After months of knocking on doors and asking for votes, after Tuesday's Republican State Senate primary came to a close, Sen. Addie Eckardt was ready to take a much-needed breather.
But many others, who already had another election on their minds, had begun phoning, urging her to consider joining the just announced call for candidates in the Aug. 23 election to select a new Cambridge mayor.
It hadn't been the first time folks had suggested she run for that office.
"For a number of years, off and on, I'd be asked about it," Eckardt said. Suddenly, circumstances aligned at just the right moment to favor giving the idea one more look.
Still, she'd just come off a lopsided loss following an intensive campaign, and was getting set to resume the nursing career she's continued to practice while serving in the state House and Senate. Though intrigued with the idea of putting her government experience to work in a new way for Cambridge, Eckardt still hesitated, thinking she had only a day or two to commit to filing the paperwork to run.
Upon learning that she had until July 27, and after a full weekend to process her thoughts, the decision came quickly, bringing with it a renewed sense of excitement to begin channeling her love for living in Cambridge into helping it realize its full potential.
Through both her 28 years of legislative service and deep personal and professional roots in the community, Eckardt knows firsthand many of the issues, opportunities and challenges facing the city.
A psychiatric nurse by training, she and her husband held a variety of positions at the Eastern Shore Hospital Center. But their experience there also extended to helping the hospital relocate and rebuild.
Since downsizing and relocating to Cambridge themselves in 2007, Eckardt has thrived on being able to walk and bike everywhere, and to witness the city's renaissance firsthand. But she's also remained mindful of the pressing ongoing work required, and is especially eager to get started meeting with people, groups and officials to ask questions and learn.
Aware that over the years people have come to identify her as being affiliated with one party (Republican), Eckardt stressed her comfort with and long practice of working across the aisle to accomplish goals benefiting the wider community, along with her deep-seated belief that it's crucial to do so.
That principle, in turn, reflects both her deep personal identification as a nurse, called to go where she's needed, and the faith that God leads her to where she's supposed to be to do the most good.
She answered that call through her work in adult psychiatric nursing and family therapy, as well as serving as a substitute school RN and assisting the Visiting Angels, who went door to door during the pandemic lockdown.
Though she'd never planned on running for office, she felt a similar call to service drawing her to her the Maryland House of Representatives and then the Senate.
Most of all, Eckardt sees herself as someone who, instead of tearing down, prefers to build up, another trait she hopes to share as mayor of Cambridge.