Candidate Survey: Marlena Jareaux for Howard County Clerk of the Court
Office Sought and District
Clerk, Circuit Court of Howard County
B.A. Management; M.S. Psychology
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A savvy and observant VOTER
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Why are you running for office?
When you encounter “wrong”, one has three choices: ignore it and do nothing; talk about it and wish it would change; or do something about it. I’m told that “that’s the way it’s always been in Howard County”, as an answer for things. There are wrongs that should be made right. I’d like to try.
Who do you consider your political role model, and why?
In consulting the definition of “role model” and seeing it mentions being a person you’d want to emulate, I can only answer that it is my mother. Not because we always see eye-to-eye: we don’t. But I’ve learned the value of fine-tuning empathy in order to see things from the eyes of the person I’m interfacing with. She gently reminds me of such things as: “just because you CAN do something, doesn’t always mean that you SHOULD”; while encouraging me to remember that we all have our paths we are traveling, and that timing and intended lessons differ for us all. We are ALL a work in progress (I’m no exception), but I hope that as her oldest child, I have been a diligent student of a wonderful teacher and human being.
I still have more to learn!
What is your favorite book about politics and policy, and why?
Recently, I enjoyed reading Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis. It provided a great opportunity to learn the perspectives held by people who live in places and have circumstances that are completely different from my own. Learning to understand and take into account the differences that exist in the lives and circumstances of others not like you, is in short supply (I believe). Refresher courses and tune-ups are good to have. This book did it!
What will be your top priority in elected to this position?
Transparency from the office. Close 2nd: elimination of favoritism
What is the biggest issue facing your county?
Financial ones that have a ripple effects on the quality of education.
What is your position on taxes and spending?
Taxes are a necessary evil, but raising them shouldn’t always be the #1 go-to solution for money problems. Should be balanced approach of bringing in more, while also economizing on spending. I HATE the “if we don’t spend it, we won’t get more” perspective that results in unnecessary spending.
What is your position on a county tax cap?
I’ve heard that developers are benefiting from a Howard County tax rate that isn’t in step with other jurisdictions (is significantly lower). This affects school budgets, which affects parent satisfaction, etc. If a cap prevents Ho Co from bringing the rate in step with others, I don’t agree.
What is your position on land use issues?
Depends on the land use issue, at issue. I’m FOR the right of referendum in matters involving zoning, etc, I oppose shady tactics designed to deprive others of meaningful conversations on issues that affect them, and I have enjoyed and appreciated the open space of Howard County recreational land from the days of me attending Wilde Lake High in Columbia to the present day. There are many possible land use issues.
What is your position on public safety?
It’s an extremely important function that a community relies upon. When people in the community feel safe, they also feel free to hopefully be their best selves for the benefit of the entire community. I think that the police AND the community have their respective roles to play.