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He said it. Then he said it again. And again after that.


“When you bring people together, awesome things can happen.”

Standing before the more than 500 Howard County Chamber of Commerce members sitting in Turf Valley’s Grand Ballroom, the first term County Executive made clear his approach to solving Howard County’s most difficult problem – one where people with diverse backgrounds and expertise come together to solve challenges – stands in stark contrast to the toxicity just 30 miles to the south in Washington, D.C.

As proof, Kittleman counted off a list successful initiatives – his Achieve 24/7 Education initiative, the rebuilding effort in Old Ellicott City, the county’s #OneHoward effort that celebrates diversity through ongoing forums – each of which center on collaboration and community involvement.

“Too often, politicians and elected officials think they have all the answers. They are wrong. When I got elected, I knew that in order to solve the tough problems, you have to have collaboration, diversity, and participation, even from individuals you may not agree with.” Allan Kittleman said after the event.

“When people come together to overcome challenges, its awesome.”

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Putting People Before Politics

Continuing a tradition he started with his first State of the County speech just three years ago, Kittleman made special mention of notable people making contributions to our community.

The first was Vivian “Millie” Bailey, an Air Force Veteran and civil rights advocate who turned 100 in February. Mrs. Bailey has served as a mentor to Howard County school children for decades and continues to serve as the ‘patron saint’ of Running Brook Elementary School in Columbia.

Kittleman also thanked Bessie Bordenave, a leader at the Harriet Tubman Foundation, for her tireless advocacy. Together, Bordenave and Kittleman led the charge to return the Tubman School to the community – a project that had been shelved for years under previous administrations.

Today, under the leadership of Bordenave and others, plans are underway for the Tubman school to become a cultural and educational center.

But it didn’t stop there. In just over three years, the Kittleman Administration has accumulated an impressive list of accomplishments, and Kittleman was anxious to talk about them.

Kittleman touched on how his Administration’s education initiative is moving forward; helping students obtain services including access to the quality food and online learning applications for use at home.

He also gave credit to the residents, businesses and property owners that continue to rebuild Old Ellicott City into a thriving economic driver.

Now, nearly two years since the historic flood that took three lives and cost millions in damage, over 96% of businesses have reopened.

Kittleman also mentioned his Administration’s initiative to bring high-speed internet to as much as 90% of areas currently underserved in Western Howard County.

The County Executive used the occasion to announce the establishment of the new Opioid Crisis Community Council, which will be chaired by advocate Barbara Allen. In collaboration with this new council’s members, the Administration is launching a new website dedicated to providing information regarding prevention, treatment, and recovery from opioid addiction.

But as Kittleman described his Administration’s progress, he made one thing clear throughout: it was the result of collaboration and a determination to forge shared solutions.

And with that, the County Executive took everyone by surprise and did something no one expected – he brought on stage four members of the County Council – three of which were of the opposite political party – and honored their service by presenting them with the “Key” to Howard County.

“This my friends is the difference between us and Washington,” he said. “When you bring people together, you can achieve awesome results.”