With a passion for public service and a drive to help working families, Del. Joseline Peña-Melnyk is a Democrat representing District 21 (Anne Arundel and Prince George’s counties). Part of several committees, she is most notably the vice chair of the Health and Government Operations Committee.
Born in the Dominican Republic, she emigrated to the United States with her mother and sister as a child. The fi rst in her family to attend college, she holds a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Buffalo State College and a Juris Doctor from State University of New York at Buffalo. Her professional legal career included time as a defense attorney and as an assistant U.S. attorney prosecuting criminal cases under Attorney General Eric Holder.
What is your proudest professional accomplishment?
Each of us in the General Assembly campaigns for offi ce every four years. My greatest achievement, and most humbling one, is the faith that my constituents place in me to represent them. I took my fi rst oath of offi ce in the General Assembly in January 2007. I’ve served for 15 years, often introducing legislation brought to me by one or more of my constituents. I have been primary sponsor on more than 81 successful bills. I am proud to be their voice.
What’s is the most important life lesson you learned?
If you are going to succeed in life, you have to work hard. The amount of effort you put in every day matters. I also try to remember the people that helped me when I was younger. That helps remind me to pay it forward, with an internship opportunity, mentorship or helping a promising young person get into school.