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Cushwa sworn in

February 01, 2005|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

Now that she has been confirmed and sworn in as a U.S. Parole Commissioner, Patricia Cushwa says she again will be on the road five days a week heading toward the metropolitan area.

"The difference is now I will be going to Chevy Chase (Md.) instead of Baltimore," Cushwa said from her Williamsport home Monday morning.

Cushwa, 66, previously served two six-year terms on the Maryland Parole Commission, including a stint as the first woman chairperson. That came to an end in 2004 when she wasn't reappointed.

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The White House announced in November that President Bush intended to nominate Cushwa to the five-member federal commission. A Democrat, Cushwa would fill one of two minority party slots, she said.

While parole has been abolished for federal offenders, the U.S. Parole Commission has responsibilities for offenders sentenced in the District of Columbia Superior Court, military offenders transferred to the federal prisons, American citizens convicted overseas and brought back to the United States, and federal offenders who committed their crimes prior to the abolition of federal parole in the mid-1980s.

A graduate of Hood College in Frederick, Md., Cushwa has spent the better part of 30 years in public service.

From 1975 to 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.

Cushwa is co-founder of CASA, an agency that helps domestic abuse victims. Her federal appointment means she must step down from the Hagerstown Community College Board of Trustees, Cushwa said Monday.

Following an intensive 11-month background check by the FBI, Cushwa was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee and her appointment was voted on by the full Senate. She was sworn in Dec. 13.

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