Delegate District 15: Brian Feldman

Delegate District 15: Brian Feldman

Primary 2002

<sh>Brian Feldman

<lst>Age: 41

Family: Wife, Janice, son, Matthew, 8, Daughter, Rebecca, 6

Campaign Phone: 301-517-5719

E-mail: E-Mail:


Office held: None

Occupation: Attorney

Current Employment: Kozusko Lahey Harris LLC, Washington, D.C.

Education: Johns Hopkins University, Masters Degree in Government, 2000; University of Pittsburgh School of Law, J.D., 1986; Pennsylvania State University, B.S. Accounting, 1983

Community Ties: President, District 15 Democratic Club, Head Coach, MSI Soccer Team, Leader in reactivation of Regency Estate Citizens Association, Resident of Potomac for over a Decade.

Endorsements: Maryland State Teachers Association; Montgomery County Education Association (Teachers); Montgomery County Retired Teachers Association; Montgomery County Career Firefighters Association; Maryland NARAL; Germantown Democratic Club; Metropolitan Washington Council AFL-CIO; Maryland State & D.C. AFL-CIO; Municipal & County Government Employees Organization (MCGEO); New Democrats of Montgomery County; African American Democratic Club; Coalition of Asian-Pacific American Democrats of Maryland; Steven Silverman, President, Montgomery County Council; Douglas Gansler, State’s Attorney, Montgomery County; Susan Lee, Member of House of Delegates (D-16, Bethesda); Lib Tolbert, Former Mayor of Barnesville; George Leventhal, Former Chairman, Montgomery County Democratic Party; Stanton Gildenhorn, Former Chairman, Montgomery County Democratic Party

* Why are you running for this position?

* Battles over many of the issues that are truly relevant to the daily lives of the residents of Montgomery County and District 15 are being fought in the state legislature. My background and experience make me particularly well equipped to be an effective advocate in Annapolis for Montgomery County and my District on these issues.

* What is your top public-service accomplishment?

* Representing the United States of America in courtrooms across the nation for over the decade as a Trial Attorney for the U.S. Department of Justice.

* What are the top problems facing your constituents and what approaches will you use to solve them?

* Our most pressing concern is traffic congestion. The D.C. area has the 3rd worst traffic congestion in the nation. There is no one solution for the mess we’ve gotten ourselves into but instead we must provide a comprehensive set of short and long terms solutions to the problem. I believe that part of the answer includes the construction of a parkway like Intercounty Connector linking I-270 to I-95, extending mass transit beyond Shady Grove to Clarksburg and Frederick, and greatly expanding opportunities and incentives for people to work out of their home.

* The existence of a high quality public school system is at the heart of why many of us have chosen to live and raise our families in Montgomery County. We must be able to successfully make the case that given the tax dollars being sent to Annapolis from this Legislative District, the large scale presence of portable classrooms, class sizes of 30, and multi-year waiting lists for full day kindergarten are simply unacceptable. I will use all my advocacy skills as an experienced trial attorney to make that case more effectively than has been made in the past. Our kids have needs too.

* The preservation of Open Space is another critical issue: Northern Virginia (Tysons Corner, Springfield) is a case study in what I do not want Montgomery County to look like. I am a strong proponent of the principle of Smart Growth and will support measures which are consistent with, and promote, that principle. We do not want an urban sprawl zone extending from the D.C. border to the Frederick County border.

* What qualities, qualifications and characteristics will you bring to this office?

* Professionally, I would be the only member of the Maryland House of Delegates with a background as both a CPA and lawyer. My unique skills as a courtroom advocate were recognized by the Department of Justice in the form of several awards, a quality that I believe distinguishes me from the other candidates. As the only person in the race with a CPA background, I believe I’m uniquely equipped to deal with many of the tax policy issues that the legislature will be confronting in the next several sessions as it faces a more than $1 billion dollar budget deficit.

On the endorsement front, I have been endorsed to date by far more prominent organizations than any other candidate in the race.

I have demonstrated an ability to reach out beyond my own community and garner support from a far broader cross-section of individuals and organizations than any other candidate in this race. By way of example, I=ve been endorsed by the Coalition of Asian-Pacific American Democrats of Maryland, the largest Asian-Pacific political organization in Maryland. Similarly, my support is not limited to Potomac, where I reside, but extends to the upcounty portions of the District as reflected by the endorsement of Lib Tolbert, the former mayor of Barnesville for over 30 years, and the Germantown Democratic Club

* What is one thing you promise not to do if elected?

* I will never breach the public trust.

* What do you predict for the short term (two years or so) future of the Maryland budget and what adjustments will you propose to prepare for your prediction? How is this likely to impact your constituents?

* We have more than a $1 billion budget deficit/fiscal crisis to deal with in the upcoming session while at the same time having to address massive needs for investments in the transportation infrastructure, education and health care areas. As a CPA, and now a tax attorney in private practice, I will do everything I can to see that our tax dollars are managed wisely and responsibly, something that has not always been the case in this State. Moreover, absent a dramatic recovery in the national economy in the near term, which appears unlikely, the State will be faced with little or no choice but to explore all possible revenue enhancing measures to close the gap. My background in the tax policy area as a CPA and tax attorney could be an asset during these debates.

* Do you support the recently reviewed Potomac Master Plan?

* Yes.

* How would you characterize transportation issues in Montgomery County and what specific actions would you support your position as a result?

* The lack of transportation infrastructure development over the past decade, relative to the type of growth our region has experienced, has resulted in the D.C. area being the third worst traffic congestion area in the United States. There is no single solution to the mess we=ve gotten ourselves into. As previously stated, we need a comprehensive set of short and long term solutions. I support a parkway-like InterCounty Connector linking I-270 to I-95, extending the metro line past Shady Grove to Clarksburg and Frederick, as well as providing for far more opportunities and incentives for people to work out of their home. I do not support the construction of any and all roads without regard to the impact on the environment as some do.

* What is your position on the Techway and a new bridge across the Potomac River in Montgomery County? Do you favor a new study?

* There are several concerns I have regarding a new bridge crossing. The focus in the transportation infrastructure area in the near term should be on projects that we as a County and State can reach a fair degree of consensus on. This is essential because only if we present a unified front to the Federal Government we will be able to recover the federal funds necessary to move forward with many needed road and mass transit projects. By contrast, the debate over a new river crossing is an extremely divisive one that inevitably, in my view, tends to undermine efforts to form coalitions and reach consensus on other needed projects. I would simply not devote political and/or financial capital on this issue by way of studies or otherwise until we have made further progress on projects where consensus is achievable.

Moreover, I have concerns that such a bridge would enhance the likelihood of a major sprawl zone extending from D.C. to the Frederick County border. Such a zone would be adverse to attempts to preserve our open space and could be detrimental to the Agricultural Preserve.

* How would you characterize and prioritize the preservation of open space in Maryland Montgomery County?

* Preservation of our open space is a high priority. As stated above, I do not want Montgomery County to look like Northern Virginia and I will support land use policies that ensure that it does not happen.

* Is the current mix of state fees and taxes appropriate and equitable?

* Before commenting on this issue, I would prefer to await until the initial report is to be issued by the Puddester Commission, a 17-member commission appointed by the Speaker of the House to evaluate the overall fiscal structure of the State. The first report is due in December, before the commencement of the next session.

* Schools in Potomac and the rest of the county are overcrowded with renovation, additions and new schools behind schedule. What is the state’s role in solving this and what do you propose? How would you balance the need for funding for school construction and transportation infrastructure?

* The existence of a high quality public school system is at the heart of why many of us have chosen to live and raise our families in Montgomery County and the State has an obligation to ensure that their quality is not diminished by severe overcrowding. By the same token, investing in our transportation infrastructure is equally critical to ensuring that the quality of life of our citizens remains high. For these reasons, I believe that the overall fiscal structure of our State needs to be designed such that capital projects for schools and transportation are funded from very different revenue streams so that they do not have to compete directly with one another. It is my hope that the Puddester Commission, a 17-member commission appointed by the Speaker of the House to evaluate the fiscal structure of the State, will make recommendations along those lines.

* Would you support legislation to require parental notification or consent in the case of a minor seeking an abortion?

* No.

* Please articulate what you want to do to reduce hand-gun violence?

* On the education front, I would push for curriculums in our schools which include social skills training and community or parental involvement in violence prevention programs.

As for hand-gun violence in the broader community, I favor reasonable gun control measures which limit access to guns, including gun licensing/registration requirements and measures designed to discourage illegal gun trafficking. I would oppose attempts to weaken Maryland=s current system for obtaining a permit to carry concealed handgun.