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Bevins not running for reelection

Baltimore County Councilwoman Cathy Bevins. Credit: Lauren Watley, Baltimore County
Baltimore County Councilwoman Cathy Bevins. Credit: Baltimore County

Baltimore County Councilwoman Cathy Bevins, who became embroiled in a legal controversy when she moved out of her district, said Tuesday she is not running for a fourth term.

Bevins briefly moved out of the sixth council district last year then moved back in when she said she discovered that violated the county charter.

But Bevins, who is 63, said that had nothing to do with her decision to not run. She said she’s been having health issues.

Bevin also said she had had enough of being attacked on social media, which she added has been heartbreaking.

“It’s people that don’t even know you,” Bevins said. “If you want to say hateful things about me, at least get to know me, and then say them. Don’t hate me because I’m a Democrat.”

Bevins said she has been thinking of retiring from the county council since Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

“It just brought the ugliness out of people,” Bevins said.

John Dedie, a political science professor at the Community College of Baltimore County, said Bevins would have had a tough time winning the Democratic primary in July because of the residency controversy.

“I think she could read the political tea leaves of what was going on,” Dedie said.

There currently are two Democrats and one Republican in the race. The deadline to file as a candidate is April 15.

“She would have had a struggle in the primary, and could have even had a struggle in the general election too,” Dedie said.

Bevins said she received bad legal advice from the county council’s legal counsel about whether she could live outside her district. The charter states a council member who moves out of their district needs to leave office.

Baltimore County Executive Johnny Olszewski asked Maryland Attorney General Brian Frosh to determine whether Bevins had violated the residency requirement of the county charter, and if so, how that can be enforced.

Frosh declined to get involved, stating it is a local issue. Baltimore County Attorney James Benjamin has yet to offer a legal opinion regarding Bevins’ residency.

In a statement Benjamin said, “This has taken a little longer than expected. Since this appears to be a matter of first impression, we are doing a thorough review of case law and legislative history.”

Benjamin added he expects the opinion to be ready by the end of the month.

Bevins’ third term will end in December. She would have served 12 years on the council. Bevins cited improvements made in her district during her tenure, from street paving, to new schools, to a skate park coming to Rosedale.

“We never know what days we’re leaving this earth,” Bevins said “Whether it’s tomorrow. Next year, ten years, 20 years. I started asking myself the question, is this what you want to be doing with you know, I call the last quarter of the game, when you get to be my age.”

Bevins is the second council member to announce she will not seek reelection. Democrat Tom Quirk is not running as well. The other five members of the county council have filed to run for another term.

John Lee is a reporter for WYPR covering Baltimore County. @JohnWesleyLee2
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