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Baltimore County Councilwoman Cathy Bevins, a Middle River Democrat, was elected 7-0 to the position of council chairwoman Monday.
Baltimore County Councilwoman Cathy Bevins, a Middle River Democrat, was elected 7-0 to the position of council chairwoman Monday. (Photo courtesy Baltimore County Government)

Baltimore County Councilwoman Cathy Bevins will be leading her colleagues as the council’s chairwoman for a third time.

Bevins, a Middle River Democrat, was elected 7-0 to the position Monday at the council’s first meeting of the year.

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She said the council will continue to address any “difficult decisions” that could arise this year as it works with County Executive Johnny Olszewski Jr., also a Democrat.

“When the administration needs something — and if we think it should be a priority – then, of course, we’ll gather the votes for it,” Bevins told The Baltimore Sun after the meeting. “And then sometimes it’s the opposite.”

First elected to the council in 2010, the 60-year-old Bevins previously served as chairwoman in 2014 and 2015. Her district encompasses the northeastern part of the county.

Bevins, who survived a challenge against a Republican contender for her 6th District seat in 2018, experienced intense scrutiny last year when she reversed a past position to vote in favor of a controversial anti-discrimination housing bill after its prior failure. The housing legislation passed 4-3 alongside party lines, and Bevins was assigned police protection because opponents posted threats and her personal information online.

Bevins told The Sun after the meeting that she has been the person to “bring the votes together” on issues in the past. In her role as chairperson, the Dundalk native will lead meetings, set the council’s agenda and perform other administrative duties.

Members of the council’s majority party — currently Democrats — generally rotate the chairmanship among themselves. County Councilman Todd Crandell criticized that tradition during the meeting, but the Dundalk Republican went on to voice support for Bevins before their vote.

“It seems to me that it’s predetermined and I just think that we could — as a collegial body we tend to work together very well — I think we could go through this process a little bit differently in the future," Crandell told his colleagues at the meeting.

Bevins takes over the chair from Councilman Tom Quirk, an Oella Democrat who led the council in 2019.

Bevins is the sole woman on the council, and she’s the first woman in county history to serve thrice as council chairperson.

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