Skip to main content
Government & Politics

Brooke Lierman ready for ‘awesome responsibility’ as she prepares to be sworn in as Maryland comptroller

Just after Election Day, Comptroller-elect Brooke Lierman (D) discusses her plans for the post, while outgoing Comptroller Peter V.R. Franchot looks on. Photo by Danielle E. Gaines.

After Brooke Lierman raises her right hand and recites the oath of office as comptroller Monday, she doesn’t know what she’ll do immediately afterward.

“I [don’t] know exactly what I will do, what will happen, or what it will feel like,” she said during an interview Friday. “I have to imagine it will feel overwhelming, joyous and slightly terrifying all at the same time. It’s an awesome responsibility that Marylanders are giving to me and I don’t take that lightly.”

The Democrat from Baltimore, who served in the House of Delegates for eight years, will be the state’s first woman elected to the position and to an independent state government office.

The 3 p.m. swearing-in ceremony will take place outside of the Goldstein Treasury Building in Annapolis. According to the state’s Constitution, that comptroller must “enter on the duties of his [or her] office on the third Monday of January…” Because the Constitution-mandated date falls on Martin Luther King. Jr. Day, Lierman will spend the morning before her swearing-in at a service event in the city of Baltimore.

Besides family, friends and colleagues who plan to attend the outdoor inauguration, two well-known women are expected to give remarks: former U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski (D) and Prince George’s County Executive Angela Alsobrooks (D).

Mikulski, a Baltimore native, was the longest serving woman ever in Congress: from 1977 to 1987 in the House of Representatives and 1987 until her retirement in 2017 in the Senate. She also was the first woman elected to represent Maryland in the Senate.

Lierman chose Alsobrooks, the first woman elected as county executive in Prince George’s County, as an honorary chair on the transition team.

The comptroller-elect already has a list of priorities for the office, which has more than 1,000 employees but a myriad of vacancies in various divisions.

For instance, Lierman plans to ask the legislature for money to hire several attorneys to conduct “high-level” audits of companies that require sophisticated tax expertise.

Another priority will be ensuring staff, who “are underpaid and show up to work not guaranteed parking,” receive the necessary resources to do their job effectively.

Other priorities include hiring technology personnel to maintain and update the comptroller’s website, and reviewing contracts that come before the Maryland Board of Public Works to ensure state agencies meet the minority business enterprise goals.

“I will be working hard to ensure that I am fighting for more resources for the employees in the office and that we’re creating more healthier and more productive workspace as well,” Lierman said. “That is all about making sure that we can serve the people of Maryland better.”

The comptroller’s seat became open when Peter Franchot (D) decided to seek the Democratic gubernatorial nomination in the July primary election. He served as comptroller since 2007.

Lierman praised the Democratic team of Gov.-elect Wes Moore, Lt. Gov.-elect Aruna Miller and Attorney General Anthony Brown for also making history as the first people of color elected to their respective positions.

“We’re all breaking barriers together,” she said. “Maryland voters said, ‘We’re ready to break these barriers and elect these high-quality people…because they are right for the moment and right for the jobs.’”

Del. Stephanie Smith (D-Baltimore City), chair of the city’s House delegation, said her fellow Baltimorean also deserves some credit.

She summarized how Lierman gained financial knowledge serving on the House Appropriations Committee and as House chair on the Joint Committee on Pensions.

“I think that it really means a lot to not only me as a woman in Maryland, but…also seeing a woman in a statewide elected role. We don’t see that very often in this state,” Smith said. “I know that she’s not going to pull up the ladder behind her now that she’s ascended. She wants to continue to reach out and reach back to the next generation of young women.”