The citizens of Anne Arundel County need Claudia Barber on the Circuit Court. We need someone who brings a robust background in law and uniquely diverse perspectives that represent all in our community, and that’s exactly what we will get if we elect Claudia Barber to the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court in 2018.
I first met Claudia in person at a rally outside the Anne Arundel Courthouse early in 2017. She impressed me with her openness and kind-hearted nature. She also personified an issue that I have found myself really passionate about since the devastating defeat of Hillary Clinton – a persistent lack of equal representation at all levels of our government. I am not a person with authority, I’m not politically connected, I don’t have any kind of background in law or justice (except for a very deep sense of fairness that my mom says I’ve had since I was a child), but I am a concerned citizen of this county and I know that Claudia will bring much needed perspective and experience to the bench.
In a recent Eye on Annapolis guest column written by Claudia (March 25, 2018), she brought up three important questions that voters should consider asking candidates for judge: 1) What life experiences make you the right choice for the job? (2) What in your background makes you uniquely qualified more so than others, and (3) What difference will you make as a judge on the bench.
I’ve heard Claudia’s responses to all of these questions and there is no doubt in my mind that she has the diversity in experience and perspective that the citizens of Anne Arundel County desperately need on the Circuit Court. On top of her relatability and unique perspective, she also has an accomplished and well-rounded resume that exemplifies the type of much-needed knowledge of issues that is currently missing from the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court.
Her campaign website (http://www.claudiabarberforjudge.vistaprintdigital.com/) lists the many ways that Claudia is demonstrably qualified for this elected position. From 2005-2016, Claudia Barber served as an administrative law judge in the District of Columbia Office of Administrative Hearings. She authored over 5,000 decisions, received top performance evaluations, and many of her decisions were often affirmed on appeal. This is proof of her expertise with interpreting the law.
Prior to serving as an administrative law judge, Claudia Barber owned and operated her own law firm for over 16 years. She represented many churches, small businesses, corporations, and individuals in state and federal courts. Her practice was diverse and included personal injury, worker’s compensation, bankruptcy, real estate closings, civil and criminal bench and jury trials, and EEO and labor law cases. This is proof of the range of her perspective and background that will serve everyone in our community well.
For more than 16 years, Claudia Barber chaired a scholarship foundation named in her father’s honor (The Elder Theodore L. Barber Scholarship Foundation, Inc.) The foundation awarded over $90,000 in scholarships to more than 90 college students since its inception in 2001and the scholarships are awarded based on service to the community. She also actively organized community job fairs at her church, often successfully connecting Maryland residents with jobs. This is proof of her sincere advocacy within our community and her own philosophy of paying it forward.
For over ten years, Claudia Barber taught at many area colleges and universities including Anne Arundel Community College, Johns Hopkins University, Towson State University, Villa Julie College, University of Maryland University College and Bowie State University. This is proof that law experts and justice researchers around Maryland trust that Claudia knows the law and is an expert communicator of the law.
Also, if elected, Claudia would be the first Woman of Color to sit on the Circuit Court bench. In its 367 years of existence the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court has only had two African-American men and, more disturbingly (and unjust), absolutely no Women of Color. When too many like-minded people with too similar backgrounds monopolize authority in our courts, there is a lack of perspective and a lack of broad expertise of issues, and that’s bad for all citizens of our county.
Lastly, we should all be aware that Claudia Barber has been the victim of coordinated attacks on her qualifications and experience. As I said in the beginning, I have a very strong sense of fairness, and if there’s something that really gets to me, it’s seeing people in power gang up on those that are not in power. This is exactly what happened to Claudia Barber in her 2016 run for Circuit Court, when unfounded accusations were hurled at her, and inconsistent interpretations of protocols were applied to her. The fact that she now knows first-hand what it feels like to have people in power abusing their authority to maintain the status quo is another experience and perspective she has that makes her best able to recognize when it is happening to us.
Vote for experience. Vote for perspective. Vote for someone who is a fighter for the people, and understands the challenges we have with equality and justice in Anne Arundel County. Vote for Claudia Barber!
Alexandra Matiella Novak, Ph.D.