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Hagerstown mayor resigns to take role in Gov. Moore's administration focusing on opioid crisis

Emily Keller was the first woman to be elected mayor of Hagerstown in 2020, following a term as council member from 2016-2020.

HAGERSTOWN, Md. — A mayor in Washington County, Maryland will soon be embarking on a new journey, as Gov. Wes Moore's Special Secretary of Opioid Response.

Emily Keller, mayor for the City of Hagerstown, announced Tuesday she would be stepping down from her current role to join Moore's administration. The announcement came a day before Moore became the first African American to be sworn in as the governor of Maryland.

"I am extremely honored to represent Maryland in this new role as Special Secretary of Opioid Response. I applaud Governor-Elect Moore's emphasis on creating a Maryland where no one is left behind," Keller said in a statement on Jan. 17. "By focusing on the recovery and health of those struggling with substance use disorder, as well as creating more robust prevention methods for youth and adults alike, we can work to absolutely achieve a Maryland where no one is left behind."

Keller has had historic moments of her own in her political career. She was the first woman elected mayor of Hagerstown in 2020, following a term as council member from 2016-2020. 

The Hagerstown mayor has shown a passion for helping people with a substance use disorder throughout the years. For several years she has been the Co-Chair of Washington Goes Purple, a community movement to educate the youth and community about the dangers of drugs, the importance of making healthy choices, and celebrating those in recovery. 

The news release also stated that she has worked to support and advocate for increased and robust harm-reduction programs, fighting tirelessly to show this crisis as exactly what it is - a public health emergency. 

“From day one, Mayor Keller has been a passionate leader in the fight against substance abuse disorder. By spearheading effective, community-driven initiatives to combat this epidemic," Maryland 6th District Congressman David Trone said. "Mayor Keller has proven to be an invaluable partner to me and an incredible resource to others across our state. I am looking forward to continuing our partnership in her new role in Governor Moore’s administration and I am grateful she’s been given this well-deserved opportunity. Maryland is better for it.”

Keller's resignation is effective Jan. ­­­31 when she will join the governor's team in Annapolis. The City Council will choose her replacement. 

Watch Next: Wes Moore reflects on Black leaders now in Maryland power positions

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