Gov. Larry Hogan (MD-R) made a quick move on Monday, appointing his Chief Legislative Officer Keiffer J. Mitchell Jr. to serve as acting chief of staff after the abrupt resignation of Roy McGrath. There was mounting backlash after it was revealed that in voluntarily leaving his previous role as head of the Maryland Environmental Service, McGrath received a six-figure severance, including a year’s salary, while at the same time heading to the CLO role that was likely also a six-figure salaried role. Since facing public scrutiny, McGrath felt that the governor’s operations could not afford any further distractions during this vital moment of the COVID-19 pandemic. While the office searches for a permanent position-holder, Hogan’s pick for acting chief of staff also serves as his longtime lobbyist and is a former elected official and representative of the Maryland Democratic Party.
Mitchell Jr. comes from a political family: His grandfather Clarence M. Mitchell Jr. was a leading advocate during the Civil Rights Movement, an NAACP lobbyist and a civil rights adviser to President Lyndon Johnson. His great uncle Parren J. Mitchell was the first African American to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Maryland. His father, Dr. Keiffer J. Mitchell Sr., became the first African American doctor to practice at Greater Baltimore Medical Center. And his grandmother, Juanita Jackson Mitchell, became the first African American woman to practice law in the State of Maryland.
Mitchell Jr. served during the Clinton administration as an intern and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund as a law clerk. He soon began his service in Maryland’s political sphere as a member at the Baltimore City Council (1995 to 2007), a delegate to the Democratic National Convention (2000, 2008) and as a state delegate at the Maryland General Assembly (2010 to 2014).
Mitchell Jr. is a graduate of Emory University earning a bachelors in political science.