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Campaign Launches First Web Video

Over the course of this campaign, Byron continues to develop a platform shaped by the shared values and vision of the people of the 4th Council District. Now, in the campaign’s first web video, listen to Byron share some of his story, why he’s running for County Council, and his values and priorities for Howard County.

Byron Calls for Removal of Confederate Monument

The tragic events of this past weekend in Charlottesville and the steady rise of white supremacist sentiment in our country have sent shockwaves across America and the world. We are called to re-affirm our values and we are called to action.

In Howard County, we believe in the value of each and every person who calls this special place home. We value learning from one another, growing together, and being a part of a diverse, inclusive community. We value civility and treating one another with dignity and respect.

However, for 69 years, Howard County has maintained a monument to a cause that did not reflect our values. That cause was the Confederacy. It was a cause determined to dissolve the United States of America, affirm white supremacy, and perpetuate the enslavement of African Americans. In the words of New Orleans Mayor Mitch Landrieu, “The Confederacy was on the wrong side of history and the wrong side of humanity.”

This monument pays tribute, selectively, to only some who fought and suffered during the Civil War. It ignores the Union soldiers who fought and died and all those who suffered the horrors of slavery. It fails completely to tell the story of Howard County’s Civil War history. This monument is also a painful reminder of the backlash in the 1940s and 1950s against the beginnings of Civil Rights Movement, which led to the construction of monuments to the Confederacy in public spaces across our nation. These monuments were built to send a strong message to show, in Mayor Landrieu’s words, “who was still in charge.” And this monument does not sit on just any public land. Rather, it sits on the grounds of our county courthouse, a place that should be and must be a symbol for justice and equal protection of the law for all of our people.

The question for our community is whether continuing to provide such a prominent perch for this monument, which glorifies the Confederacy and ignores our full history, sends the right message about Howard County and our shared values. The answer to that question is no.

I urge the County Executive and County Council to remove this monument from the grounds of the courthouse. I further suggest that the monument be relocated to a more appropriate site, whether it be a private cemetery or a museum, like the Howard County Historical Society Museum beside the courthouse.

Let’s answer the call to re-affirm our values as the diverse, inclusive community we know and love. And let’s act.

(Click here for the first local news story on this issue, reported by Fox45).

What Matters to You? Take Our Survey.

What matters to you? Byron has never been the kind of candidate who claims to know everything or have all the answers. Instead, he asks people questions to find out matters to them, what’s on their minds, and what’s the best way to improve or fix what’s wrong. As Register of Wills, Byron came into office with plenty of ideas and has implemented a wide array of positive changes. But some of the best ideas he’s been able to implement and many solutions to problems he’s been able to act on have come from people like you. Byron needs your knowledge, your vision and your ideas to fuel this campaign. This election isn’t about any one candidate’s agenda, its about yours. 

 

From the beginning, Byron has promised to make this an inclusive grassroots campaign where everyone in our community has a seat at the table. This will be the first of many efforts he’ll be making during this election to make good on that promise. Please take a minute to complete this survey and be a part of this ongoing dialogue about the future of Columbia and all of Howard County:

 

 

Byron Marches in Longfellow 4th of July Parade

Byron was joined by family, friends, volunteers, and some brand new supporters to walk in the Longfellow community’s 47th annual 4th of July Parade. He was thrilled to see many friends in the neighborhood he first men during his first election as Register of Wills in 2010. He enjoyed reuniting with new supporters who have come on board early in this campaign, and shake the hands of dozens of residents he hopes to represent as their County Council member. Take a moment to look at some photos from this wonderful day in this welcoming, vibrant community:

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Reform continues under Byron’s leadership; latest brings $250,000 in savings to Maryland families

Byron has made it his mission to undo an anachronistic rule that requires the Registers of Wills to send out notices by certified mail. Through research, he determined the total cost for these notices to Maryland families is approximately $250,000 per year. As most people know, a certified letter rarely brings good news and thus many of these notices are returned unclaimed, and the return of a certified letter postcard does not actually prove the intended recipient received the notice. Therefore, Byron worked with his colleagues, the Estates & Trusts Section of the Maryland Bar Association, and pursued this reform relentlessly for the past three years. He is pleased to announce that the Maryland Court of Appeals approved a change to the Maryland Rules which will allow the Registers to send all notices by first-class mail rather than certified. This will, again, bring about $250,000 in savings to Maryland families each year.

This is yet another example of common sense reform that Byron has made the hallmark of his tenure as Register of Wills. As a member of the County Council, the people of Howard County can expect the same steadfast stewardship of our local government, ensuring that it runs in a way that is cost effective, modern, and responsive to the community’s needs.

Byron Touts Record & Commitment to Progressive Leadership in HoCo Times Profile

Earlier this week, the Howard County Times published its first profile on Byron and the race for County Council District 4. Byron touted his proven record of progressive advocacy on issues like marriage equality, protecting our immigrant community, and getting big money out of politics. He also made clear that as a Council member, he’d lead on the difficult issues, including those with national implications: “There are times… in local government when we are going to have to step up.”

Byron also discussed development and growth in Columbia. “The more I talk to people, the more concern I hear that Howard County is unaffordable for people… There’s concern about whether… development is occurring in a way that is shaped by the community’s values.”

While Byron is committed to being a progressive leader on the County Council, he explained his belief that this means “listening to people, respecting where they’re coming from and trying to incorporate their concerns into whatever decision you make.” He’ll be a Council member who will always listen to the people of District 4 and all of Howard County.

Read the full article HERE.

 

Byron Marches in Baltimore Pride Parade with U.S. Sen. Van Hollen, Del. Mary Washington

Baltimore’s Pride celebrations were covered in the Washington Blade. Click the screenshot to read the full story.

On Saturday, June 17, 2017, Byron marched in the Baltimore Gay Pride Parade, which traveled from the neighborhoods of Mt. Vernon to Old Goucher. This was Byron’s 11th Baltimore Pride as an out gay man. “I remember my first Pride, how exhilarating it was to be out of the closet, and how amazing it was to see and meet so many people like me. Experiencing the love and solidarity in this community made coming out easier, has made being out exciting and enriching, and has made the battles we’ve waged for our right to be out and free and equal ones where we’ve succeeded over and over again. Our work goes on and we’ll continue to prove that love and equality will win.”

The Grand Marshals for the parade were U.S. Senator Chris Van Hollen, a longtime ally of the LGBT community, and State Delegate Mary Washington, one of the first African-American lesbian legislators in America. Other LGBT elected officials marching included State Senator Rich Madaleno, the first openly gay state Senator in Maryland history and a candidate for governor, College Park Mayor Patrick Wojahn, and Delegate Luke Clippinger. Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz and Delegate Brooke Lierman were other allies who marched.

Byron Files to Run for Council, Kicks Off Campaign

On Friday, June 9, 2017, Byron Macfarlane officially became a candidate for Howard County Council, District 4. The following day, at the home of two close friends, Bob Fontaine and Doug Lea, Byron kicked off his campaign. He was joined by dozens of supporters, friends, and family, along with County Council Chairman Jon Weinstein (D1), County Council Members Calvin Ball (D2) and Jen Terrasa (D3), State Delegates Clarence Lam (D12), Eric Ebersole (D12), Vanessa Atterbeary (D13), and Frank Turner (D13). Byron talked about his deep Howard County roots, his accomplishments as Register of Wills, his passion for public education, and his commitment to fighting for progressive values while always looking for compromise and collaboration.

Byron’s announcement received the attention of the online news outlet MarylandReporter.com and the local blog, Spartan Considerations.

Washington Blade Highlight’s Byron’s Announcement

Macfarlane announces bid for HoCo Council

May 24, 2017 | by Steve Charing
Byron Macfarlane, gay news, Washington Blade

Byron Macfarlane is running for County Council in Howard.

Byron Macfarlane, Howard County’s Register of Wills and the first openly gay person elected to a countywide office, announced on May 17 a run for County Council. The 4th District for which he will be running covers parts of Columbia, including the villages of Town Center, Wilde Lake, Harper’s Choice, Hickory Ridge, and River Hill as well as Maple Lawn, Highland, and part of North Laurel.

“As Register of Wills, I’ve been working to make a positive change in people’s lives for over six years,” Macfarlane said in a statement.  “I love my job but it’s time for me to make a change.”

Macfarlane, 34, notes that the timing is right given the uncertain times and the coarsening of the political system.

“After 18 years of political activism, I can tell you that each of us does, indeed, have the power to make positive change,” he said. “In the 2018 election, we can and must stand together for our shared progressive values, and choose the future that we want for ourselves and the next generation.”

Macfarlane, a Democrat, was elected as Register of Wills in 2010, narrowly defeating the six-term Republican incumbent Kay Hartleb. He won re-election in 2014 running unopposed.

His tenure at that position has been marked by a technological overhaul of his office and legislative initiatives aimed at making the probate process more streamlined and less expensive for Maryland families.

“I stepped out of my formal role to advocate for progressive causes, such as marriage equality, protecting the immigrant population from Donald Trump, and campaign finance reform that would get big money out of local elections,” Macfarlane told the Blade.

His campaign for County Council will officially kick off on June 10.

(See the original post on the Washington Blade website here)

Byron’s Campaign Kick-Off

Byron’s Campaign Kick-Off

Join Delegates Clarence Lam and Vanessa Atterbeary, along with hosts Bob Fontaine and Doug Lea, to kick off Byron’s campaign for Howard County Council, District 4.

When: June 10, 2017 (12:00pm – 1:30pm)

Where: 10964 Eight Bells Lane, Columbia, MD 21044

This event is free, however, contributions are appreciated. Please make any checks payable to “Friends of Byron Macfarlane”.

Authority: Friends of Byron Macfarlane, Charles Bubeck, Treasurer.

RSVP on Facebook here:  https://www.facebook.com/events/695763653928612