Ulman calls for all to do better

Social and environment justice called centerpiece of administration

December 06, 2006|by a sun reporter

Ken Ulman was sworn in as the eighth county executive with a pledge to "do the public's good" and bridge the gap "between where we are today as a society and where we know we should be."

In a 9-minute, 51-second address before a packed audience in the Centennial High School auditorium Monday evening, Ulman sounded a theme of social and environmental justice in which he proclaimed that it is the public's obligation, not just government's, to improve the life of every resident.

"As a county fortunate to have such human and capital resources, we have a responsibility to lead the way, because with such blessings come such responsibilities," he said.

"We go further," Ulman said. "We know that a gap exists - and to a certain extent will always exist - between where we are today as a society and where we know we should be. Together we must constantly strive to bridge that gap.

"Government cannot do it alone. But working together with our business community, our nonprofit partners and, most especially, our citizenry, we can strive to close that gap."

Ulman, 32, promised that his administration will be "efficient, accountable, transparent and innovative," and vowed to work "as a team" with the County Council.

But Ulman's speech was mainly a call to arms to make the county better.

"Howard County is a community, not a crowd," he said. "And we must continue to foster the community mind-set. In a community we all struggle amongst ourselves to get ahead - and some of us do get ahead. But we recognize that we can't truly get ahead unless we're all moving forward together.

"It's important for all of us to make sure that every single child has the opportunity to live his or her dreams," Ulman added. "We must strive to see that every single school in Howard County is a great school, not only the schools where our children and grandchildren may attend. We must strive to see that every neighborhood is a safe neighborhood, not simply the neighborhood where we may live. Democracy of community can only thrive when we are all secure."

He said the county must be a leader in solving society's problems, including public health and the environment.

"We can lead the way on the environment, through green technology by successfully balancing our land use pressures ... and leave to our children a planet that is in better shape than how we found it," he said.

Ulman's wife, Jackie, introduced him by declaring: "Ken is so committed to social justice, so committed to celebrating diversity, acceptance and opportunity for all, he has helped instill this in our children. These values guide every decision Ken makes as a husband, a father and as a public servant and I know these same values will drive every decision he makes as county executive."

Several hundred people attended the 90-minuteceremony, including Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, Rep. Elijah E. Cummings and Martin O'Malley, Baltimore's mayor and the governor-elect.

The County Council also was sworn in: Courtney Watson, District 1; Calvin Ball, District 2; Jennifer R. Terrasa, District 3; Mary Kay Sigaty, District 4; and Gregory Fox, District 5.

It will largely be a rookie council made up of four Democrats and Fox, the lone Republican. Only Ball has council experience, and that has been for only about seven months. Ball was appointed by the Howard County Democratic Central Committee to serve out the term of David Rakes, who resigned.

In a brief meeting, the council unanimously elected Ball as chairman and Watson as vice chairman of the council.

Sigaty will serve as the Zoning Board chairperson and Terrasa will be the vice chairperson. Fox will chair the Liquor Board and Watson will be the vice chairperson.

Terrasa will represent the council on the legislative committee of the Maryland Association of Counties, and Fox will serve on the Baltimore Metropolitan Council's Advisory Committee as the council representative.

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