Shelia Bryant is an attorney and activist in the area of Criminal Justice Reform. Growing up in rural Mississippi and in the ghettos of Los Angeles, she overcame poverty and racism to become one of a handful of African American women to achieve the rank of Colonel( O-6) in the United States Marine Corps Reserve.
As an attorney, Ms. Bryant practiced in civil, criminal and family law in Oceanside, CA before accepting a civil service position for the U.S. Navy and relocating to Upper Marlboro Maryland. Her most recent civil service assignment was Inspector General for Naval Forces Europe and Africa while stationed in Naples, Italy.
Ms. Bryant graduated from Jackson State University in 1977 at the age of 19 with a BS in Communications. She worked as a radio announcer on WJSU ad later at WKXI In Jackson MS. Shelia was Commissioned through Officer Candidate School in the Marine Corps in 1982 and held assignments as the Director of the Information Systems Center at the Communications/Electronics School at the Marine Corps Air-Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms, CA; as Officer in Charge of the Tactical Assistance Team for 4th Fleet Service Support Center in Okinawa, Japan and as Test Director at the Marine Corps Tactical Systems Support Activity in Oceanside, CA. She accepted a reserve commission in order to raise a family in 1990. She married Fedelis Tucker (now deceased) who migrated to the United States from Liberia, West Africa. Together they formed Legal Express Attorney Service and had two children, Ciatta Tucker who works in the Pentagon as an active duty Sailor and Fedelis Kromah Tucker, who is currently attending college and participating in ROTC at the University of Maryland.
In Oceanside, Shelia was very active in social justice and community issues. She was one of the first women to ever hold membership in Oceanside JAYCEES, she was an active member of NAACP and helped organize the largest Juneteenth Celebration in the city, with over 50,000 participants in the two-day event. Shelia has always focused on improving the lives of citizens; she was a participant, mediator and board-member of Lifeline Community Services; longstanding member of the North County African American Women’s Association; and Pilgrim United Christian Church, an oasis of liberal theology in the mostly conservative San Diego County. Shelia was selected as North County NAACP’s “Woman of the Year” in 1995 and “Military Person of the Year” in 1997. During this time, Shelia was an active reservist andwas subject to deployment in support of ongoing military operations.
In 1996, Shelia decided to pursue her lifelong goal of becoming an attorney. Sheattended Thomas Jefferson School of Law in San Diego, and worked as a solo-practitionerafter working briefly with the San Diego County District Attorney’s Office. In 2003 Shelia was elected to sit on the Tri-City Hospital Board of Directors, one of the largest employers in the area, focused on issues such as access to quality healthcare, improving maternal health and ensuring the county’s pediatric unit remained viable and available to all citizens.
In 2006, Shelia was mobilized during the Iraq War to serve as the Inspector General for 1st Marine Expeditionary Force, under the leadership of General James Mattis. She deployed to Iraq in 2007 and worked as the Advisor to the Iraqi Ministry of Defense and Minster of Interior to help implement anti-corruption measures and incorporate the rule of law in the Iraqi government. Stationed in the so called “Green Zone”, Shelia was under constant mortar and rocket attack and witnessed the death and injury of many of her colleagues. Her experiences during the war fortified her objection to US participation in foreign wars with dubious purpose and ill-defined goals.
Following her return from Iraq, Shelia accepted a position with the United States Navy as the Inspector General at the Naval Facilities Engineering Command at the Navy Yard in DC. She and her family relocated to Upper Marlboro, Maryland where she became an integral part of her community. Her son attended Largo High School and her daughter attended Prince George’s Community College for a time before enlisting in the U.S. Navy. She volunteered forCASA, a non-profit designed to mentor underserved youth living in foster care; Organizing for America and participated actively in both Obama campaigns.
Shelia recently graduated from Harvard Kennedy School with a Master’s in Public Administration. Her intention is to use the skills as a lawyer, a leader and public servant to advance social justice and help improve the quality of life for the citizens of Maryland and of the United States. She has experienced and overcome many of life’s challenges; poverty and oppression; poor education systems; the horrors of war; the struggle to survive as a business owner and the pressures of being a “citizen soldier”. She is authentic and approachable, represents the values and integrity necessary to represent Maryland and be a vocal supporter of issues that affect our lives. She is married to James Bryant of Vienna Georgia. Mr. Bryant is a retired public school teacher.