President might call on Cushwa

November 18, 2004|by BRIAN SHAPPELL

For Patricia Cushwa, Monday was just another "normal" day in the Washington County town she has called home for more than three decades.

Then she got a call that changed everything - a call from the White House.

"Nothing was normal after that," said Cushwa, who said she was still in "awe" of the news two days later.

The White House announced Monday, in a news release posted on its Web site, that President Bush intends to nominate Cushwa, a graduate of Hood College in Frederick, Md., to become a U.S. Parole Commission member. The release stated the position's term lasts six years.

Cushwa said that despite a lengthy, 11-month process, which included extensive FBI background checks, the news was a huge surprise.

"You don't know if it will actually happen. There's no guarantee," said Cushwa, 65, of Williamsport. "When I got the call from the White House, that was incredible."


Before the appointment is official, the Senate Judiciary Committee must approve it, and then the Senate votes on the nomination, Cushwa said.

"If I can achieve this, it's going to be a wonderful opportunity and a great honor," Cushwa said.

Cushwa has spent the better part of 30 years as some type of public official.

From 1975-1979, she served as an elected member of the Williamsport Town Council. In 1989, she was appointed to the Maryland State Board of Education and served in the Maryland State Senate from 1989 to 1990, completing the term of her late husband, Victor Cushwa.

She became a member of the Maryland Parole Commission in 1992 and in 1997 became the first woman appointed as chair of that commission.

Cushwa is co-founder of CASA, an agency that helps domestic abuse victims, and has been a member of state and local organizations.

Cushwa currently serves on the Hagerstown Community College Board of Trustees, and used to teach as a adjunct professor at HCC.

Cushwa said she is not sure if the White House will permit her to continue her work with the college, although she would like to.

Cushwa said she will continue to live in the area if she is appointed.

"Western Maryland is my home," Cushwa said.

"The only thing that would get me to leave is if someone elected me governor," she joked.

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