When I ran for the County Council in 2010, I ran on a platform of progressive values: supporting education and public transportation, protecting our environment, helping the most vulnerable and boosting our economic competitiveness.
This past November, I kicked off my re-election campaign with a fantastic event attended by hundreds of enthusiastic Democrats and community activists.
This election will be competitive, and I need your support to finish strong. But first, I invite you to consider my record.
I introduced and passed a bill to restore Montgomery County’s Earned Income Tax Credit after the last council cut it, and I supported one of the highest minimum wage rates in the nation — two policies that combined make Montgomery County one of the nation’s leaders in fighting poverty. I cast the deciding vote for a bill to protect janitors and service workers from layoffs, and I walked the picket line to support unionizing our trash workers, who now have a union. I supported budget increases to provide health care through county clinics for residents who lack insurance — also a national model policy — and to restore services in our great libraries.
Education and Children
The Great Recession challenged the county to protect education, but we did it, and so did the state. This year’s MCPS budget – $2.225 billion – is an all-time record. We are also spending an additional $125 million on school construction debt service, $84 million on school retiree health benefits, $53 million on school support services and $22 million on school IT modernization, over and above the MCPS budget. As a parent of young children concerned about preparing kids for school, I drafted and passed a bill requiring the county to consider including space for child care in every facility we build.
I introduced and passed the Open Data Act of 2012 to require our county government to further open its books to the public. The result is a new website with employee compensation, food inspections, residential permits, budget information and much, much more that is growing by the day. All council committee sessions are now recorded on video, which you can watch live on cable, our website and even your smart phone. Our county won a national award for its efforts.
I voted for two landmark bills to protect the county’s tree canopy. I also voted for stormwater fees to clean up the bay and a bag fee to protect our local streams. I was the only Council Member to vote in committee against a misguided effort to repeal part of the bag fee, before it was withdrawn. And I have insisted on environmentally responsible plans for Ten Mile Creek.
When the future of important transit projects like the Purple Line and the upcounty Corridor Cities Transitway was on the line, I helped launch a successful statewide effort to fund them. While clarifying that improving Metro is our top transportation priority, I also supported a master plan to establish a full Bus Rapid Transit system around the county as well as other master plans to provide for more desperately needed housing — including affordable housing — around transit stations.
Jobs and Competitiveness
Before I came to the council, our county had no strategic plan for attracting and retaining key industries. So I drafted and passed a bill to require one. I also passed a bill to give tax credits to cybersecurity companies, a booming sector that Montgomery County could one day dominate. And I launched a nightlife initiative designed to help us retain our young workers and empty nesters.
Those are some highlights from my record. I hope you agree that I am on the right track. And if you do, I need your help to continue my work.
Please help me to keep moving Montgomery County forward.