I grew up right here in Howard County. I went to public schools. I own a home here and have the privilege of working for the people of this county as their elected Register of Wills. I’m running for County Council because I love Howard County and want to work for the people of the 4th Council District to shape our shared future in this community.

This election is about what kind of future we want to build together for Howard County. It’s about the values that bind us together that will guide us through tough decisions ahead. James Rouse, Columbia’s founder, said he built this city to “uplift, inspire, stimulate, and develop, the best” in us. What can we do here in Columbia and across Howard County, on every street, in every neighborhood, and within each town and village, to foster that same commitment to our communal well-being and success? The answer to this critical question is not an easy or simple one.

I’ve been active in local politics since I was 16 years old and have seen many candidates come and go. I am just as tired as you are of politicians who ask for your vote but offer only boilerplate, copy-and-paste platforms that don’t really say anything and leave you, the voter, with more questions than answers. I think you deserve better than that. My platform should be a reflection of our values and vision, not just mine. So right now, I want to hear from you. I’m running to be your representative on the County Council and I’ll serve you best by knowing what matters to you and what your hopes are for our shared future. Over the course of this campaign, after hearing from voters like you, I’ll be sharing the plans we’ve crafted together.

I’ve never been a typical candidate. I ran for office for the first time when I was just 27 years old. I took on an entrenched incumbent who was supposed to be unbeatable. But by running a grassroots campaign focused on people’s needs, not on politics or politicians, we beat the odds. I became the first LGBT elected official in Howard County history and have made sweeping reforms that have made a real impact in people’s lives. None of this happened because of setting the bar low or coasting along doing the bare minimum. It happened because I have been bold, unwavering, and accountable delivering real results to the people of Howard County

For now, I want to tell you that I’m committed to making Howard County continue to be a great place to raise a family, live, work, and retire with dignity. I will fight for public schools that give every child the education and opportunity they deserve. I’ll protect our environment. I’ll continue to advocate for a fairer, more just, more equal future for everyone. I’ll work to build communities where health and wellness are a top priority. I’ll work to build a real public transit system and support our first responders. I’ll support smart growth in our county, where our public facilities keep up with growing needs, and developers pay their fair share. I’ll work with the private sector to entice new investment and create new job opportunities. And I’ll put my record of innovation and dedicated service to use to better connect people with their government and be your advocate.

These are my values. I believe in a future for Columbia and all of Howard County, where we give everyone the chance to succeed, where we lift everyone up and build strong communities.

“What ought to be, can be.” 50 years after the founding of Columbia, Mr. Rouse’s words remind us to think big and be bold. Let’s summon that same optimism and courage, let’s shape the next 50 years, and let’s build a brighter future for everyone who calls Howard County home.