Owens heads the county's leadership

May 14, 2006|BY A SUN REPORTER

Anne Arundel County overhauled its government in the 1960s, creating distinct legislative and executive branches. The county executive, currently a Democrat, controls the executive branch, and a seven-member County Council, which is now Republican-controlled, holds the legislative authority.

Council members, who each represent a geographic district, are part-time officials. They meet at the Arundel Center, 44 Calvert St., Annapolis, at 7 p.m. on the first and third Mondays of each month.

Janet S. Owens, county executive

Owens, the county's sixth executive, is wrapping up her second and final term in the county's top political office.

The Millersville Democrat was born and raised on a South County farm. She earned a bachelor's degree from George Washington University and a master's in education administration from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst.

She previously served as director of the Anne Arundel County Housing Authority and director Of the Department of Aging. In 1990, she was elected an Orphans' Court judge.

Eight years later, she won a surprising victory in the Democratic primary and endured a contentious election to win the county's top post. She narrowly won re-election in 2002. She is considering a run for Congress.

Pamela G. Beidle, Council District 1

Beidle, a Democrat from Linthicum, represents the far northern part of the county. She is one of three council members who have switched party affiliations. Before running for office, she was a Republican.

The second-term councilwoman is a Glen Burnie native who graduated from Archbishop Spalding High School in Severn and Anne Arundel Community College in Arnold. She earned a bachelor's degree from Towson University.

She is a Nationwide Insurance agent and president of Pam Beidle Insurance Agency.

Beidle has announced that she will run for state delegate.

C. Edward Middlebrooks, Council District 2

Middlebrooks is serving his second term on the council after an eight-year hiatus. The Severn lawyer's district includes that area, as well as parts of Glen Burnie, straddling Interstate 97.

When Middlebrooks served on the council from 1990 to 1994, he was a Democrat. In 1994, he switched to the Republican Party and won a four-year term in the state Senate. After a few years out of politics, he defeated the Democratic incumbent from District 2 in November 2002.

Middlebrooks graduated from Glen Burnie High School and holds a law degree from the University of Baltimore.

Ronald C. Dillon Jr., Council District 3

The Republican accountant and newly elected council chairman represents Pasadena and northeastern Anne Arundel. Serving his first term, he is one of two members who defeated an incumbent in the 2002 election.

Dillon is controller of his family's charter service, Dillon's Bus Service, based in Millersville. He graduated from Glen Burnie High School and the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.

He is likely to seek re-election to his council seat.

Bill D. Burlison, Council District 4

Burlison, a former congressman from Missouri, has been elected twice from a western county district that includes Millersville and the Laurel area. It also stretches east to Crownsville.

The Democrat is known for knocking on the doors of all registered voters in his district before each election.

Burlison served six terms in Congress before being defeated in 1980. After several unsuccessful campaigns for local office, he defeated the incumbent Republican councilman for Anne Arundel's 4th District seat in 1998.

He announced a run for Congress last year but pulled out after four months.

He is a lawyer and lives in Odenton.

Cathleen M. Vitale, Council District 5

The Republican lawyer was appointed to the council in 2000 after the death of a councilman who had defeated her in the 1998 primary election. She represents the Severna Park and Cape St. Claire areas.

Vitale graduated from the University of Maryland and earned a law degree from the University of Baltimore.

She began her political career handing out fliers on Long Island, N.Y. The daughter of an engineer and a schoolteacher, Vitale - who is married to a county firefighter - has lived in Severna Park since 1974.

She has announced that she will seek a second full term on the council.

She works as a family law attorney in Glen Burnie and specializes in mediation.

Barbara D. Samorajczyk, Council District 6

The Democrat ran unopposed for re-election in 2002. She first ran for elected office in 1998 when she captured her Annapolis-area seat.

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A former Republican, Samorajczyk previously worked as a land-use lawyer before she became an environmental activist.

She graduated from the University of Maryland and holds a law degree from Georgetown University and a master's in business administration from George Washington University.

Samorajczyk switched parties in 1998 to run for the council. She is known for her sometimes lengthy quizzing of county officials during council meetings.

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