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John Bohanan papers

Identifier: MSS-027

Scope and Contents Note

Collection of materials associated with Maryland Delegate John L. Bohanan (1999-2015). It contains correspondence between Delagate Bohanan, his constituents, Maryland legislators , the Maryland governor's office, and private companies. In addition to official legislative and executive documents, there are inter-office notes, informal letters from constituents, fliers for events, and pamphlets produced by organizations. The collection is divided into four series: Constituent Issues, Legislative Correspondence, Miscellaneous, and Legislative Issues. Within these sections, topics such as the environment, land use, St. Mary's Public Schools, Patuxent River Naval Air Station, slots, voting, agriculture, pensions, health care, infrastructure, construction, stem cell research, historical sites and parole are included in this collection. Most of the documents date from the early 2000s to 2015.


  • bulk 1997-2015, 1966-1991

Conditions Governing Access

Collection is open without restriction.

Biographical Note

John L. Bohanan was born in St. Mary’s County in 1958 and served as its district representative in the Maryland House of Delegates between 1999 and 2015. He attended St. Mary’s Ryken High School before going on to earn a Bachelor’s of Science in Finance from Towson State University in 1981.

Immediately after graduating, Bohanan was hired as a Legislative Assistant to U.S. Representative Roy P. Dyson, and served there until 1987. In the early 1990s Bohanan redirected this attention back to Southern Maryland. From 1987-1991 he served as a Senior Staff member in Tractor Applied Sciences Incorporated. He then became a Project Analyst and Operations Manager for SFA, Incorporated from 1991-1993. While at private firms, Bohanan was instrumental in establishing the Southern Maryland Navy Alliance, an organization that sought to promote the economic development of areas surrounding Patuxent River and St. Inigoes Naval Air Stations.

Bohanan returned to politics in 1993 when he became U.S. Representative Steny H. Hoyer’s District Director. As a senior member of Congressman Hoyer’s Base Realignment and Closure committee, Bohanan helped to bring 5,000 new jobs to Southern Maryland while preserving hundreds of existing jobs at Webster Field and St. Inigoes Naval Installation. His early involvement with the air bases established a strong relationship between Bohanan and the local naval community that persists throughout his career.

In 1999 Democrat John Bohanan was elected into the Maryland House of Delegates and served as the Deputy Majority Whip for floor votes. His nearly 16 years in the House have been marked by a concern for public health and safety, opposition to slot machines, advancing local economic development, and providing legislative support to St. Mary's College of Maryland. Between 1999 and 2015 Bohanan served on the Executive Board of the Tri-County Council for Southern Maryland, a group that sought to increase economic development and school funding in the area. He was also a long-time member of the Juvenile Drug Court Team (8 years), Maryland Veterans Caucus (10 years), and Maryland Bicycle and Pedestrian Caucus (12 years). He also served as Chair for both the House Emergency Medical Services Work Group (6 years) and the Saint Mary’s County Delegation. With his background in finance, Bohanan routinely advised Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley and was also an influential voice concerning the annual House budget.

In 2000 Bohanan became U.S. House of Representatives Minority Whip Steny Hoyer’s Senior Advisor. He specialized in military issues as well as encouraging the growth of the economy and infrastructure. In 2010, the Maryland Gazette of Business and Politics named him as one of the Top 20 Most Influential Maryland Legislators.

In addition to his consistent involvement in Southern Maryland politics, Bohanan has also been active in the region’s cultural and historical communities. He has served on the Board of Directors for both Historic Sotterley Plantation and the St. Mary’s County Historical Society.

In the 2014 mid-term elections, Delegate Bohanan lost his seat to Republican Deb Rey by a margin of only 76 votes.


5 Linear Feet (5 boxes)

Language of Materials



Papers of John L. Bohanan, who represented St. Mary’s County in the Maryland House of Delegates from 1999 to 2015, including correspondence with constituents, legislative files, and publicity materials.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

John Bohanan, 2015

Separated Materials

No items were separated from the collection, with the exception of a couple of reports that were added to MSS 014, Collection on Maryland and St. Mary's County, and a Juneteenth Celebration folder was moved to MSS 052.

Leah Keller, 2015
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the St. Mary's College of Maryland Archives Repository

Calvert Hall
St. Mary's College of Maryland
47645 College Dr.
St. Mary's City MD 20686-3001 United States