I am a Mount Hebron Viking, Class of ‘89—just in time to be part of Hebron’s first-ever girls’ lacrosse team. My undergraduate degree is in Civil Engineering. I attended Georgia Tech on scholarship, as a National Merit Scholar, and graduated with honors in 1993. In 1997, I went back to school, to become a lawyer. I graduated from Georgetown Law, also with honors, in 2000. I am the product of public schools, many, many of them. I am an Army brat. Patapsco Middle School—where I landed in eighth grade—was my sixth since kindergarten. (Go ahead and ask my Dad about German preschool before that, I dare you.) When it came time to raise my own family, I booked it straight back to Ellicott City, to where my Mom and Dad still live in the house behind the old Enchanted Forest, to the town and the schools my younger sisters and brother grew up in. So that my kids would have a physical permanence, a longevity that hadn’t been part of my own childhood. I didn’t know then, what I do now, that even in our tightest-knit neighborhoods, especially in District 1, our kids are just as likely to get moved in and out of schools, separated from friends and neighbors and trusted educators, just as much as I was. My own babies are now 8 and 5. This County’s very youngest constituents are why I’m in this race.
For nearly twenty years now, I am a construction lawyer. I draft and negotiate contracts to design, build and manage construction projects. I advise general contractors and project owners as to what their contracts say, what the law says, and what that means they can and probably shouldn’t do. Depending on what’s at hand, I can be a collaborative problem-solver dedicated to preserving long-standing business relationships, or I can be the fiercest advocate. Before law school and over summers in college, I was a project engineer for a national general contractor. I bid and ran construction projects in the field. Wearing a hard hat. Shooting grades. Tracking spreadsheets and schedules inside the hottest or the coldest trailer in the world (depending on the season). And there was definitely a prickly, wicked-smart superintendent always leaning over my desk. If all my projects had been like my last one—rebuilding an old-time swinging bridge over the Cedar Creek in Slaughter Beach, Delaware—I probably never would have applied to law school. From this hard, hard work, I learned pragmatism, efficiency and an insistence on concrete and timely deliverables. This professional background will serve our County well: as local government undertakes a comprehensive re-working of its land-use laws and zoning plan, and as Developers continue to pursue Council approval to veer from them. I know the law. I read the plans. I do the math. (My first job ever? The Sizzler on Route 40, where the Burger King is now.)