Neuman was selected Thursday on a 4-3 vote that included one member of the Republican council majority and the three members of the Democratic minority. She beat such better-known applicants as Del. Steve Schuh, acting County Executive John Hammond and former Maryland first lady Kendel Ehrlich.

"This absolutely makes her a very interesting figure politically," said Dan Nataf, director of the Center for the Study of Local Issues at Anne Arundel Community College. "The hope, I believe, is that her drive, motivation, her ability to communicate with the council and with department heads, to say nothing of any ethical issues, will provide a sharp contrast with the Leopold situation."

And if she's successful?

"Now you have an incumbent woman candidate [in 2014]," Nataf said. "And women incumbents almost never lose in Anne Arundel County."

Neuman declined to discuss plans beyond her current term.

"We are not at that point yet," she said.

Council Chairman Jerry Walker said Neuman seems to offer the county a fresh and promising start.

"We need somebody who isn't a political insider," Walker said. "And we need someone who is going to make the changes I think we need to make. We need a housecleaning."

Family: Son Alexander, 8; daughter Avery, 6. Separated from husband, Paul Volkman.

Laura Neuman

Born Baltimore, Feb. 3, 1965

Education: GED; MBA, Loyola University; certificate, Stanford

Profession: Business executive

Employers: T. Rowe Price, Digex, Global Payment Systems, CAIS Internet, Matrics Inc., Howard County Economic Development Authority

  • Text NEWS to 70701 to get Baltimore Sun local news text alerts