Anne Arundel County is blessed with a growing and increasingly effective progressive community. Many in this community have become activists within the past year.
But there are also many progressives who have been working for years to make Annapolis and Anne Arundel County better places to live for everyone. Two of them will receive special awards at the Anne Arundel County Democrats’ Annual Celebration Dinner next Friday, May 11.
Cynthia Carter will receive the Chair’s Award for her exemplary service as the first African-American woman elected as Annapolis City Alderman. Councilman Chris Trumbauer will receive the Legend award for his successful efforts to improve education and preserve the environment.
Cynthia Abney Carter
If you live in Annapolis and follow local political activism, you have heard of Cynthia Carter. Coming from one of the original families to live in Annapolis public housing, she was raised not to allow her lower-income status to get in the way of her desire to improve the lives of people of color and people living in subsidized housing. Her family was so well thought of by the Housing Authority of the City of Annapolis that when College Creek Terrace was redeveloped, a street was named in their honor: Abney Way in Obery Court.
On completing her education at Sojourner-Douglass College in Annapolis, Cynthia jumped into community service, intent on improving the lives of underserved Annapolis residents. She founded and operated a volunteer telephone relay service for the hearing- and speech-impaired. She served on the board of the Anne Arundel County Disability Board and the Anne Arundel County Women and Minority Business Enterprise, and was an active member of the Holy Temple Cathedral in Annapolis.
One of the biggest issues she felt needed to be tackled was crime among youth, due partly to lack of before-and after-school activities in low-income communities. And she realized that the best way to tackle this and other civic challenges was through legislative action.
So in 1997, she ran for Annapolis Alderman for Ward 6 – a small but diverse Ward with several public or subsidized housing communities side by side with high-income neighborhoods. Remarkably, she ran and won her race as a write-in candidate, and did so by reaching out to people, door to door, throughout the ward. She became the first African-American woman ever to serve on the Annapolis city council and cracked the glass ceiling for others who followed.
Her achievements on the Council, and since then, are numerous. As an Alderman, she served on the council’s Public Safety, Housing and Community Development, and Environmental Committees. She has served on the board of the Anne Arundel County Community Action Agency and is a member of the Caucus of African-American Leaders and the Anne Arundel County Branch of the NAACP. Throughout her career, she has consistently worked to improve services and equity to the underserved people of Annapolis.
She has advised scores of candidates, from Aldermen to Congressmen, and her advice is always the same: “No one is invincible. Never assume any candidate is an automatic winner. If you work hard and find issues that resonate with voters, it makes a big difference.”
That’s hopeful advice to the many progressive candidates in Maryland who are working to overturn entrenched Republican incumbents.
Chris is a life-long Marylander, with a life-long commitment to serve his community and to keep Maryland shores beautiful and healthy. He has dedicated nearly two decades of work in the environmental field. After cutting his teeth as a water quality scientist with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, he worked as a volunteer for a diverse range of non-profit organizations and coalitions working on sustainability, clean water and conservation issues. As the Executive Director of the West/Rhode Riverkeepers from 2008 to 2013, he learned about as much as anybody could about the impact of area development on health of the Bay and the resources needed to maintain it.
He ran for County Council in 2010 on the belief that at the local level, politics have not yet become totally partisan, making it possible to work across party lines on issues of shared importance. And that he has done, not just in the environmental area, but on issues of policy, budget, and education as well. He keeps the tone at County Council meetings affable – often with a joke to reduce tense situations so work can be done.
On his election, he took an unpaid week off his daytime job to thoroughly study the county budget process. Today, he is the Council’s guru on the county budget. He has used that knowledge to support needed improvements in county services within financial constraints. Chris digs into the budget every year, and he is the only Councilmember in Anne Arundel County history to sponsor and pass the annual property tax rate legislation.
Thanks in large part to his advocacy for education, during his term, the County has replaced or renovated five Annapolis area elementary schools (Annapolis Elementary, Mills Parole, West Annapolis, Rolling Knolls and Germantown) – plus opened Monarch Academy and put an addition on Eastport. Tyler Heights is also about to begin construction. All these are in District 6, the area he represents.
Chris has done much to preserve the quality of the Bay watershed. He has remarked that “Everything we do on land affects Anne Arundel’s rivers.” His actions have demonstrated his commitment to this: protecting open spaces on Annapolis Neck and supporting such protection elsewhere in the County, fighting for the ban on coal tar products, and especially developing and gaining passage of the controversial but extremely important stormwater remediation fee. This act has already provided $20 million annually in much needed revenues whose use both improves County rivers and streams and supports local small businesses.
Outside of the Council, he is VP of the Hatcher Group that works to connect non-profit organizations with policymakers and the media. He chairs the Local Leaders Council for Smart Growth America, and serves on the Maryland Critical Area Commission and is a member of the County Disabilities Commission. Though his term expires in 2018, and he plans to spend time with his family rather than run for another office any time soon, you can be sure we’ll be hearing more from him on the issues of importance to our county.
The Anne Arundel County Democratic Central Committee is proud to present the Chair’s Award and the Legend Award to these two exceptional individuals who have worked so hard to improve quality of life in the County. We hope you will join us in honoring them at our Harriet Tubman – Ann-Marie Remillard Celebration Dinner on May 11.
Our keynote speaker will be former Virginia Governor Terry McAuliffe, who himself has a strong progressive record. As Governor, McAuliffe protected women’s access to health care, Virginia’s world-class education system, the environment, and the integrity of its electoral system. He made unprecedented progress on the restoration of civil rights to rehabilitated felons who have completed their sentences and paid their debt to society. During his tenure, McAuliffe restored the rights of more than 173,000 Virginians, more than any other governor in U.S. history.
To learn more about the Celebration Dinner and to purchase tickets, go to www.annearundeldems.com. The Central Committee does not endorse candidates in contested Democratic races. Proceeds from the event will be used to support County Democratic candidates who win the primary elections.
Vikka Molldrem is a member of the Anne Arundel County Democratic Central Committee representing State legislative district 30.
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