Harford County Executive Barry Glassman – the last Republican in charge of a “Big Eight” jurisdiction in Maryland – was sworn in to a second term Monday, touting bipartisanship and a robust agenda.
The seven-member County Council – six Republicans and one Democrat – was also sworn in Monday. Three councilmen – Andre V. Johnson (D), Anthony Giangiordano (R) and Robert S. Wagner (R) – are new, while Councilman Patrick S. Vincenti (R) has been elevated by the voters to the position of Council president this term.
Also sworn in: Holdover Councilmen Joseph M. Woods, Chad R. Shrodes and Curtis L. Beulah, all Republicans.
According to a transcript and video of Glassman’s remarks, the county executive began by quoting his favorite president, Abraham Lincoln – and promising brevity.
“‘At this second appearing to take the oath of office, there is less occasion for an extended address than there was at the first,’ – which translated means we are in better shape and it can be a little shorter,” Glassman said, channeling the 16th president.
Glassman also recounted some of the trials of his first term.
“There is little doubt in my mind that if I knew what I was walking into four years ago, I may not be here today,” he said. “But history tells me that God does not lead his children around hardship. He leads them straight through it, and our last four years have brought us through tragedies and difficult days. We have seen national violence come to our doorstep for the first time and the loss of our traditional innocence. I think Sheriff [Jeffrey] Gahler and I will always be bound by those days, but we have both seen that the light of Harford County’s communities has outshined the darkness.”
Glassman talked about bringing the county out of its economic doldrums, providing raises to public employees and enhancing county services — without raising taxes.
“Nearly all new ongoing revenue was directed to education and public safety,” he said.
Glassman also provided a look-ahead to his priorities for the next term in Bel Air:
— Completing a 24/7 crisis center for addiction and behavioral health. “We have been a recognized leader in the opioid battle since my inauguration four years ago and we are still advancing on the prevention and recovery fronts,” he said. “My hope is that we begin to see more victories by the end of my term. I also plan to shine a light on mental wellness and fight at the state and national level to have parity of accessibility and coverage.”
— Building out the Advanced Manufacturing Materials, and Processing center, part of the National Center for Manufacturing Sciences, in Aberdeen. “It brings a future of jobs for our young people, new technology to protect our freedom fighters and a host of 3-D printing opportunities with composite materials,” Glassman said.
— Completion of the Ma and Pa Trail, a multiple-use trail along a section of the old Maryland and Pennsylvania Railroad.
— Strengthening the county’s partnership with Harford Community College to establish a workforce and vocational opportunity in southern Harford County; and establishing a high-speed day hub in northern Harford to bring internet service to the rural areas of the county.
Glassman said he hoped to use his status as incoming president of the Maryland Association of Counties to lobby the state “for much needed road and infrastructure investment and increased funding for opioid treatment and recovery efforts.”
Glassman ended his speech by quoting Robert Kennedy on the night the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated.
“What we need in the United States is not violence and lawlessness, but love, wisdom and compassion,” he said.