Planning nominee set for balancing act

Howard County

February 14, 2005|BY A SUN STAFF WRITER

Jennifer R. Terrasa describes herself as a "multitasker." She better be right.

Terrasa has been nominated to the Howard County Planning Board, and her confirmation is expected early next month. That's the easy part.

After that, she'll have to display the dexterity of a circus juggler, balancing her government responsibilities with those of two jobs, raising three young children and serving on two community boards.

The amazing thing is, Terrasa isn't daunted.

"I guess I'm not really concerned about it," she said. "I have handled many things at once before."

Indeed, she was at the moment: answering a reporter's questions while simultaneously folding clothes, removing a DVD disc that one of the children had shoved into the VCR machine and comforting another who had been struck by a Spider-Man toy.

County Executive James N. Robey nominated Terrasa to the Planning Board to replace Gary L. Kaufman, who had served on the board about 10 years.

While his resignation is effective March 1, Kaufman's final meeting was Feb. 3.

Terrasa will be the second person named to the five-member board in the past three months. David Grabowski was chosen in November to fill a vacancy that had existed since March.

The selection process was headed by Herman Charity, executive assistant to Robey.

Charity said he was impressed by Terrasa's involvement in the community and described her as a person who "can be objective and make a decision that will be fair for all of Howard County."

Terrasa, 35, was born in New York, but she has lived most of her life in Columbia, where the family moved after her father, a computer scientist, accepted a job in 1972.

She and her husband graduated from the University of Baltimore School of Law, where Terrasa now teaches. She also works part time for the Women's Law Center of Maryland Inc., which provides free legal assistance to those unable to hire an attorney.

Terrasa is former president of a homeowners association but still sits on its board, and she is a member of the Kings Contrivance Village board.

Public service is a vital part of what drives her. "I've seen many hurdles that Columbia has gotten over, and Howard County as well," she said. "The strength is in the people who care what happens. I wouldn't feel as part of my community if I wasn't involved."

She will approach her duties on the Planning Board cautiously. "I'm at the very beginning of that process," she said. "I'm there to listen and to learn and to contribute my judgment."

Ensuring the well-being of the county is essential to Terrasa. "I grew up in Howard County," she said. "I'm raising my children here. I want it to prosper and be a place where my kids would return and raise their children."

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