Reporting Alex DeMetrick
ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ)—She’s a long way from being a political household name, but that’s now changing for Laura Neuman. She was sworn in Friday morning as Anne Arundel County executive.
Alex DeMetrick attended the ceremony.
Talk about a quick turnaround. Neuman went from being a virtual political unknown to claiming the top job in Anne Arundel County.
Neuman greeted friends, well wishers and future employees inside the Annapolis Courthouse.
Thursday night, she was chosen by the County Council to be the new county executive, beating out a large field of candidates–some of whom have far more experience in politics.
It’s “certainly a nontraditional choice, and I appreciate their vote of confidence, and I will serve them proudly,” Neuman said.
“It certainly doesn’t hurt that she’s got a record of really making changes that are necessary when she feels they need to be made,” said Jamie Benoit, Anne Arundel County councilman.
There are changes that may indeed be coming in the wake of the criminal conviction and resignation of former Anne Arundel County Executive John Leopold.
“I’m virtually certain he had help doing some of the things he was convicted of doing, and I’m looking forward to her putting an end to that chapter,” Benoit said.
“We will restore confidence in the executive branch of Anne Arundel County,” Neuman said.
Those who know her think she can do it.
Besides raising a family, Neuman also turned a struggling company into a multi-million dollar business.
She is also leaving her position as chief of Howard County’s economic development association.
“I’ve never underestimated Laura,” said Howard County Executive Ken Ulman. “She’s an unbelievable person. She’s just been successful at everything she’s done.”
That includes coming out of nowhere to reach this moment.
The county executive will immediately assemble a transition team, according to a statement issued by the county. And for the first 30 days she will focus on meeting with executive staff and department heads, preparing the budget and appointing her leadership team.
She is also plans to meet with as many constituents as possible by attending public events around the county.
“The most important relationship to me is with the citizens, who expect their county executive to solve problems,” Neuman said in a statement. “One of my priorities is to introduce myself to them and establish their trust.”
Neuman is a Republican. Under the rules, it is the only party the council could draw from because Leopold was an elected Republican.
Neuman was voted in on the third ballot cast by the County Council.
She will serve out the nearly two years left of Leopold’s term. She says it’s way too early to decide if she’ll run for election in 2016.
Leopold will be sentenced March 14.