As Maryland's first woman Lt. Governor, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend took on the issues that
Marylanders cared about most, from improving schools to fighting crime, from economic development to
ensuring that children and seniors get the quality health care they deserve. Every step of the way, she
sought to draw citizens into the process and remained focused on getting results. Townsend recently
published the book, Failing America’s Faithful: How Today’s Churches are Mixing God with Politics
and Losing Their Way, as a call to urge churches to reclaim the legacy of an active faith.
As Lt. Governor, Townsend had financial oversight for several cabinet departments and
government agencies with combined budgets of over two billion dollars. She was responsible for
managing the everyday functions of government as well as overseeing ten thousand employees. As Chair
of the Cabinet Council on Business and Economic Development, Townsend led Maryland's economic
development initiatives. Her leadership helped reduce or eliminate over 30 separate taxes, returning over
$2.6 billion to state taxpayers, including the first reduction of Maryland's personal income tax rate in 30
years. During this same time, Maryland's job creation rate rose from 44th to 15th in the nation, with
258,000 new jobs created since 1995.
When it came to education, Townsend realized that it was not just what we taught our kids, it was
how we taught them. That is why she created the first statewide office of Character Education to make
sure that our schools focused on values and taught our students right from wrong. It's also why she led
Maryland to be the first State in the nation to require that all high school students perform community
service. Programs like this ensure that the next generation of citizens learns the habits-and rewards-of
citizenship and civic involvement.
As Maryland's point person on criminal justice, Townsend created the HotSpots program, which
brings together law enforcement and community leaders to fight crime in some of Maryland's toughest
neighborhoods. Hailed as a national model, HotSpots achieved real results, reducing violent crime at
record rates. In addition, she began the Maryland Police Corps, recruiting young people to serve as police
officers and training them with community policing techniques designed to build trust between citizens
and law enforcement.
Townsend used the same results-oriented strategy to maximize the impact of Maryland's other
anti-crime efforts. Her pioneering Break the Cycle anti-drug initiative aimed to break the cycle of drug
use and crime by combining drug testing, sanctions, and treatment to keep people who are on parole and
probation off drugs. The basic philosophy is simple: stay clean to stay out. Like her other initiatives, this
pilot program got results: drug use by offenders in the program dropped by 56%. Townsend also focused
on getting better health care for families. Maryland is now providing access to health insurance for over
95,000 of the neediest children and over 40,000 seniors have access to affordable prescription drugs.
Before being elected Lt. Governor, Townsend served as Deputy Assistant Attorney General of the
United States. In that role, she led the planning to put 100,000 police officers into the community and she
ignited the Police Corps, a program to give college scholarships to young people who pledge to work as
police officers for four years after graduating.
Prior to serving at the Department of Justice, Townsend spent seven years as the founder and
director of the Maryland Student Service Alliance. It was in this role that she led the fight to make
Maryland the first state in the nation to require all high school students perform community service.
Before launching that initiative, she worked as an environmental attorney both in private practice and as
an Assistant Attorney General in Maryland. In addition, in 1982 she managed Senator Edward M.
Kennedy’s successful re-election campaign.
Townsend has taught foreign policy at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of
Maryland, Baltimore County. She has published articles in The New York Times, The Washington Post,
and Washington Monthly, among others. In the mid-eighties she founded the Robert F. Kennedy Human
Rights Award—an award whose recipients now include the Comadres of El Salvador, Adam Michnic of
Poland, and Naude of South Africa. Townsend currently serves on the boards of directors of the Johns
Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, Civic Works, the John F. Kennedy Library
Foundation, and the Institute for Human Virology. She previously served on the boards of the ExportImport Bank, the Wilderness Society, and the Baltimore Urban League and was chair of the Robert
Kennedy Memorial.
An adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s School of Public Policy, Townsend served as
President of Operation Respect, the organization founded by Peter Yarrow that is dedicated to teaching
children personal and social responsibility. For more information please visit www.apbspeakers.com.
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