Eleventh District Del. Dan K. Morhaim announced he will not run for re-election in this year’s cycle, retiring from the Maryland House of Delegates. The 69-year old physician, who was first elected in 1994, said that he didn’t see himself entering the General Assembly in January 2019 as a 70-year-old lawmaker.
“There are other things I want to do, both political and otherwise,” he said. “But 24 years in the House of Delegates, that’s a good length of public service and I take it seriously, and I’ve done a lot. I just felt like now’s the time.”
The Pikesville Democrat has been a fixture of Northwest Baltimore County politics for more than two decades, introducing legislation that he said may not have been buzz worthy, but had impact on Marylanders over the long term, including legislation that created the state’s organ donation system; expanded addiction treatment; started the electronics recycling program; and brought medical cannabis to Maryland.
For most of his career he also focused on reducing state costs through efficiencies, especially in state procurement practices.
“I always tackle things that are different, and I worked on complicated issues that were long term that did not always lend themselves to easy explanation or easy understanding,” he said. “I think for the environment, the biggest one was the recycling of electronics. It took several years to get that done, and that became a national model bill. It was unheard of, and I had to spend a lot of time explaining.”
He recalls the first bill he got passed — in support of organic farming, the wine industry and farmers markets.
“Organic food, nobody knew what I was talking about, farmers’ markets barely occurred, there were fewer than five wineries in Maryland,” he said. “The way the structure of the bill worked, it promoted all of those, and now we have over 80 wineries.
“Those are things that aren’t glamorous when they pass,” he added. “But they make a big difference over time.”
Morhaim said he will continue practicing medicine. He has worked as an ER doctor for Sinai Hospital since 1995. Otherwise, as far as what he’ll do after the session ends in April, he said for now he is only concentrating on his work as a delegate.
“There are a number of things I’m contemplating, but none I’m ready to commit to,” he said. “Right now, I’m still being a delegate and focused on the issues before me.”
Morhaim’s wife, Shelley Morhaim, is a writer and filmmaker who is chair of the Maryland State Arts Council. The couple have three grown children and two grandchildren, ages 1 and 4.