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Three Cassilly brothers score clean sweep in Harford election

Three brothers were on Harford's election ballot and all three won

When long-serving State's Attorney Joseph Cassilly travels to Annapolis to seek support for his office during the next four years, he will potentially have two close supporters in the Maryland General Assembly – his younger brothers, Bob and Andrew.

Joe Cassilly, 63, is the oldest of Nancy and Robert R. Cassilly Jr.'s 12 children, who were raised in Bel Air. He has served as Harford County's chief prosecutor since he was elected in 1982. And he won his ninth term Nov. 4.

The 12 Cassilly children, from oldest to youngest are Joe, Jane, Mary, Michael, Ann, Martha, Bob, Becky, Lucy, Ronnie, Andrew and Ruth. Michael and Becky are deceased, according to their father.

"Each one trod his own course," Robert Cassilly said of his three sons' career and political paths.

Robert G. Cassilly, 56, was elected state senator from District 34, and Andrew Cassilly, 49, was elected as one of the two members of the House of Delegates from Subdistrict 35B, respectively.

The brothers are Republicans.

"I think they're both very common-sense people," Joe said. "They're very down to earth, and I think it's great that they're going to be there."

He said Del. Susan McComas, of Bel Air, who was re-elected, has been a longtime supporter in the state capital.

"Now I have some other folks I can go to and work with and help us work on bills that are needed in Annapolis," he said.

Bob Cassilly is returning to the political scene after having been out of elected office for eight years. He served as a Bel Air town commissioner and mayor and was on the Harford County Council when he was deployed to Iraq in early 2006.

He was deployed to Iraq three times between 2006 and 2010. He was an active-duty Army infantry officer during the early 1980s, and he was deployed to Iraq as a reservist for his first tour.

He worked with Iraqi officials to establish a functioning local government in the city of Tikrit. He had the same duties in the city of Karbala, but he was a civilian employee with the State Department, and he was responsible for overseeing the establishment of provincial governments nationwide during his third tour, also as a civilian.

"The objective was to have these provincial level governments that would be more responsive to the citizens," Bob explained.

He worked for the State Department until 2013, and he was practicing law in Baltimore when he decided to run for the state Senate.

"I knew much more about Middle East politics than I knew about Bel Air politics," he joked.

Bob described state senator as "a position where you can make a difference."

"I'm very confident that we'll have a very productive and fruitful term and, hopefully, God willing, maybe even a second term," he said.

Joe Cassilly stressed he and his brothers did not have a set plan that they would all run for office this year, although he suggested that Andrew consider a run about two years ago after learning Del. Wayne Norman, of Bel Air, who was elected to the District 35 Senate seat last week, was planning a run for Senate.

"They talked to each other, but there was no central headquarters to put it all together," said 89-year-old Robert Cassilly, who served as a merchant seaman during World War II and later joined the Army National Guard and Reserves. "Each one had his own little command post to figure things out."

Robert Cassilly also worked as a civilian Army employee at Aberdeen Proving Ground.

Andrew announced his run for the House seat, his first run for elected office, in September of 2013. The Havre de Grace area resident will represent his district, which serves northeastern Harford County and western Cecil County, with Del.-elect Teresa Reilly, of Whiteford.

"It was our current economy," Andrew said Thursday about the reasons he ran. "It was the direction that we're moving as a state with the increase in taxes, with the lack of funding coming to education. I felt compelled to put my name in the ring because I felt like I could make a difference."

Andrew is the resource conservation manager for Harford County Public Schools and has also been a teacher, Fallston High School administrator and in Harford County Public Schools Student Services.

He said the school system will allow him to take a leave of absence during the General Assembly's annual 90-day session.

He has also served in the military, along with his brothers. Andrew was a member of the Army National Guard between high school and college; Bob was in the Army, and Joe served as an Army Ranger during the Vietnam War.

Joe was injured during the war, and he has used a wheelchair since.

"The family all worked together with him to help him rehabilitate, and I think he's been an inspiration to all of them," Nancy Cassilly said.

His father was deployed to Vietnam for one year as a civilian Department of Defense worker, and their deployments overlapped.

The elder Cassilly said he and his son would meet up briefly in Vietnam when they could.

He noted that he encouraged each son to serve in the military.

"I encouraged them not to shrink back and go for it," Robert Cassilly said.

He and his wife tried to encourage all of their children to serve the community.

"Through their own actions, and through example, they instilled a strong sense of duty to serve the community," Andrew said of his parents.

He noted his sisters have all entered professions involving serving community and family, such as teaching, nursing or being homemakers. He said his late sister, Becky, was a physician's assistant, and she was a member of the Peace Corps.

"She was an outstanding individual," Andrew said.

He and his brothers praised their mother and sisters, who have largely worked behind the scenes to help with their political careers.

Bob called them "a terrific group of women that is equally, if not more important than us boys out front, sitting in the Klieg lights, out on the political front."

Nancy Cassilly, 83, who will have been married to Robert Cassilly for 65 years in February of 2015, also acknowledged the work the female members of the family have put in.

"I think they're all just interested in making the world a better place to live," she said of her children.

Bob Cassilly, who lives with his wife and five children in the six-bedroom Queen Anne's house on Broadway in Bel Air that he and his siblings were raised in, noted how hard running for office can be on a candidate and the candidate's family, but the hardship is worth it when being in office gives one an opportunity to serve.

"I run for office to serve and to do the right thing, and I think we need people whose guidepost is to do the right thing," he said.

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