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Why you need to know Angela Eaves, Harford County Circuit Court Administrative Judge

The Honorable Judge Angela Eaves at the Harford County Circuit Courthouse in Bel Air.
The Honorable Judge Angela Eaves at the Harford County Circuit Courthouse in Bel Air. (Brian Krista / Baltimore Sun Media Group)

Circuit Court Administrative Judge Angela Eaves, 57, is the first African-American woman elected to countywide office in Harford County in 2008, but that's not her only accolade. The judge holds masters degrees in law and public affairs, worked for city and state attorneys offices and legal aid, and even taught some workout classes on the side.

Here, she shares more about her journey personally and professionally.

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What made you want to go into this line of work?
I think all of [my] career choices really spoke to my passion as to how the government can help people. A lot of people began to encourage me to apply for a judgeship. So it wasn't something that at first crossed my mind for what was next in my career, but the more I thought about it, the more that I thought I could make a difference.

What does it mean to you to be the first African-American woman elected to countywide office?
It's something that I'm very proud of, and I think that it really does speak to the issues of diversity and inclusion. And even though all judges try to make the best decisions for all members of the community, it's important to make the bench that way, too.

What are some of your proudest accomplishments?
It's not really an accomplishment in the traditional sense, but I think it is being able to be a good role model for the younger people, younger attorneys and the community at large and to always try to do the right thing and give it my best. I've been involved with the Boys and Girls clubs and also the Black Youth in Action debutante and even community outreach, going to various schools and talking about the law or even other organizations and talking about the importance of serving on juries. It's about my spreading that understanding in how the law works.

What might be something people would be surprised to learn about you?
It's not true anymore, but I used to, for about 15 years even after I became a judge, teach a jazzercise class, and I ended up having to give it up because sometimes I had to cancel the class if I had a jury trial and it was running over, because I don't think it would've been a good idea to say, 'I need to teach a class,' if a jury is deciding the fate of someone's life or a civil jury [was] righting a wrong. I was a cheerleader in high school and I did dance in college and jazzercise is a dance-based program.

What is your advice for young women looking to get into public office or leadership positions?
I would say have a good mentor — someone who you can take any type of problem to, someone who is encouraging and obviously uses good judgment — and also to ask a lot of questions of anyone that you see in your chosen career field because that's how we learn. We don't just figure it all out on our own.

Who are your role models, and what have they taught you?
I think it would be easier for me to say … just about every woman boss that I have had, beginning with a professor when I had a work-study job in college. The thing that they all taught me was how to balance work-life issues and also how to do a good job. They all had a passion for the work that we did and also wanted to be there for their families.

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