting to privatize public schools. In 2019, he coordinated efforts by legislators to apply pressure to the State Department of Education to update their history curriculum to ensure that students are taught about the history of the LGBT and disability rights movements.
In January of 2019, Luedtke was selected to Chair the Democratic Caucus in the House of Delegates. Later that spring, following the unexpected passing of long time Speaker Michael E. Busch, he presided over a contentious caucus meeting convened to choose a new Speaker. That meeting resulted in the selection of a compromise candidate, Adrienne A. Jones, who became the first woman and the first black legislator to serve in the role of Speaker in Maryland. Later that year, Speaker Jones then elevated Luedtke to serve as House Majority Leader.
Luedtke has advocated in the legislature on a broad range of issues, most notably education, the environment, and for the rights of people with disabilities. During the 2012 legislative session, he argued during floor debate for passage of a bill increasing Maryland's minimum legal age for dropping out of school. He was the lead sponsor in the House of Delegates of Maryland's successful ban on possession and sale of shark fin, part of an international effort to protect shark populations. In 2019, during debate on legislation to legalize physician-assisted suicide in Maryland, Luedtke gave a key floor speech in support of the bill. The bill later passed the House of Delegates but failed in the Senate.
In 2010, Luedtke ran for the House of Delegates after then-Delegates Herman L. Taylor, Jr. and Karen S. Montgomery decided to run for higher offices. Luedtke was successful in the Democratic primary, coming in third behind incumbent Delegate Anne Kaiser and political staffer Craig Zucker.
|Anne Kaiser (incumbent)||6380||24.1%||Won|
|Robert "Bo" Newsome||2834||10.7%||Lost|
In the 2010 General Election, Democratic nominees Anne Kaiser, Eric Luedtke and Craig Zucker faced Republican nominees Patricia Fenati, Henry Kahwaty and Maria Peña-Faustino. All Democratic candidates won in a landslide, with Luedtke placing third.
|Anne Kaiser (incumbent)||23503||21.5%||Won|
In 2014, Luedtke, Kaiser, and Zucker ran for re-election. They faced only a single challenger in the primary, winning by wide margins. In the General Election, the three incumbents beat back a strong challenge from Republican candidates buoyed by the off-year wave election and the election of Republican Governor Larry Hogan.
|Maryland House of Delegates|
| Majority Leader of the Maryland House of Delegates