By Jeremy Barr, Capital News Service
WASHINGTON—Tari Moore's first Valentine’s Day as a married woman did not go as expected.
Her husband, Steve, forgot, so he did what anyone would do to keep a new union afloat.
"He got me a dog because he was so mortified," said Moore, who in November was elected as Cecil County’s first executive and is the state’s only female county executive.
Valentine’s Day is a special time for Maryland’s politicians; a chance to sneak away from the office and spend time with loved ones.
Unfortunately, the realities of governing cut into the Moores' plans this year. The two are putting off a trip to Las Vegas until after the county executive submits her budget to the County Council, required by March 1.
But it’s time together with her husband of 32 years that Tari Moore values most, as the two have very busy schedules. She leads a county of more than 100,000 people, and he’s a vice president for the Missile Products Division at ATK, a Fortune 500 company.
"Sometimes we take our loved ones for granted. We need to take these opportunities to tell them that we do love them," Moore said.
Since that fateful, forgetful Valentine’s Day moment, Moore said her husband has been “incredibly considerate” and always remembers to get her a card.
For Howard County Executive Ken Ulman, Valentine’s Day is "a moment to take a deep breath and get some time away" with his wife and two young daughters.
Scheduling time together is a "constant balancing act," he said. "We're very creative with my schedule."
Ulman met his wife, Jacqueline, when they were both students -- and student government members -- at the University of Maryland, College Park. He was a legislator and she was treasurer. They’ve been married 13 years.
“I have a wonderful, patient, loving wife who puts up with me," said Ulman, who is serving his second term as county executive and is considering a run for governor in 2014.
He surprised her this year, planning a “special day” of shopping and a visit to the movies after the two spend the night in Baltimore.
"I just try to make her happy," Ulman said.
Valentine's Day has a little extra meaning for Frederick Mayor Randy McClement and his wife, Maryjane, whose birthday falls three days before the holiday.
"I usually just try to make time for her," he said.
Since they sold the bagel shop they owned for 12 years, the McClements, who have been married for 21 years, have had far more time to celebrate together.
"Valentine's Day during those years was almost non-existent," Mayor McClement said. Maryjane baked during the week and did the books, while Randy baked on weekends.
Now, the couple generally exchange modest gifts to celebrate, even when the mayor protests.
"She usually goes to the dollar store to find me something," he said.
And for his wife? "She loves just a little box of chocolate. Nothing big and fancy."
County Executive Tari Moore shared another secret about her relationship with her husband, whom she met because she was dating his best friend at the time.
"He proposed on our first date, though he’ll never admit that," she said.