Former Maryland Senator Paul Sarbanes Has Died at 87, Leaving a Political Legacy Behind.

by Amy Lusignan

Former Maryland Senator Paul Sarbanes Has Died at 87, leaving a political legacy behind.


Sarbanes’ son, Rep. John Sarbanes, reported his father died peacefully Sunday evening. The late senator represented Maryland’s 3rd district, which includes some of Montgomery County.


Today in a statement about Sarbanes’ death, Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, “The people of Maryland and all Americans have lost a leader and public servant of dignity and principle.”


Sarbanes started his political career at Maryland’s House of Delegates. Four years later, Sarbanes ran for a seat in the House of Representatives and won. During his time in the House, the Democrats chose him to introduce the article of impeachment against Nixon.


In 1976, Maryland elected Sarbanes to the Senate. By the end of his career he served 5 terms, making him one of Maryland’s two longest serving senators. Sarbanes is most remembered for the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002 and its legislation that enforces corporate responsibility and accounting regulation.


While he was in office, Sarbanes continued to pass laws on issues that mattered to Maryland. He secured money for Wheaton’s beautification programs. He fought for bay restoration and laws to protect the Chesapeake Bay. Sarbanes grew up in Salisbury on the Eastern Shore, so he understood the importance of the bay and was a champion for the nation’s largest estuary. After pushing for federal support of mass transit, he helped secure $24 million for Silver Spring’s transit center. Now, the center shares its name with the senator.

What Sarbanes has done for Montgomery County is immeasurable, and more can be checked with a quick internet search.

Later in 2005, after thirty years in the Senate, Sarbanes announced that he would not seek re-election.

Sarbanes’ diligence and humility may be what people remember the most about him. “The objection is to get the thing done and accomplished,” he said, “The recognition ought to be secondary.”


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