Former County Councilwoman Courtney Watson is expected to announce today plans to run for the Maryland House of Delegates District 9B seat.
The seat primarily represents Ellicott City, as well as some of Elkridge. It's currently held by Republican Robert Flanagan, who has been in office since 2015.
Flanagan said he will make an announcement Sept. 14 about his plans for reelection. He has not yet filed for reelection with the Maryland State Board of Elections.
Watson, a Democrat, ran for county executive in 2014, narrowly losing to Republican Allan Kittleman.
A Clarksville native, Watson said that despite believing she would never run for public office again, she felt the need to jump back into politics after growing increasingly concerned about the national political climate and direction, and the effect it could have on Maryland's residents.
"We need a stronger advocate for Ellicott City at the state level," Watson said. "We need people who are effective and will roll up their sleeves. I've done that time and again for Ellicott City, and now more than ever I feel a need and responsibility to put my experience to work."
Watson said she was particularly concerned about the school system in Howard County, and ensuring the county maintained enough school sites to match its growing population, something she feels the county has fallen behind in doing. If elected, Watson said she would work to have the state help the county acquire more land for school sites.
"Local school boards are struggling to find sites, and I feel as though the state could help the county and/or require that they have sites set aside for the growing population," she said.
Health care is also a major issue for Watson, who worries about how possible changes to the Affordable Care Act could affect Marylanders.
"If our Affordable Care Act falls apart or Congress cannot come up with a solution to it, we're going to need to come up with a solution in Maryland to help our citizens, and I would like to be able to help with that," she said.
Watson, vice president of sales for the insurance company Rossmann-Hurt-Hoffman Inc. in Ellicott City, served on the county council for eight years, beginning in 2006. Since running for county executive, Watson has remained a frequent voice on advocacy issues, establishing the local activist organization Do the Most Good.
"I am somebody who takes action and I've done that in this community," Watson said. "We need a strong voice in Annapolis, and I feel like I can be effective."
So far, it appears Watson will face off against Democrat Daniel Medinger in next June's primary election. Medinger ran for the District 9 state Senate seat in 2014, losing to Republican Gail Bates.
Medinger owns the communications firm Advertising Media Plus and recently served as president of the Ellicott City Western Howard Democratic Club. He also serves on the board of the Chamber of Commerce, Rebuilding Together Howard County and the Community Foundation of Howard County.
"I'm very good at listening and I'm very good at consensus. I get things done," Medinger said. "That comes from being a small business owner. I intend to bring [that] down to Annapolis."
Medinger said he was focused on the environment, and working to bring more solar and renewable energies to the state. He also said he wanted to help provide residents with a "21st-century education system."
Feeling a call to do greater public service, Medinger said he was motivated to run because he wants to bring new perspective and ideas to state government.
"People want new people, they want new voices," Medinger said. "The same people doing the same things are not going to get us new results."