Calvin Ball was sworn in as Howard’s county executive last night.
Ball represented Oakland Mills and Columbia on the County Council for 12 years. He is the first African American, nonwhite person to hold the office. The Democrat in November unseated incumbent Republican Executive Allan Kittleman.
Ball throughout the campaign pinned himself an opponent of Kittleman’s plan to mitigate flooding in historic Ellicott City. As councilman, he voted against the three bills that partially funded the $50 million plan which required the county to acquire and raze 13 buildings in the town to widen stream beds. Since the election, he has declined to say if the county will acquire the buildings slated for demolition. He previously said he intends to keep the timeline of upstream projects.
Ball in an interview after the speech said he plans to address funding for mitigation in Ellicott City in the upcoming budget cycle. He declined to specify when he will make public his vision for the historic mill town.
His 10-minute speech was delivered to the full 750-seat auditorium in Howard High School.
Here is the transcript provided by his office:
Thank you, my friends. It is so good to be here with you.
I would not be standing here if it were not for the abundant faith, trust, and support of so many.
First and foremost, my incredible “Introducer In Chief,” “The Fabulous First Lady of Howard County,” and my “Spectacular Supporter” and best friend, my wife Shani.
My amazing A-Team of daughters, Alexis and Alyssa, who have been there for me unconditionally even as they grow and become fierce leaders of tomorrow.
My beloved parents, who while they couldn’t be here in person, are home watching and here with me always in spirit.
My dedicated team – at the council, and on the campaign trail. You truly are my family, and I would not be here today if it weren’t for you.
Everyone who participated in this Democratic process and gave your time and treasure to help all of us serve our community.
Allan Kittleman, and the Kittleman family, for your years of service to Howard County.
All of the other candidates who had the courage to put yourselves and your families out there to do what you could to help others.
The residents of Howard County for making your voices heard in this process, putting your faith in me and for partnering with all of us for a responsible, responsive government.
I thank you for the trust you have placed in me.
I am honored to be the County Executive for ALL of Howard County
For Columbia, born from a vision of inclusion; ripe for a renaissance of revitalization.
For an Elkridge with historic roots that run deeper than most communities in America yet can be an American example for the infrastructure and public facilities for tomorrow
For an Ellicott City who will not be defined by floods but who, with me as your champion, will become a national model for unity, safety, strength, and resilience.
For every farmer and all of our neighbors in western Howard County, we can become the best example of embracing the future of agriculture and quality of life for rural communities.
I’m honored to be County Executive for all of Howard County – from Jessup to North Laurel, Scaggsville, Highland, Dayton, West Friendship, Woodstock, Glenelg, and every corner of our great county.
I am honored to be your representative and tireless advocate.
And I commit to you that I will do so with innovation, transparency, proactive and sensible leadership that remains rooted in the values and quality of life that we all cherish.
As we all know and feel, our country is shifting. Our nation is at a true crossroads, perhaps the most significant in our lifetime. The very fabric of who we are is being tested.
Howard County has deeply rooted values of inclusion, equity, responsible stewardship of our resources, and prosperity for all. With our will and our ethos, we can be a beacon of light shining brightly as a model of hope.
At this important juncture, I am reminded of the notable excerpt from A Tale of Two Cities, in which Charles Dickens discusses the contradictions between life in London and life in France.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us.”
This, my friends, is the challenge of America today. I know that we can emanate hope and light for the nation. I know that together, we can.
I know that together, we can make sure that everyone in Howard County has access to high quality and affordable education opportunities from pre-K all the way through college and beyond. By continuing to support and prioritize innovative learning efforts in our school system, Howard Community College, and through our libraries.
I know that together, we can make progress on building much needed schools while redistricting in a way that keeps neighborhoods together, because we all want to combat school overcrowding and class size increases. And foster the best teaching and learning environment for all of our children and educators.
I know that together, we can ensure that all Howard County residents have access to affordable healthcare and critical emergency services.
I know that together, we can become models for energy independence and innovation that preserves open spaces and take seriously the increasing frequency and severity of bad weather in a way that respects our history and our tax dollars.
I know that together, we can all become more prosperous and create a more business friendly environment of economic growth that promotes local businesses while fighting for private sector jobs that pay a living wage and have the kind of working conditions that we’d all want our loved ones to experience.
I know that together, we can help our sisters and brothers fighting addiction or facing mental health challenges or fighting homelessness without the stigma and while embracing compassion and dignity.
And I know that together, we can mourn our fallen family members who serve as first responders, such as Nate, God rest his soul, and still recognize the importance of appropriate staffing and work diligently to make improvements so that we demonstrate that public safety is a priority and those who keep us safe are too priorities.
Let’s create the best of times, expanding opportunity for all.
Let’s celebrate the age of wisdom, ensuring all of our children have access the best public education which not only challenges them and encourages them to innovate, but also prepares them for their very best future.
Let’s be that epoch of belief about a reality of equality and inclusion for all, rejecting racism, Anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, misogyny, homophobia, ageism, discrimination and hate in all forms.
Let’s foster a spring of hope, being the best place to live, raise our families, and improve the quality of life for all of our residents.
We do have everything before us because we needn’t be two cities of contradiction and disparity.
Together, let’s cultivate a unified, cohesive Howard County for all of us!
God bless you, God bless Howard County, and God bless America.
Throughout December and January Ball will host seven listening tours. The first occurs next Monday in Columbia. He will also host a meeting on the budget next Wednesday at the George Howard office building in Ellicott City.