After 48 years of service, Senator Jim Robey marks the end of his public service career. Representing Howard County as a police officer, police chief, county executive and as a State Senator, Senate Majority Leader Robey will
“have the duty at the stroke of midnight Monday, when the 2014 General Assembly session ends, to rise at his seat in the chamber and move that the Senate “stand sine die” — or adjourn for the 2014 session.”
Last year, he gave the word to Janet Robey, his wife of 52 years, then to the rest of the world that two terms in the state Senate would do. He would wrap up life as a fixture in Howard County public service that began when he joined the county police as a 25-year-old patrol officer in 1966.
He has cultivated a reputation as an effective executive and legislator, “left of center,” as he puts it, shy of the limelight and not given to long speeches. He’s no more expansive on the reason why he’s leaving the Senate than on the reasons why he joined the police force, or ran for executive, or senator.
After 48 years, after a string of four uncontested primaries and four general election wins without a loss, after having a county building named after him, the Democrat representing District 13 figures enough is enough.
“I don’t know, it’s just a feeling you get,” said Robey, an Elkridge resident who is one of three senators in the county legislative delegation and the only one whose constituents are all Howard residents. “I’ve done enough. It’s time to move aside and let someone else come in. … It’s time. I knew it was time to leave the Police Department, and I know it’s time to retire from public life.”
Howard County Council Member Courtney Watson reflected on her experiences working with Senator Robey. She
calls Robey a “mentor and a role model for me in my public life…His hallmark in the county is public service with a very humble approach.”
By his Senate colleagues’ account, Robey is the quiet man who seldom speaks on the Senate floor, but when he does, he gets people’s attention. A member of the Senate Budget & Taxation Committee, he’s been particularly outspoken on matters of public safety and care for disabled people.
…Ulman considered Robey’s commitment to public safety when it came time to name the new police training center in Marriottsville. At the dedication ceremony in late October, 2007, when they unveiled the sign for the James N. Robey Public Safety Training Center, Ulman said he thought Robey was “a little uncomfortable. Maybe he thought it was a little too much.”
Yes, that’s right, Robey said. While he appreciated the honor, he said he was also thinking that many people were involved in establishing the new training complex for police and firefighters. When Ulman told him he was going to name the center for him, “my first thought was: ‘Am I dead?’ ”
The quiet man plans to shift now into a quieter phase of life, hoping to travel more and spend more time in a cabin he and his wife had built in West Virginia.
“We’re going to sit in the screened-in porch and watch the deer come by, and the wild turkeys,” he said.