A lifelong resident of Howard County, few others would understand their communities better than Robey. Born in Baltimore but raised in Daniels, Robey graduated from Howard High School in 1959 then go on to receive his Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice from the University of Maryland University College and his Master’s Degree in Administrative College from Hood College.
First elected to represent District 13 in the Maryland Senate in 2006, Robey would serve just eight years in the Maryland Senate. His years in the Senate would cap off a 48-year career in public service that saw him serve as a Howard County Police Officer from 1966-1991, Howard County’s Police Chief from 1991-1998 and as the 7th elected Howard County Executive from 1998-2006.
Widely lauded as County Executive for laying the groundwork of the growth and prosperity that Howard County sees today, Robey is clearly remembered for the constant dedication that he displayed to his community and constituents. His tenure in the Senate was marked distinctly by his focus in ensuring that Howard County was fairly represented in the State budgetary process and his service as the Chairman of the Health and Human Services Subcommittee of the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee.
His immediate successor as District 13 Senator and potential successor as Senate Majority Leader, Senator Guy Guzzone spoke fondly of his district mate to the Columbia Flier back in 2013. He said: “He (Robey) is one of the finest public servants that I’ve ever had the privilege to work with.” Guzzone would go on: “He helped build what has become probably one of the greatest places to live, work, and learn in the country.”
In retirement, Senator Robey has continued in his involvement in state issues as a member of both the State Commission to Restore Trust in Policing and the Workplace Harassment Commission. In recent years he’s been honored in numerous ways throughout Howard County including his selection as the recipient of Howard Community College Senator James Clark, Jr. Medal and as the namesake of the James N. Robey Public Service Training Center of the Howard County Police Department.
Robey has clearly taken his place in the history of the Maryland Senate and in the history of Howard County Government as one of the most competent and capable leaders that either entity has ever seen.