“We need leaders not in love with money but in love with justice. Not in love with publicity but in love with humanity."
~Dr. Martin Luther King, 1956
My name is Sheila Jennifer and with your support, I hope to become the next councilwoman from the 2nd district of the Howard County Council. Over 35 years ago, my family made Howard County, specifically Columbia, our home. I raised five children in Columbia and now hope to provide for an even better future for my grandchildren.
I am a graduate of Morgan State University and have enjoyed a long career as a state and federal archivist and researcher. After many years with the National Archives and Records Administration, I became a teacher in the Savage area where I regularly mentored youth and worked extensively on bettering school curriculum.
I finally retired just a few years ago, but I have not ceased in my commitment to community service. I have worked to promote diversity and understanding in my local Oakland Mills community and have contributed in the growth of one of its local churches, Celebration Church of Columbia. In 2017, Governor Hogan appointed me to the Maryland Commission on African Affairs where I continue my advocacy and commitment to community building. I firmly believe that Howard County’s biggest strength is the richness of our diversity and our commitment to lifting all families towards a brighter, more promising future.
Why I'm Running
If you were to ask me a few years ago about running for office, I would have told you that was the farthest thing from my mind. It has only been from enduring many of the freedoms we lost during the pandemic that I have been motivated to put my concerns into action.
I am a mother and grandmother who is dedicated to making a better District 2 for my family, my neighbors, and future generations. Our district is among the fastest growing districts in Howard County, which is also one of the fastest growing counties in all of Maryland. With that growth comes the challenges of redevelopment, public resources, and social protection.
In recent years, we have seen our district become a playground for photo-ops and social experiments: class-based school redistricting, the removal of school resource officers from our middle schools, pay-to-play zoning policies that favor the well-connected over everyday folks, and so-called ‘sanctuary’ policies that dis-enable cooperation between law enforcement agencies. These issues matter to hardworking families in District 2. As a councilwoman, I intend to lift everyone’s voice in the policy making process and ensure that we are heard.
I have developed a short plan for revitalizing village centers in Oakland Mills and Long Reach in addition to addressing challenges of water systems and zoning in areas of Ellicott City and Elkridge. I hope that with a smarter approach to growth and development, a commitment to fiscal responsibility, and a community-based approach to public safety, I will help make District 2 the safest and most prosperous district in all of Howard County.
A Plan for a Better District 2
Mitigate the Impact of COVID19
Evaluate the impact that COVID19 lockdowns and virtual learning had on racial/ethnic minority students and low-income populations
Advocate for spending cuts and reducing pending tax increase that could undermine the County’s commercial tax base and economic development efforts
Tap into available federal and state resources that support families facing rental evictions and struggling with energy bills
Restore a Healthy Budget and Economy
Advocate for revitalization efforts of Long Reach and Oakland Mills village centers by working with area residents, village center merchants, and the Columbia Association
Support tax credits to benefit seniors, members of our military and public safety officers
Oppose taxing and regulatory measures that have a disparate impact on small businesses, particularly minority-owned businesses
Provide prudent financial management of county revenues and expenses so that our long-term fiscal health stays intact for the foreseeable future
Strengthen Public Schools
Keep Howard County’s public schools as well funded as possible and advocate for policies that close the Achievement Gap in targeted populations
Address school overcrowding not with more trailers and radical school redistricting, but with smarter planning and zoning measures
Fully fund special education and ensure that we have trained educators working with our students with disabilities
Fight for Sensible Land-Use and Growth Management Policies
Support actions highlighted in the 2020 Ellicott City Watershed Master Plan and protect communties impacted by the Ellicott City and the surrounding Tiber-Hudson Watershed
Expand existing tax credits to improve the ability of longtime senior residents to stay in their homes
Ensure that Howard County’s growth management system is sensible, without loopholes, and complies with the County’s adequate public facilities ordinance
Improve the availability of affordable housing in a manner that does not result in an over-concentration of poverty in schools
Where is District 2?
The 2nd District of the Howard County council is nested East of Route 29 and South of Route 103. It covers a part of Elkridge, the Columbia villages of Oakland Mills, Long Reach, and parts of Owen Brown, and Ellicott City communities like Wheatfield, Brampton Parkway, Rockburn, and Ilchester. There are many other neighborhoods in the District that I have not listed—all together, these communities make District 2 among the most diverse and charming districts of Howard County.
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