This story was corrected at 2:40 p.m. on March 7, 2014. An explanation follows the story.
Democrat Ana Sol Gutierrez was elected to the Maryland House of Delegates in 2002, the first Latina to serve in that body, and now 12 years later she is asking voters to return her to her post for a fourth term representing District 18.
Gutierrez, 72, sparked rumors of possible retirement last fall when she said she was thinking about whether to run again or not. But she filed as a candidate Dec. 16, 2013, long before the Feb. 25 filing deadline.
“That’s been made too big a deal,” she said. “I’ve been over 20 years in public service. When it was time to say would I go through another four years ... you think about the best use of your time. Everybody should think about it.”
Before being elected to the House of Delegates, Gutierrez served on the Board of Education for Montgomery County from 1990-1998. She was also a member of the Governor’s Commission on Hispanic Affairs, 1989-91 and 1992-94, and Deputy Administrator, Research and Special Programs Administration, U. S. Department of Transportation, 1994-96.
Gutierrez said she did think about stepping down but feels there is still work for her to do in the job.
“It has the potential for making real change in people’s lives,” she said. “I like making change in public policy and I like the opportunity, when you are dealing with legislation, to set policies.”
She said she is most proud of her work helping Maryland become “the progressive Maryland we should be.” She points to her work to help pass the Maryland Dream Act, on marriage equality and abolishing the death penalty.
“That [the death penalty] was my first hearing in 2003 and we finally passed it last year,” she said.
She is also proud of staying close to the community she represents, which includes Kensington, Garrett Park, Chevy Chase, Wheaton, and parts of Rockville and Silver Spring.
“I’m the only Latina representative from Montgomery County,” she said. “Yet Montgomery County has the largest Latino population [of any county in Maryland].”
Locally she supports building the Purple Line.
“I see it as a social issue,” she said. “People are taking three buses to work, leaving their families.”
Gutierrez was born in El Salvador and came to the United States when she was 3 or 4, she said. Her father worked with the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. She attended the University of Pennsylvania, studying chemistry and computer engineering. She is retired and devotes her time to public service and enjoying her grandchildren. She did not give an amount raised so far in her campaign, but said she has a lot of support from individuals and labor.
“I don’t believe in expensive campaigns,” she said.
She also said she runs a double campaign, one in English and one is Spanish.
District 18 has three representatives in Annapolis. Gutierrez and the other two incumbents, Alfred Carr and Jeff Waldstreicher are all running for reelection. They are challenged by Rick Kessler, Elizabeth Matory, Natali Fani-Gonzalez and Emily Shetty, all Democrats.
The primary election will be held June 24, with the general election scheduled for Nov. 4.
An earlier version of this story had an incorrect reference to the number of terms Gutierrez has served. The reference was incorrect in the headline and photo caption, too.