“Allow me to re-introduce myself…”- Public Service Announcement, Jay-Z

My first blog post. Numero uno! Appreciate all of the support as I look to find my voice in the blogosphere (is that a word?)… Not sure what I’m going to regularly write about but this was on my mind…

Today is technically my last day with Howard County Government. Less than one month after the famous (or infamous?) 2014 Gubernatorial Election. “It’s politics…” I get it. I know. If you’re a Republican, I guess? you can’t have the person who garnered 10,897 votes to win a seat on the Democratic Central Committee in your cabinet. (Sidebar- still proud about every last one of those 10,897 votes. Thanks again, Howard County.)

So yeah, “it’s politics…”

My love for this community, and the work I was able to do over the last seven years, though, is more than just politics. I helped people (my people as I called them), regardless of their political party…their skin color, who they love, or how much money they happen to have in their bank account. Constituent services.

Yes, I belong to a certain party but, you see, for me, it was bigger than my party. The lady who called me because she couldn’t feed her kids, didn’t care about what party I belonged to. The community members who met me at their home in Jessup back in 2008 to address some serious, serious police related matters, could care less about who I vote for. And my friends in the trailer park on Route 1, who couldn’t get BGE (or anyone) to call them back to address the numerous downed wires that their kids were tripping over, didn’t care either. They just wanted me to help them.

(Note for the new constituent service folks in HoGo Government…It’s helpful to meet people onsite because I believe you meet people where they are so you can understand their perspective.)

Those are just a few examples of the “smaller” things. There are always potholes to fill, traffic calming techniques to work through, sidewalks to install, “crime” challenges to address, and community meetings to attend.

And then there was the bigger stuff too.

I have had the pleasure of working through challenges with the purchase of the Long Reach Village Center, community concern about a safe house off of Route 29, and the turf field installation process at Glenelg High School. And that’s just in the past two months.

I’ve learned about mulch, sewers, fields, septic tanks, libraries, parkland, and where your water goes when you flush the toilet (go visit the wastewater treatment plant. It’s awesome.)

And constituent services was just a portion of my job.

I’ve been on a few police ride-a-longs, advocated for nonprofits, worked on budgets, sat in some SERIOUS OEM briefings, and staffed one of the most prolific and innovative elected officials in the history of our great state (I know I’m biased..whatevs. Ken Ulman is wonderful.) Honestly, I could go on and on and write a book with all of the stories I have.

My amazing colleagues and I have served in snowstorms, hurricanes, a derecho (I’m still not sure what that is..), an earthquake!, and major flooding. I have slept on my office floor (ask me about that one day..funny, funny story), in the Emergency Operations Center, and in the Jim Robey Training Center. We have delivered food to people in need and set up water buffaloes for folks without power.

We shed tears with our community after a mall shooting, a tragic train derailment, bullying incidents, and many other situations that don’t make the papers.

And we did this together….most of the time while our loved ones waited (worried!) for us at home.

“Now before I finish, let me just say…I did not come here to show out…Did not come here to [try to] impress you…”

Thank you, Ken, for the opportunity to serve this great county. It’s been an honor. Councilpersons Ball, Fox, Sigaty, Terrasa, and Watson, it’s been a pleasure working with you and your teams on the complex… and the ordinary. Howard County Government colleagues, I love you. Thank you for teaching me everything I know about our great county.  Community, let’s work together to remain as one of the “top 10 places to live”in this country.

Change is good…yes, I know. And trust that I will put just as much energy and effort into whatever I do next!  But, for now, I will miss serving constituents in Howard County.

I will likely always have a D after my name.  When it comes to serving my community, though, it’s really not just politics.

It’s been real.

“Now back to our regularly scheduled program….”