'New day' for Annapolis politics

Moyer takes oath as first female mayor of 300-year-old city

By Amanda J. Crawford
Sun Staff

December 4, 2001

In what several speakers dubbed "a new day" in Annapolis, Ellen O. Moyer was sworn into office yesterday as the first female mayor in the city's nearly 300-year history.

She took her oath of office along with a historic city council that includes, with Moyer, a female majority and three black members, the biggest minority representation ever.

Moyer and the four female aldermen join an increasingly female political network in the state and in Anne Arundel County, which has a majority-female County Council and elected its
first female county executive, Janet S. Owens, three years ago.

"What Sally Ride did for space, Maryland and Anne Arundel County is doing for politics," said Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski, the first woman to hold statewide office in Maryland and the
first female senator to be elected in her own right, rather than replacing a husband who died.

"I believe that this election, the first election in the 21st century, is really going to be the benchmark."

Hundreds of people packed the auditorium of Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts for the inauguration, which featured a sing-along and speeches by state and county officials.

"After years of getting things done from the outside ... women are now getting things done on the inside," said Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, the state's first female lieutenant governor,
who began her speech by quoting feminist author Betty Friedan. "This is a new and better day in Annapolis."

After Robert P. Duckworth, clerk of Anne Arundel County Circuit Court, administered the oath of office to Moyer, she swore in the city's eight aldermen, six Democrats and two

Among them was the youngest city official in recent history, 28-year-old Democrat Joshua Cohen, who took over Moyer's 8th Ward council seat.

In her inaugural address, Moyer pledged unity and diversity, and civility and openness, and said her administration will be defined by "positive energy, enthusiasm and initiation."

"There is no limit to what we can achieve if we work together," Moyer said. "Actions that keep us divided we must set aside."

Moyer takes over a city known for strife among members of its city council, of which the mayor is the ninth member, with no veto power. Though Moyer received the endorsement of
some Republican council members, she did not have the support of all of the Democrats.

As mayor, she must learn to do what her predecessor often could not: win over the majority of the council to push through her administration's initiatives.

She has established 13 transition teams consisting of more than 100 volunteers, which are addressing issues such as the city's parking shortage and downtown traffic, its burgeoning
Latino population and its large public housing population, the highest per capita in the state.

"I thank you for giving me the privilege of leading this noble effort," Moyer said in concluding her address, "as together we make Annapolis a better place to live, work and raise our

The inauguration, which also included performances by local singer Parris Lane, pianist Dick Gessner and a gospel choir, ended with the crowd joining hands for "God Bless America."

After the inauguration, Moyer planned to attend a dinner with members of the council and their spouses.

A formal inaugural gala for Moyer will be held from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Homestead Gardens in Davidsonville, featuring champagne, desserts and dancing. The event costs $125 per
person and is open to the public.

Copyright © 2001, The Baltimore Sun