Byron Macfarlane, Howard County’s Register of Wills and the first openly gay person elected to a countywide office, announced on May 17 a run for County Council. The 4th District for which he will be running covers parts of Columbia, including the villages of Town Center, Wilde Lake, Harper’s Choice, Hickory Ridge, and River Hill as well as Maple Lawn, Highland, and part of North Laurel.
“As Register of Wills, I’ve been working to make a positive change in people’s lives for over six years,” Macfarlane said in a statement. “I love my job but it’s time for me to make a change.”
Macfarlane, 34, notes that the timing is right given the uncertain times and the coarsening of the political system.
“After 18 years of political activism, I can tell you that each of us does, indeed, have the power to make positive change,” he said. “In the 2018 election, we can and must stand together for our shared progressive values, and choose the future that we want for ourselves and the next generation.”
Macfarlane, a Democrat, was elected as Register of Wills in 2010, narrowly defeating the six-term Republican incumbent Kay Hartleb. He won re-election in 2014 running unopposed.
His tenure at that position has been marked by a technological overhaul of his office and legislative initiatives aimed at making the probate process more streamlined and less expensive for Maryland families.
“I stepped out of my formal role to advocate for progressive causes, such as marriage equality, protecting the immigrant population from Donald Trump, and campaign finance reform that would get big money out of local elections,” Macfarlane told the Blade.
His campaign for County Council will officially kick off on June 10.