The race for Maryland governor may make history this year. If Delegate Heather Mizeur wins, she will not only be the first female governor of Maryland but also the first openly gay official to grace the state’s political system.
Mizeur has a quirky and charismatic personality. Certainly easygoing and pleasant to listen to, she has a conviction in her campaign to change Maryland and make history.
After announcing her candidacy on July 17, Mizeur has gained quite a reputation, one which has drawn controversy.
“Wherever I go, I get different reactions,” Mizeur told 429Magazine. “Many are excited and see it as very historic. The others are incredibly excited for my vision of Maryland. How you campaign is how you govern.”
Mizeur has been in politics for almost two decades since she held her first job as a legislative director to Representative Joseph P. Kennedy II of Massachusetts in1995 and later the Director of State Affairs at the National Association of Community Health Centers in 1998.
She has worked for US Representatives Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky of Pennsylvania, Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas, and Presidential candidate John Kerry. Mizeur has also gained her first public seating in the government on the Takoma Park City Council as well as running for a seat in the Maryland House of Delegates in District 20. Since then she has risen in popularity and has acquired endorsements with Montgomery County Education Association, the Washington Post, the League of Conservation Voters, Sierra Club, and NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland.
Mizeur has a strong vision for Maryland and not only plans to focus on the LGBT community, but has set goals to improve in areas of health, environment, education, and employment opportunities.
“I advocate for marriage equality, gender identity, but the issues also transcend not just the LGBT community as we have to fight inequality everywhere like economic inequality,” Mizeur said.
While Mizeur jokes that being gay is the least interesting part about her, she mentions that her orientation has motivated her political career.
“I have always had it be part of my politics. Speaking the truth is your best asset as it is conviction,” said Mizeur. “Take the risk as it strengthens your core and will make you an effective leader.”
Mizeur came out in college, but like many gays and lesbians, she knew at a young age.
Mizeur recalled a story where she experienced hatred while working for a Catholic campus ministry. She had a friend practicing to be a priest and he wasn’t pleased with her orientation.
“My friend wanted nothing to do with me. He thought it was a cruel joke from God that I was a lesbian,” Mizeur said. “I believed he’d come around as I have unconditional love.”
In the end, he reconciled with Mizeur and apologized for his behavior. This challenging experience made him a better priest, Mizeur explained.
“I’m not the next in-line politician that ensures the status quo. I want to be fearless, unwavering, with a courage of my convictions,” she said.
Mizeur’s campaign rests upon her love for Maryland.
“I love this state. It’s limitless. We have the opportunity to address all these issues from schools, jobs, and environments that some people think is too risky,” Mizeur said. “I’m someone who is not going to play it safe politically. I want to blow the doors and I’m not thinking about the next four years.”
And while Heather Mizeur is focused on her current campaign as Maryland’s first female and openly gay governor, she jokes that her partner would be a fabulous first lady in the future.
A girl, any girl, can dream big.