Four years ago, Anne Arundel County Executive Janet S. Owens promised to protect farmland, improve education and live up to high standards every day of her stewardship.
At her second inaugural event, set to take place today at the Chesapeake Center for the Creative Arts in Brooklyn Park, the Democrat is expected to draw upon the same themes in outlining an aggressive agenda for the next four years.
Owens will take the oath of office - which is the same for every elected official, judge and political appointee in the county - from Circuit Court Clerk Robert P. Duckworth.
U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski will offer remarks and Cardinal William H. Keeler, archbishop of Baltimore, will give the benediction.
As part of her re-election campaign, Owens promised to double the amount of land set aside for permanent preservation and to use helicopter patrols to protect woods and creeks from degradation by construction projects.
She has said she wants to "grab the prize" of a AAA bond rating, the highest on Wall Street, to cut the cost of financing school and road projects.
"In four years, we have done so much," Owens said in a speech during her re-election bid. "But so much more remains to be done. At the end of the next four years, our legacy will be ... that Anne Arundel County is the best in Maryland."
Owens declined requests by The Sun to be interviewed for this article.
Seven council members, including four incumbents, will take their oath of office at a ceremony at the Arundel Center in Annapolis tomorrow.
"The ceremony goes back to our constitution," said Duckworth, who will also officiate at the council event. Its drafters believed that state elected officials should also swear allegiance to the newly formed federal government, he explained.
"It's a very special oath," said Duckworth, who has sworn in about 1,000 elected officials, judges and political appointees in his past two terms. "They swear to abide by the U.S. and the state constitutions in performing the duties of their office."
Council member Pamela G. Beidle, a Linthicum Democrat, said she is looking forward to the swearing-in, even though she has been through it before.
"It is still a beginning," she said. "It is a new council and a new agenda. It is totally exciting."
After the 3 p.m. ceremony, council members will have a few hours to celebrate with family and friends before they convene for their first meeting at 7 p.m.
The meeting, while short on legislative business, will be an important one because they will choose a chairman and a co-chairman who will lead the elected body for the next year.
Council member Cathleen M. Vitale, a Republican from Severna Park who won election last month (she had filled the vacancy created by the death of council member Cliff Roop in 2000), and council member-elect C. Edward Middlebrooks, a Severna Park Republican who served on the council from 1990 to 1994 as a Democrat, are expected to be elected chairwoman and vice chairman, respectively.
Council member-elect Ron Dillon Jr., a Republican from Pasadena, said Wednesday that he might miss the council activities tomorrow - he and his wife are awaiting the arrival of their first child.
"I guess it is up to Mother Nature to decide that," Dillon said. "I think we will be fine. Anyway, it adds some more drama to the event."