With all three seats open in District 12 of the Maryland House of Delegates, candidates are starting to come forward for the 2014 election.
Del. Elizabeth Bobo, who represents Howard County in District 12B, announced her retirement in September 2012.
Dels. James Malone Jr. and Steven DeBoy, who represent District 12A, which includes Arbutus and parts of Catonsville and Howard County, each announced their retirement in mid-April.
They will begin their last session in January.
Redistricting by the state has eliminated the subdistricts for the 2014 election and created a larger District 12, so no longer will it be mandated to have one delegate from Howard County and two from predominantly Baltimore County.
Two Columbia residents, both doctors, have announced their candidacy for one of those seats in District 12.
Dr. Clarence Lam, a 32-year-old Columbia resident, announced his candidacy on April 30. Lam filed the necessary paperwork in Annapolis on May 2.
After serving in Annapolis for the past four years as a legislative staffer for Del. Dan Morhaim, who represents District 11 in Baltimore County and is currently the only physician in the General Assembly, Lam decided it was time to start his own political career.
"I decided that this would be a good time and an appropriate time to jump in," said Lam, assistant program director for the residency program for medical students at Johns Hopkins University.
He said the district is in "a unique situation" with all three incumbent delegates leaving at once and that his experience in Annapolis, paired with his medical background, will give him an advantage in next year's election.
"I think one of the strong qualities that I bring to the table is being a good listener," he said. "What this district, because of the diversity, needs is someone who will be able to listen to their concerns.
"I think that, as a physician, we've been trained well to listen to people," Lam said.
"My plan is to reach out to the various communities, come to their meetings, attend their events, knock on their doors, so that I can have a chance to hear about their concerns, their interests, their values to be able to best represent them," he said.
Dr. Terri Hill, a 54-year-old plastic surgeon with her own practice in Columbia, filed her application April 1.
She said that her experience in the medical field will give her an edge.
"I think the training and experience of diagnosing and treating problems is different in medicine than in other fields," Hill said.
"The politics of health care translate into other things as well," she said.
She said she, like Lam, plans to spend time in the various communities and build a rapport with her constituents much like she builds rapport with her patients.
"People are people and you meet people every day," Hill said. "I love that, I feed off that."
Hill said she views the district's diversity as a good thing.
"It's a very broad district, but that's what makes it a neat district to try and represent," Hill said.
Her goal is to make the "most positive impact on the greatest possible number of people" and that, with 14 months before the primary election, she has plenty of time to make that happen.
"That's a nice amount of time to learn," Hill said. "I'm a good student.
"It's like any other new skill, any other new adventure," she said.w skill, any other new adventure," she said.