Former state school board member to run for District 15 delegate
Since the late Del. Jean Cryor was elected from District 15 in 2002, no Republican anywhere in Montgomery County has won election to the Maryland General Assembly.
Laurie Halverson of Potomac, a former member of the state Board of Education, is cautiously optimistic she can change that: She filed Wednesday to run for the House of Delegates from District 15.
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Noting that one of three delegate seats in the district—which extends from Potomac to the Frederick County line—will be open next year due to Del. Aruna Miller’s congressional bid, Halverson added, “I feel that … because we have more Republicans in District 15 than in other districts, there is more of an opportunity for a Republican to win.”
Halverson, 53, ran for the county Board of Education in 2014, losing to incumbent Patricia O’Neill by 63-37 percent countywide. But in District 15, Halverson garnered 41 percent, suggesting to her a path to victory next year.
“I feel it’s possible,” said Halverson, who plans a formal campaign kickoff in early 2018.
When her sons—now in college—were in the county schools, Halverson became active over the problem of mold in portable classrooms at Potomac’s Bells Mill Elementary School. She subsequently found herself health and safety chair of the Montgomery County Council of PTAs, and, later, as vice president for educational issues.
“As a PTA leader, I collaborated with Democrats for many years,” Halverson said. “So I feel I have the skills to be able to work with both sides of the aisle to make things happen.”
She was named to the state Board of Education in May 2016 by Gov. Larry Hogan and served until last April. Her nomination to a full term became a casualty of a standoff between Hogan and the Democratic-controlled General Assembly over a couple of Cabinet appointees.
“By being at that level, I got to see how little collaboration there was between the state legislators and the state board,” Halverson said. “I just thought, ‘You know what, if I was a delegate, I could be more collaborative on all kinds of different things.’”
District 15 Democratic Dels. Kathleen Dumais and David Fraser-Hidalgo are expected to seek re-election.
A half-dozen Democrats are eyeing Miller’s open seat. Two of them have filed or announced: Lily Qi, an assistant chief administrative officer under County Executive Ike Leggett, and Kevin Mack, a district director for U.S. Rep. John Delaney.
Photo provided by Laurie Halverson.