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Statements of Candidates for Maryland Chapter Executive Committee

Candidates for Maryland Chapter Executive Committee


David O’Leary

I am running for re-election for a third two year term on the chapter executive committee. Since moving to Maryland in the fall of 2005, my involvement in chapter activities includes service as the Cool Cities Campaign Chair from the spring of 2006 through the spring of 2008, when I became conservation chair. I’ve continued in this role and increased my commitment by serving as chapter vice-chair since January, 2009. I helped to form our current legislative committee and energy team. I’ve actively advocated for many Sierra Club positions in Annapolis and on Capitol Hill, and coached others on Maryland’s legislative process. As a member of the chapter’s staff oversight committee, I work closely with the chapter staff on an almost daily basis on a wide range of issues from office operations and grant writing to conservation campaign planning and execution. I participated in the hiring process for our three conservation organizers and the new chapter director.

In 2008-09, I served on a national energy policy committee, and I am currently serving on a national task force on chapter-national relations. Prior to moving to Maryland in the fall of 2005, I was active with the New Jersey Chapter, serving as a local group conservation chair and group outings chair.

Over the last few years as a member of the chapter executive committee, I have participated in and supported local group activities across the state, from the Eastern Shore to southern Maryland to Garrett County. One of my priorities for the upcoming term is to increase the focus on understanding and supporting local initiatives throughout the state, while maintaining awareness and seeking alignment with national campaign priorities, including Beyond Coal. I look forward to working with our new chapter director to continue our progress in increasing the effectiveness of the Maryland Chapter through broader member and activist involvement.

My other activities include planning and conducting Leave No Trace training courses for Boy Scout leaders across the northeast, and too infrequent backpacking and canoe trips. Professionally, I provide strategic planning and other business development services for technology companies, especially focusing on renewable energy, energy efficiency, and waste reduction/materials efficiency.

I would appreciate your vote. Please feel free to contact me with questions or suggestions at 301-580-8673 or by email to


Karen Moody

Hi, I’m Karen Moody, and I’m running for a position on the Maryland Chapter Executive Committee. I am currently the outings chair for the Catoctin Group, and I lead at least one outing a month in our region (second Saturday of every month, please join us!). I am an avid hiker, and I love sharing the diversity of habitats our state has to offer. I am firmly convinced that advocacy starts with an appreciation of what natural resources we have.

If elected, I intend to support ongoing efforts to get people out to areas that are in need of protection, so we can increase our membership and get more people invested in our conservation work. I am interested in supporting the Sierra Club on an organizational level as well, and was a member of the Jamboree planning committee this year. I am also directly committed to advocacy work, and have experience working with permit review, state and local governments, nonprofit organizations, and citizens through my former job with the protected species section of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission. I currently teach biology and environmental science at Carroll and Harford Community Colleges, where I involve my students in study and conservation of our local habitats through semester-long projects and outings. I’d like to continue putting those skills to work for the Sierra Club at the state level. Thanks for your vote!


Don Grace

Don Grace is retired from a 33-year career with the United States Government Department of the Army and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Don worked for Pennsylvania Congressman Joseph Hoeffel as a Congressional Fellow for two years during the 106th Congress, specializing in legislative issues related to land use, including Housing, Transportation, Energy, Agriculture, and the Environment. Active in his former community in Montgomery County, Maryland, Don was president of the Calverton Citizens Association for five terms, was a member of the Citizens Advisory Committee engaged in writing the Master Plan for Eastern Montgomery County and was Chairman of the East County Citizens Advisory Board.

An active outdoorsman, Don was a Field Team Leader for the Appalachian Search and Rescue Conference and a training officer for the wilderness search and rescue team based at the University of Maryland. After Don retired from his federal career in February, 2003, he hiked 1,350 miles of the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to New York. In 2004, Don and his wife, Nancy Smith, moved to the Eastern Shore of Maryland and reside in Bishopville, Maryland. From 2005 to 2008, Don served as President of Habitat for Humanity of Worcester County, Maryland and was a member of the Worcester County Task Force on Workforce Housing. He has represented the Eastern Shore Group on the Maryland Sierra Club Executive Committee since 2009.


Ron Henry

Although I have been an environmental advocate for many years, I did not formally join Sierra Club until 2001, and I became a Life Member in 2006. I served in the Sierra Club as the Harford County representative on the Greater Baltimore Group (GBG) Executive Committee from 2001-2004. In 2004 I accepted the chair of GBG and served in that role from July 2004 - July 2008. During this timeframe I was active with Maryland Chapter as both GBG Chair/ Delegate and in 2007 also served as chapter vice-chair.

In 2008, I accepted the nomination as chair, Maryland Chapter Sierra Club and have served in that capacity since then. During this timeframe as chapter chair, I have been blessed with having an energetic, caring and hard-working executive and conservation committees, staff and many volunteers.

This resulted in team efforts that have enabled the MD Chapter to realize significant environmental victories such as the recent ruling by MDE denying the permit for the Cross County Connector in Waldorf, MD. Thus, “Saving Mattawoman Creek” became a reality earned from many years of effort from several area conservation groups; our support and a two-year chapter campaign to achieve that objective was a major boost in those efforts and a major factor in that accomplishment.

Additionally, we were successful with our opposition to two major electrical grid expansion campaigns, PATH & MAPP, in that both are essentially off-the-table for at least the next decade and hopefully longer. We can also be proud that our successful efforts in national Sierra’s energy campaign Beyond Coal has earned us recognition from national Sierra through our selection as recipients of Beyond Coal grant funding for our MD coal campaign. The Beyond Coal grants and success in receipt of other private grants, have enabled the chapter to make decisions to move forward in building the chapter with hiring additional staff and a chapter director. However, let me emphasize that the function of the additional staff is not to replace volunteers, but rather utilizing staff to increase our member advocacy and activism in getting more volunteers as feet-on-the-street, to enhance our campaigns and outreach—they cannot and will not replace volunteers since we, the volunteers, are the “grass roots” and each of us is much needed—we have much to do.

I have also worked actively with other environmental groups because I fully believe that all environmental groups must work together in order to achieve our common objectives. Together we will win—separately we will not be as effective as we must be!

I am a practicing Native American who believes in conservation because this environment that we call Mother Earth has been too long abused. There are many factors that have contributed to our environmental dilemmas. They all must be addressed if we are going to pass this planet over to the next seven generations in a corrected condition that will sustain them. It is an onerous but not impossible task. One of our main purposes is to be good stewards of this Mother Earth and it is we adults who must show the way so that our children will have the example to follow. I look forward to serving in a chapter at-large capacity.


David Hauck

A little more than five years ago, I began working on local environmental issues by volunteering to lead the Sierra Club’s “Cool Cities” campaign here in Montgomery County. The aim of the campaign is to have city and county governments adopt policies and launch programs that will reduce greenhouse gases by all of their residents and businesses by 80 percent by 2050. In part due to the efforts of local Sierra Club members, in April, 2008, Montgomery County passed wide-ranging greenhouse gas reduction legislation that mandates the 80 percent reduction target. I participated in writing the county’s Climate Action Plan that spells out how to achieve that goal.

From January, 2007 until January, 2011, I was the chair of the Montgomery County Sierra Club’s executive committee. During my time as excom chair, we worked to concentrate our efforts on three priority goals for the county—increasing the energy efficiency of homes; restoring and expanding natural areas and wildlife habitats; and fighting sprawl development by promoting smart growth—walkable, mixed-use communities served by rapid and reliable public transit.

During the 2010 elections I worked with other Montgomery folks to vet candidates for state and local offices in Montgomery County. Results in Montgomery County reflected our hard work and our effective collaboration with other organizations. Of the 30 people we endorsed in the primary, only four lost and we picked up four excellent new delegates in the state legislature.

Betsy Johnson, current political chair for the MD Chapter, has asked me to take over the chairmanship of the MD Political Committee for the 2012 election.  She and I will be working together to make sure that the MD Chapter elects environmental leaders to our congressional seats and a president who will protect our long-standing environmental regulations.  Stay tuned for more information on our plans as the election progresses. 

I look forward to continuing to work on all of these issues as a member of the Maryland Chapter Executive Committee.                                                                             n



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