With the Charles County logo, conspicuously hanging in the background, and a white floral arrangement in the foreground, the recently elected officials of the Charles County Government took the oath of office in a ceremony held at 200 Baltimore Street, La Plata, MD on December 6, 2022.
With an audience of approximately 300 people, The Honorable Reuben Collins, II, who was re-elected Commissioner President, of the county founded in 1658, gave an impelling and optimistic speech. He invited the audience to, “dream with me for a moment, close your eyes,’ while reciting a compendium of achievements made in the previous 4 years, and the vision he has for the next 4. In a highly inspiring and ambitious speech, it was evident why Collins was re-elected Commissioner President of a county with close to 170,000 residents.
In a proud, historic, and emotional moment, he told the captivated crowd in the Commissioners’ Meeting Room, that Charles County is the wealthiest predominantly black county, per capita, in the nation.
In a wide-ranging campaign-style speech, he covered topics such as transportation, business, broadband, education, and the environment. Diversity, equity and inclusionary practices were themes throughout his reflective and visionary presentation. Mr. Collins advised, “We must not let the fear of advancement causes us to be isolated from the rest of the nation.” He continued, ‘’ I am inviting you to join Team Charles County. Let’s seize this moment. Remember, to be better, we must work together as one Charles County.’’
Master of Ceremony, Mark Belton, Charles County Administrator gave the welcome and opening remarks. Reverend William A Coates gave the blessings to commence the program, while Mr. Mohammad Zahid Aslam gave the Islamic Blessing. Pastor William Buck gave the invocation.
The Charles County Sheriff’s Office presented the colors, while Miss Lyric Springs lead the Pledge of Allegiance. The National Anthem was performed by Brach Cobbs. At times, especially during the responses of the elected officials, the mood had a very spiritual tone; this was mainly because most of them gave thanks not only to the people and their families but to their Lord and Savior.
Oath of Office
The oath of Office Ceremony, the Honorable H. James West, in charge of the Circuit Court, administered the oath of office to the clerk of the Circuit Court Lisa E Yates, who in turn, administered the oath of office to the remaining Charles County officials:
- Honorable Monise A. Brown, Judge of the Circuit Court.
- Honorable Darlene M. Breck, Judge of the Orphans’ Court
- Honorable Russel Yates, Judge of the Orphans’ Court
- Honorable Loraine D. Hennessy, Register of Wills
- Honorable Troy D. Berry, Sheriff
- Honorable Reuben C. Collins II, Commissioner’s President
- Honorable Gilbert Bowling III, Commissioner District 1
- Honorable Thomasine O. Coates, Commissioner District 2
- Amanda M. Stewart, Commissioner District 3
- Ralph E Patterson II, Commissioner District 4
- Absent from the ceremony was Peter F. Murphy, Judge of the Orphans’ Court.
Reverend Katherine Heichler closed the ceremony after praying for the newly elected officials.