Q&A with Maryland comptroller candidate Del. Brooke Lierman (‘97)


Photo courtesy Brooke Lierman

Maryland Del. Brooke Lierman (left), who graduated from Whitman in 1997, is running to be the first woman in the state’s highest financial position. An education advocate, Orioles fan and former Black & White writer, Lierman said she hopes to bring “new energy” to the comptroller’s office.

By Lily Freeman

Maryland Delegate Brooke Lierman (‘97) announced her candidacy for state comptroller December 17. The comptroller serves as Maryland’s senior financial officer, managing tax collection, distributing state reimbursements to counties and tackling other top fiscal issues. If she wins the November 2022 election, Lierman, a civil rights attorney from Baltimore, will become the state’s first female comptroller. 

Current Comptroller Peter Franchot, a Maryland gubernatorial candidate, has recently used his position to speak out about small businesses’ struggles during the pandemic. Lierman’s priorities, in addition to helping small businesses, include confronting income inequality and combating climate change. 

Lierman is also a former Black & White in-depth director, and the recipient of a first place win at the 1996 Columbia Scholastic Press Association Gold Circle awards for her story about baseball player Cal Ripken’s triumphs. 

Responses have been edited for length and clarity.


The Black & White: Why did you decide to run for comptroller?

Brooke Lierman: I’ve had the pleasure of serving as a state delegate for almost seven years now — representing a district that has thriving neighborhoods, but also communities that are really hurting. I know from serving on the Appropriations Committee and our Pensions Committee how important the role of the comptroller is, and I believe that I have the ability to be a champion for Maryland on income-based issues. I’m excited to apply my experience as a delegate into unlocking opportunities, empowering communities and small businesses and helping to build more financially resilient families all over Maryland.

B&W: What would it mean to become Maryland’s first woman comptroller? 

BL: I think it’s important that all viewpoints be represented at the state level. As a woman attorney and woman legislator, I bring the experience of moms and women to statewide office, and perhaps approach problems from perspectives that some of my male counterparts may overlook. People have preconceived notions of what officeholders should look like, or how they should act, and I, as a woman, may not always fit those outdated stereotypes. However, women have demonstrated their political might over the past few elections, and I think it’s time for Maryland to have more female representation.

B&W: How did your experiences at Whitman lead you to where you are today?

BL: I was on The Black & White, so I developed an appreciation for journalism and the critical community-based role of robust local news sources. I was also a member of the Whitman crew team. It’s a tough sport, and I gained a lot of grit by being there. 

I also learned that it’s important to reach high. My guidance counselor at Whitman told me not to apply to my top choice school; he said I would never get in, and it was a waste of time. I disregarded his advice and applied, and I got in. High school experiences like that helped me learn not to listen to all advice that is given to me, but to sometimes listen to my gut, and to reach higher than perhaps other folks think I’m ready to.

I have no idea why he didn’t want me to apply to Dartmouth. He used to wear these crazy plaid pants.

B&W: What do you hope to accomplish as comptroller?

BL: I hope to leave the world a little better, fairer and greener than when I assumed the position, not just for my own children, but for children who are not as fortunate as mine. As comptroller, I want to be the people’s advocate — for them to know that I’ve got their back, and if they have a challenge that they need help overcoming, that I will be there. The comptroller’s office will be there to solve it.

B&W: Why should students care about the comptroller’s work?

BL: The future of the state is, in some ways, decided by the fiscal decisions that we are making in the legislature. In a post-pandemic Maryland, the comptroller’s office is uniquely positioned to focus on building more financially resilient families, communities and small businesses. It’s these fiscal policies that will be able to shape our state into one where our students have brighter futures, where their families are doing better and where they’ll be able to make a difference in their communities.

I think the team at the comptroller’s office is doing meaningful and impactful work to address the needs of Marylanders and small businesses through this incredibly challenging year. I’m excited to build on the good work that Peter Franchot has done by bringing a new vision and new energy to the office, so we can truly rise to meet the moment.

B&W: How should students with political aspirations go about realizing those goals?

BL: Just look for ways to get involved. I think it’s critical that you do your best where you are, while not always thinking about the next step. It’s about finding the place where your passion lies, and doing the best that you can; and finding a job you love, where you can make a difference, and keeping yourself open to possibilities. It’s important not to live your life around trying to maneuver to hold office. You’ve got to live your life in the present tense, but be open to future possibilities.

To stay updated on Del. Lierman’s campaign, visit her website here.