The Honorable Robert L. Ehrlich, Jr. is senior counsel in the Government Advocacy practice at King & Spalding. He advises clients on a broad array of policy matters and their interactions with the federal government. Having served as Governor, U.S. Congressman, state legislator, and civil litigator, he counsels clients on an array of government matters, with particular expertise in health care, finance, transportation, and economic development.
As Maryland’s first Republican Governor in 36 years when elected in 2002, he improved Maryland’s fiscal condition by turning $4 billion in inherited budget deficits into $2.3 billion in surpluses. His pro-growth economic policies helped create 100,000 new private sector jobs. He was an advocate for Maryland’s world-renown technology economy, enacting policies that positioned Maryland as a national leader in education, biotechnology, health care, and minority business advancement. He made record investments in public schools and authored Maryland’s first public charter schools law, enabling more than 7,000 students to attend 30 new public charter schools. He also doubled funding for need-based college scholarships, helping college enrollment reach an all-time high.
Governor Ehrlich authored the historic Chesapeake Bay Restoration Act to restore America’s largest estuary. The Chesapeake Bay Foundation called it, “the most important environmental achievement in twenty years.”
Governor Ehrlich launched construction on 123 statewide transportation projects in four years, and managed the most successful military base realignment and closure strategy in the nation. He toughened penalties for sex offenders, drunk driving, and witness intimidation and established Maryland’s first Office of Homeland Security.
Governor Ehrlich earned national commendation for empowering individuals with disabilities. He created the nation’s first [state] cabinet-level Department of Disabilities, for which he earned the “Highest Recognition Award” from the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services.
Prior to serving as Governor, Congressman Ehrlich won four terms in the U.S. House of Representatives. In Congress, he served as a member of the House Majority Whip team, wherein he helped pass comprehensive tax relief, greater access to health care, federal education reform, and the first balanced budget in a generation.
He also served in the Maryland House of Delegates from 1986 to 1994, representing Baltimore County. He served on the House Judiciary Committee and was instrumental in shaping state policy on tort reform, juvenile justice, and child abuse and neglect.
Prior to running for public office, Ehrlich was associated with the Baltimore law firm of Ober, Kaler, Grimes and Shriver, where he practiced civil litigation for eleven years. In 2011, he was a founding Member of the Baltimore office of the law firm Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice PLLC.
He earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Politics from Princeton University in 1979, where he captained the freshman and varsity football teams, and his Juris Doctorate from Wake Forest University in 1982.
Governor Ehrlich has been recognized on many occasions for his outstanding public service. In 2009, he became one of a handful of U.S. Citizens to receive the Order of Diplomatic Service award from the Government of Korea.
To continue his legacy as a leader on the issue of executive clemency, in 2013 Governor Ehrlich partnered with Catholic University's Columbus School of Law to create the "CUA Law/Ehrlich Partnership on Clemency" which seeks to make executive clemency fairer, more common, and more transparent. The Partnership provides direct legal services to persons seeking pardons or commutations.
In 2017, Governor Ehrlich became an advisory board member of New Day USA, a Fulton, Maryland based mortgage lender that provides financial solutions to U.S. veteran homeowners and their families.
Governor Ehrlich is married to Kendel Sibiski Ehrlich, a deputy director of the President's Office of National Drug Control Policy, a former public defender, drug court prosecutor, and corporate attorney. The Ehrlichs have two sons - Drew (a football and baseball player at Denison University) and Joshua (a three-sport athlete at Broadneck High School in Arnold, Maryland). They have been active in a wide variety of charitable activities, most notably the Maryland Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, where Kendel Ehrlich is a past board chair.
Governor Ehrlich has authored four books - Turn This Car Around (2011/BenBella), America: Hope for Change (2013/Post Hill Press), Turning Point (2015/Select Books), and Bet You Didn't See That One Coming (2017/Post Hill Press). In addition to his books, his columns appear in The Washington Examiner, The Washington Post, The Weekly Standard, National Review Online, and The Western Journal.