Sykesville lawmaker to run for commission


Jeannie Nichols, a Sykesville councilwoman, will announce her intention to run for county commissioner today.

Nichols, 44, is the second Democrat to announce her candidacy for the three-member board. Neil Ridgely of Finksburg filed last month.

Nichols will hold a news conference on the steps of the County Office Building in Westminster at 2 p.m. today. The commissioners will be in the building at the same time considering a contentious zoning ordinance that could promote sprawl. Nichols has been an outspoken critic of the ordinance and an advocate for open government.

"I believe in a county where all parties work together to find solutions to common problems," she said. "This starts with the commissioners working together with each other, sharing information with their staff and allowing the staff to do their jobs."

She said she would work for cooperation and openness in all areas of government and public participation in decisions on growth.

"Advance knowledge of growth areas would allow the school system to better plan their facilities and utilize teachers and facilities more efficiently," she said.

The mother of four children who attend public schools, Nichols has been a county resident for eight years and is serving her second term on the Sykesville council. She works on the capital budget committee and is council liaison to the Parks and Recreation Committee. She holds a bachelor of science degree in agriculture from the University of Maryland, College Park and recently completed a leadership seminar on growth issues.

In addition to Ridgely, incumbent Commissioner Julia Walsh Gouge, a Republican who garnered the most votes in the last election for commissioner; Dean Minnich, also a Republican; and George Murphy, of the Green Party, have declared their candidacies. The primary is Sept. 10 and the general election is Nov. 5.

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