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County Executive Leopold Joins Washington County Delegation in Urging U.S. Stamp for Thomas Kennedy

Former Delegate made it legal for Jews to serve in elected office

Annapolis (January 26, 2009) - County Executive John R. Leopold, along with the State Senators and Delegates from Washington County, is asking the U.S. Postal Service to create a stamp in honor of the man who sponsored legislation to allow Jews to take elected office in Maryland.

Thomas Kennedy, a Presbyterian born in Scotland in 1776, was finally successful in gaining passage of the bill in 1826. That was after the bill failed twice and Kennedy lost re-election before returning to the house in 1825. In a letter to the Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee, County Executive Leopold and members of the Washington County Delegation urged for a stamp to be created in honor of this advocate for religious tolerance.

"Thomas Kennedy’s relentless pursuit of justice and religious freedom, taking an unpopular stand in defense of a small and powerless minority at great personal sacrifice, should be honored through the issuance of a stamp that would serve to focus attention on the difference one man can make in the world," County Executive wrote the U.S. Postal Service in the letter co-signed by the delegation.

In 1987, then-delegate Leopold sponsored legislation honoring Kennedy that called for an artistic display in the Maryland State House, which is still on display in the Silver Room.

Two Jews were elected to the Baltimore City Council the year after Kennedy’s bill became law, and he founded the Hagerstown Mail newspaper in his hometown after leaving elected office. He served in the House of Delegates and the State Senate.

"Hagerstown and the entire State of Maryland can be proud of this man who fought against intolerance," said senior Washington County State Senator Donald Munson. "There can be no better tribute than to place his image on a U.S. postage stamp."


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