Politicians come and go, usually with little fanfare. In many cases, there's probably good reason for that. But that shouldn't be the case for Jim Robey, the current state senator and former Howard County executive who announced that he will retire after next year's General Assembly session.
Robey, who grew up in Daniels, a former mill town along the Patapsco River in Howard, started as a county cop in 1966 and worked his way up the ranks to police chief in 1991.Seven years later, Robey was elected to the first of his two terms as county executive. And it was as the top elected official for Howard that Robey will be most remembered.
As county executive, Robey had to make sense of the rapid growth in the county, helping to transition county government services to handle the influx of residents and development. During his tenure, Robey's administration found ways to fund the building of eight new schools and renovate many others. He also continued to focus on public safety, particularly by growing the police department. In 2007, the county's public safety training center was named for him.
His administration was a time of change and not always easy. As Robey told us last week, "I've made a lot of people happy, and I've made a lot of people unhappy, but that's the nature of the business we're in. We can't make everyone happy."
Over the years, our editorial board has had its share of disagreements with Robey as well. But the value of Robey's dedication to his home county was never questioned. And that needs to be remembered.