John G. Gary, calling himself "a poor boy from Green Haven," fulfilled his version of the American dream yesterday as he took the oath as Anne Arundel's fifth county executive.
Mr. Gary, 50, a draper who was elected to the House of Delegates 12 years ago, was sworn in before a crowd of about 800 in the Anne Arundel Community College gymnasium. The oath was administered by Circuit Court Clerk Robert P. Duckworth, with Mr. Gary's wife, Ruthanne, holding the family Bible.
Mr. Gary, a Republican, defeated Democrat Theodore J. Sophocleus in the Nov. 8 election.
"This is indeed a great day in my life, and I want to thank each and every one of you for your time, your effort, your money and your dedication to my campaign and my election," Mr. Gary told the gathering of mostly Republican supporters, including unsuccessful gubernatorial candidate Ellen R. Sauerbrey.
"You elevated to the highest office in this county the son of a U.S. Navy chief warrant officer," he said. "Who would have thought that a poor boy from Green Haven could have risen to the leadership of a county of 450,000 residents?"
Mr. Gary acknowledged that he faces a tough job in leading a government with revenues limited by a voter-approved property tax cap and possible declines in state aid.
Earlier, departing County Executive Robert R. Neall, who did not run for re-election, gave his farewell.
Mr. Neall gave Mr. Gary a mirror and said, "John, I want to give you my most prized possession. This is a magical device. It will tell you who is to blame, who is right, who is wrong, who is responsible, who you can trust. And I want you to have it."