County Economic Development CEO Applies to be Anne Arundel County Executive

Laura Neuman is one of 16 applicants for the newly open job.

Howard County's Economic Development Authority CEO, Laura Neuman, is one of 16 candidates who have submitted applications this month to become Anne Arundel County Executive.

Neuman, a former entreprenuer and private sector CEO, has lived in Anne Arundel for over 20 years. She joined the Economic Development Authority in the spring of 2011.

The county executive position became open after the former county executive, John Leopold, a Republican, resigned on Feb. 1 in the wake of being found guilty of misconduct in office.

By law, the Anne Arundel County Council is charged with replacing Leopold with another Republican.

Neuman is joined by other high-profile challengers for the post, including former Maryland first lady Kendel Ehrlich; Del. Steve Schuh, who already is mounting a campaign for the post in 2014; and acting Anne Arundel County Exectuive John Hammond, according to a Baltimore Sun report.

Neuman said she wanted to restore integrity to the post and that she cares about the county, according to Explore Howard.

Neuman took an unusual path to reach her goals in business, according to a Patch profile of her published in 2011.

She lacked a high school diploma or college degree, but was admitted to Loyola's MBA program. Then, after leaving Stanford University's Graduate School of Business, she took a bet on a start-up company founded by former NSA employees. Without a salary, she had to pay her mortgage on a credit card, but over time she helped make the company profitable and it was eventually sold for $230 million.

In addition, Neuman is candid about being a rape victim. When she was 18 and living on her own in an apartment in Baltimore in 1983, she was raped. At the time, police couldn't solve the case, but she didn't give up.

In 2002, she called Baltimore police, repeatedly, and asked them to reopen the case. Eventually a detective agreed, and after three days it was solved, according to Neuman. Police were able to match a fingerprint from the scene with a man who later confessed to the crime.

The experience prompted her to found the Laura Neuman Foundation, which advocates for rape victims as they navigate the emotional and legal process of pursuing a case.

The Anne Arundel County Council will hold public interviews of all 16 candidates pursuing the County Executive post and then vote on a replacement on Feb. 21 at 7 p.m.

Each candidate is slated to give a 5-minute statement and Council members will be able ask them questions. After that a series of roll call votes will be taken until a candidate is selected, according to the Council's website.

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