Debra Plant, the director of a mentoring program for disadvantaged high school students, announced yesterday the formation of an exploratory committee to consider a challenge to Baltimore County Councilman Kevin Kamenetz.
A Democrat with experience in commercial and residential redevelopment in the public and private sectors, Plant said she is evaluating her chances in the 2nd District - which includes Pikesville and Randallstown - and developing ideas she would highlight in a campaign.
"We need people to stay here in Baltimore County, but without the proper schools, without basic quality of life issues, they don't have that instinct that this is the greatest place to live," she said. "With new leadership, this can be the greatest place to live."
Plant, 35, said she would focus on improving the quality of county schools, increasing public safety and revitalizing communities.
If elected, she would be the third woman to serve on the County Council. She said her gender would give her a different perspective and priorities.
Plant is a mother of three who grew up in Baltimore County and attended Pikesville High School. She lives in Owings Mills, where she works as director of Building STEPS, a nonprofit mentoring program that seeks to interest high school students in careers in science and technology.
If she runs, Plant would face a strong opponent.
Kamenetz, the incumbent, was unopposed in the Democratic primary in 1998 and won 86 percent of the vote in the general election. He has played a key role in the redrawing of council district maps to reflect 2000 census figures.
Kamenetz's most recent campaign finance report, from November, shows that he had more than $156,000 on hand, roughly twice as much as any other councilman.