by Lisa Tome
Although he has "official" offices in both Annapolis and Rising Sun, Delegate David Rudolph has been more likely to meet his constituents at the McDonald's restaurants in Rising Sun and North East, North East Denny's or Dunkin' Donuts, or Elkton's Cracker Barrel.
"I held many more meetings outside my office than I ever did in my office. You get a lot of work done meeting with constituents over a cup of coffee," said Rudolph while sitting at Rising Sun McDonald's. "Some of my major projects became a reality at Denny's."
After two decades as a state delegate in Maryland's general assembly, Rudolph, 65, lost his bid for reelection in November.
"I've been in Rising Sun over 30 years. I'm not going anywhere," said Rudolph. "And I'm a young 65."
Rudolph's public life started years before he entered the political arena.
He worked in Cecil County Public Schools beginning in 1973. He started as a teacher and then moved into administration.
"My serving as a principal and administrator in schools provided me with many abilities. I was able to provide leadership. Those things helped me greatly as a person in public life. I learned public speaking and working with people," he said.
He has been the Director of Teacher Education at Cecil College since 2002 and remains in that post. He is also the college's chair of Social Sciences and Education. "I enjoy working at the college. Dr. Bolt is doing a great job as interim president," he said.
He has been a state delegate since 1995. Since 2007 he has been vice chair of the House Economic Matters Committee and chair of the property and casualty insurance subcommittee. He also chaired and was part of many other legislative committees, sub committees, and councils. During his tenure with the general assembly, he also collected numerous honors including Outstanding Legislator of the Year, Hero of the Chesapeake Bay, and many others.
He said to have served has been "an honor and a privilege."
"...While I will let others and time determine the impact of my service to our county, I am the most proud of my work in helping to better the lives of citizens and in helping organizations achieve their goals. I hope we have eased the lives of those needing our assistance and helped to make those organizations committed to our county more successful," said Rudolph, in a written statement.
He said there are three areas in which he feels he made the greatest impact: healthcare, public safety, and education. In healthcare he said that the establishment of both West Cecil Health Center and the University of Maryland Dental School have had a big impact. In public safety, he worked for improvements at schools for traffic signals at building entrances. More recently, there was the announcement that a traffic signal will be installed at Firetower Road at Tome Highway. There was also a fire boat pier added in Charlestown and a newly added traffic unit at Perryville Fire Company.
He said in education, he fought for school construction funding, helped establish the Regional Higher Education Center and University Research Park, and got more funding for Cecil College.
"A lot of that was created by constituents who reached out," said Rudolph. "At the end of the day my goal was to make Cecil County a better place for this and the next generation."
"I believe strongly that for Cecil County, our best days lie ahead of us. I hope I've laid the foundation for that," he said.
He will remain in office until January 13. "But my love for the citizens of this great county will never diminish," he said.
Since the election, he has worked to tie up loose ends. "I've been working to close out projects we've been working on. I've met with the mayors of the towns, the (county) council members, Al Wein, the county executive, and the Bainbridge Development Corporation," he said.
"I'm not going anywhere. I'll still be involved in the community in whatever way that is," he said.
He is saddened by the loss of his post.
"We campaigned hard and had a lot of tearful supporters. We planned for another four years but the citizens made a different decision. I take the results sadly but we move on," he said. "I will miss my ability to move Cecil County forward. My commitment was to help make Cecil a better place and to work with citizens and organizations to help make it better."
Rudolph's said his greatest support has been at the office and at home.
His legislative assistant Eileen Winer, has worked by his side for 20 years. "She knows state government like the back of her hand. I believe we were able to make a long term impact on lives. I'm very, very pleased," he said. "She just had a grandchild and is excited to be a grandmother. She may still be involved in the legislature. There has been no final decision about her future plans," he said of Winer.
He and his wife, Diana, have been married for 32 years. They have three children and two granddaughters. He said his decision to run for another term was a family decision. "I am looking forward to the extra time with my family. Relaxing and going out to dinner. She (Diana) graciously allowed me this opportunity (to serve)."