County Executive Calvin Ball and all five members of the Howard County Council were sworn into their second terms in office Monday night. All six county leaders were reelected last month, and all but one are Democrats.
Ball, 47, a resident of Oakland Mills in Columbia, became the first African-American to be elected county executive in 2018. The Democrat defeated then-County Executive Allan Kittleman, a Republican, and then won their rematch in November.
Ball earns an annual salary of $221,475 from the county.
“We come together tonight during a serious moment in our history,” Ball said after taking the oath of office. “A pivotal moment and a new beginning. Tonight is not about a victory of a person or a party. Rather, tonight is a ceremony. It is a celebration of opportunity.”
The five-member County Council was sworn in as a group. They are Democrats Elizabeth “Liz” Walsh of District 1, Opel Jones of District 2, Christiana Rigby of District 3, and Deb Jung of District 4, and Republican David Yungmann of District 5. All five were first elected to the council in 2018.
Following the swearing-in, the council elected Rigby its chairperson and Jung vice-chair.
Each council member earns a salary of $73,663 and the council chair earns an additional $3,500 annually.
Walsh thanked friends and family in her speech.
“By no means is this job part-time,” she said. “I am so lucky to have family so close and so caring, to swoop in, and around us every single time we need them to, and we want them to. We are so very, very lucky and loved.”
Jones represents part of Elkridge, the Columbia villages of Oakland Mills, Long Reach, and parts of Owen Brown, and Ellicott City communities such as Wheatfield, Brampton Parkway, Rockburn, and Ilchester.
“What a difference four years makes,” he said. “I’m honored and humbled to stand in front of you once again. Four years ago, I was given the gift of serving and leading on a broader scale, a gift I have not taken for granted. I’m extremely proud to serve the community, my constituents, and Howard County as a whole.
Rigby, whose district includes Owen Brown, Kings Contrivance and communities in North Laurel, Savage and Jessup, emphasized the council’s work in increasing school funding, transportation safety, housing affordability, and support for working families during its first term.
“Over the last several years, I have thought deeply about what it means to live in community and lead with a shared purpose,” Rigby said. “I believe now more than ever that identifying our shared purpose, and building community together is precisely what is required of each of us, if we are to solve the problems of our time.”
Jung’s district covers Wilde Lake, Harper’s Choice, Hickory Ridge, Town Center and River Hill, as well as parts of Clarksville, Highland, Fulton, and North Laurel.
“I promised several things when I was installed four years ago. I stated that I would do my best to find solutions to everyday problems, preserve our environment, support the most vulnerable among us, maintain and improve our infrastructure, support our school system, and most importantly listen to the residents of District 4 and Howard County,” Jung said.
“The past four years, I’ve accomplished many of these goals with my votes and legislative initiatives that increased school funding, strengthened forest conservation laws, and sponsored building requirements to reduce the hazards of glass on migrating birds,” she said.
Yungmann is the only incumbent Republican on the council. His district covers about 50% of the land area of Howard County, including Highland, Woodbine, Glenwood, Mount Airy, Woodstock, Cooksville, West Friendship, Dayton, Glenelg and parts of Ellicott City, Fulton, Clarksville and Sykesville.
“Government and leading people with a lot of different perspectives is all about compromise and balance, and trying to find that middle. We can protect our environment without destroying our economy. We can make schools a safe place for every student without politicizing our classrooms. And, we can control growth without ignoring property rights. There are solutions in the middle that balance all those things,” he said.