Pledging to continue to serve Harford County citizens, and emphasizing the non-partisan nature of his post, Sheriff Jesse L. Bane was sworn in for a second term Thursday evening in Bel Air.
Despite the season’s first slick, snowy night, a crowd of more than 100 people gathered in the Harford County Council chambers to see Bane place his hand on his mother-in-law’s Bible, and repeat the oath of office after Clerk of the Court James Reilly.
Among those present for the event were: County Executive David Craig, Council President Billy Boniface, Council Members Dion Guthrie, Mary Ann Lisanti, Jim McMahan, and Joe Woods, District 35A State Senator Barry Glassman, District 35A Delegate Wayne Norman, Harford County Public School Superintendent Dr. Robert Tomback, Circuit Court Judge William Carr, and Register of Wills Derek Hopkins.
Representatives from several law enforcement agencies also attended, including the Maryland State Police’s Bel Air Barracks, Aberdeen Police Department, and the Harford County Community College Security Department. Former Sheriff Joe Meadows was present, as was Steve Moyer, standing in for his father, former Sheriff Ted Moyer.
Taking the podium, Bane said he had stayed up until 2 a.m. Thursday morning preparing a speech for the occasion. But he left the speech in his office—not by accident, but under orders from his wife, Lou Ann.
“It’s sitting in my office on my desk, not because I forgot it but because I have a boss, as every married man does, who said, ‘no speeches, just comments,’” Bane said.
Those comments were light on policy plans, which Bane said he felt were covered in depth during his campaign against Republican challenger Jeff Gahler. Instead, he recognized the dozen members of the Sheriff’s Office present in the audience and all those serving under him, as well as retired members of the department and the members of his campaign.
Bane saved his most personal words to thank his family for the sacrifices he said they have made during his 38 years with the Sheriff’s Office.
“I have spent more time in the office than at home, many family occasions were missed because duty called,” Bane said. “I have no regrets, but I’m thankful for them for allowing me to follow my dream.”
Bane also thanked Republican voters who were willing to cross party lines to return him to office, and reasserted the non-partisanship of his office.
Bane was narrowly reelected in the Nov. 2 election over Gahler, who had strong words about the Democratic incumbent’s record, and attacked his handling of the investigation of a top deputy, former Major Mark Forwood. The investigation, which began in April, concluded last month with felony theft charges filed against Forwood, who was eventually fired from the department.
“This was a very strange election year, as we all know,” Bane said. “You cannot win an election in Harford County unless voters are willing to cross party lines. I am here today because Republicans were willing to cross party lines…and I thank them for that.”
Bane followed by mentioning a number of the county’s top Republican elected officials with whom he works closely, setting up the night’s lightest moment.
After Bane asked, “Did I miss any Republicans,” McMahan deftly rose from his seat with a smile, raising a hand.
Bane paused as the crowd chuckled, before quipping, “Well, you were a Democrat at one time,” to a louder round of laughter.
He quickly returned to his message of non-partisanship to close his comments.
“I would hate to see future elections where we throw babies out with the bathwater because of political affiliation,” Bane said. “But Republican or Democrat, I love you all.”
PHOTO CREDIT: Christine Sullivan for ABC Timeless Portraits