Legislator Spotlight

Legislator Spotlight: Delegate Sheila Ruth, Maryland

July 2, 2024



NCEL Point of Contact

Dylan McDowell
Executive Director


What motivated you to get involved with environmental issues?

I’ve cared about environmental issues for as long as I can remember. Earth is our home, and we have a duty to care for her, for our own sake and our future, as well as for the inhabitants we share the planet with.

What environmental issues are you most passionate about and why? How have you worked in the legislature to address these issues?

Climate change and environmental equity are two issues that I’m strongly concerned about. My transportation equity bill that passed this year and was signed by the governor will help to address both. I’m also deeply concerned about the consequences of pesticides, PFAS, and other chemicals we are indiscriminately introducing into the environment, and I’ve introduced several bills on those issues. As a member of the Environment and Transportation Committee I have the opportunity to have input to many bills on the issues I’m passionate about, including our legislatures major climate change bill passed in 2022.

How has NCEL helped you in your work?

The ability to connect with legislators from other states and learn about work being done in those states is invaluable. I deeply appreciate NCEL’s issue briefs, legislative library, and topic-specific work groups.

What is your greatest environmental policy success story?

In 2023 I passed a bill to require various data reporting and analyses to help ensure Maryland’s transportation systems are equitable, including environmental justice. The Transportation Equity Act was recently signed into law by Governor Wes Moore. This is a bill I’ve worked on for several years and which passed in 2022 but was vetoed by the previous governor, so it was particularly meaningful to stand behind the governor at the bill signing ceremony with all the affected community members and advocates who worked for the bill’s passage.