August 27, 2002
Family: Husband, David O. Stewart, children Matthew, Colin & Rebecca Stewart
Campaign phone: 301-946-0662
Offices held: Mayor of Garrett Park, 2000 to present
Current employment: mayor
Education: Rutgers Law School, Newark, New Jersey.
Board of Editors, Rutgers Law Review J.D. 1976
Smith College, Northampton Massachusetts, A.B. 1973
Community Ties: Chair, Montgomery Women - A Leadership and Political Action Committee; Board of Directors, Montgomery County Parks Foundation; Chair, Town of Garrett Park Set Back Advisory Committee; Member, Town of Garrett Park Charter Review Committee, Treasurer, Childrens’ International Summer Villages, Inc.; Montgomery County Conference Center Advisory Group; Montgomery County Council Super-Majority Task Force; Vice Chair, Board of Directors, Montgomery Housing Partnership, Inc. (1995); Maryland Citizen Planners Association (1987-1994), President, 1991-1993; Montgomery County Inter-Agency Coordinating Board (1991-1994); Montgomery County Commission on Child Care; Silver Spring Citizens' Advisory Board (1983-1986); East Silver Spring Elementary School PTA, President 1985-1986; Board of Directors, Silver Spring YWCA (1984-1986); Shepherd's Table Community Liaison Committee (1984-1986); Cub Scout leader (1989-1993); Cedar Lane Unitarian Universalist Church, Sunday School teacher, Chair of We Care Committee; Religious Education Council
Endorsements: Gazette,. County Executive Doug Duncan, former County Executive Neal Potter, Montgomery Women, Montgomery County Retired Teachers Association
* Why are you running for this position?
* I am running because I care deeply about Montgomery County’s communities and I feel that the lack of action on transportation initiatives to date is having devastating effects on our quality of life. As Mayor of the Town of Garrett Park, I hear most frequently from Town residents with complaints about the traffic – yet I can do nothing about it in my current capacity. If elected to the County Council, I will make relieving traffic congestion and improving County communities my top priority.
* What is your top public-service accomplishment?
* My eight years on the Planning Board and my work in developing Town support for a debated renovation project through a referendum and obtaining a related $640,000 in federal, state and county funding.
* What are the top five problems facing your constituents and what approaches will you use to solve them?
* Transportation – I will support the ICC and the Go Montgomery plan, although I have some concerns about intersection improvements that can divide communities and devastate neighborhoods. I am entirely confident that we can design an ICC that meets environmental concerns, has limited access and development along it that conforms to current restrictions. I believe we need to be aggressive about having a coordinated transportation plan and a strong game plan for obtaining funding at the state and federal levels. I support a regional transportation authority.
Education – I support aggressively moving forward to continue to reduce class sizes, expand all –day kindergarten and move the school construction and modernization program forward.
Affordable Housing – I think it is incumbent upon government to provide land and make it easier for affordable housing to be constructed.
Mental health funding – This is a significant problem for many County residents, and I will fight to fund the gap between what the state is providing and what our residents need.
Pedestrian safety. I support aggressive enforcement and design measures that enhance and protect the pedestrian and discourage and slow vehicle speed through neighborhoods
* What qualities, qualifications and characteristics will you bring to this office?
* A finely honed ability to listen and bring people of diverse views together by helping them to identify common ground. I bring twenty years of community based experience in working for and with individuals and communities of interest in solving problems.
* How will voters best distinguish between you and your opponents?
* I am a working mother of three, with twenty years of community-based experience. I have worked with stakeholders of every sort in many parts of the county on a wide variety of issues, including land use, municipal issues, child care, education and housing. I’ve been a member of the Montgomery County Planning Board, Montgomery Parks Foundation, Montgomery Housing Partnership, the Child Care Commission, the Silver Spring Citizens’ Advisory Board, and a PTA president, among other things.
* What is one thing you promise not to do if elected?
* I will not make promises that I do not intend to keep.
* What do you predict for the short-term (two-year) outlook of the Montgomery County budget and what adjustments will you propose to prepare for your prediction? Where can the county afford to trim the budget?
* I have not seen any current County revenue projections, but based on the Town of Garrett Park’s declining receipts over the past two years, I would predict continuing shortfalls in County revenues as well.
* Do you support the recently reviewed Potomac Master Plan? Specific elements that might need revision?
* I will respect the Plan as adopted, although I disagree with its policy not to include affordable housing. I also worry that the level of detail on specific sites and issues is so high that it may preclude new ideas from being properly implemented over the course of the plan, which should ideally be for at least 10 to 15 years.
* How would you characterize transportation issues in Montgomery County and what specific actions would you support as a result? Please address your position on: Smart Growth; Metro Purple Line; ICC; Regional Transportation Authority; recently passed County Council plan calling for more than $4 billion in state funding over the next 10 years; raising the gas tax and other possible means of paying for transportation infrastructure.
* I support all of these, while of course the challenge will be in the details. Transportation is a key issue for County residents. As a citizen member of the County Planning Board, I recommended land uses that depended upon planned infrastructure. Much of the development that I recommended has taken place; unfortunately, much of the accompanying infrastructure has not been built. If elected, I will work hard to build the roads and transit that were always planned to support the development that has occurred.
* What is your position on a Techway and new bridge across the Potomac River in Montgomery County? Do you favor a new study?
* I support studying a possible crossing at Point of Rocks, as well as transit along the American Legion Bridge.
* How would you characterize and prioritize the preservation of open space in Montgomery County? What actions would you take?
* I think it is critical to preserve green space and protect the agricultural preserve. I support the variety of programs in place for acquisition of more. This is a prime objective of the Parks Foundation, of which I was a founding member.
* Is the current rate and mix of county fees and taxes appropriate and equitable? What would you do differently?
* I believe that equity is key. We need to assure that those who benefit from services pay a fair share of the cost. That, of course, is easier said than done, but it is a principle that will guide my review of the various choices we must make in finding resources for programs and services.
* 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?
* This is a huge issue. Obviously, we must obtain our rightful share of school and transportation funding from Annapolis and work as a team to ensure that this happens. I believe we will need to pursue all possible revenue sources.
* Does the special exception process in the county work as it should? Changes you would propose?
* I have a good deal of experience in this area, between my 8 years on the Planning Board, my service on a Council special exception task force in the 1990s, and my work as an attorney on behalf of communities and applicants before the Board of Appeals. It seems to me that as we add more detail to the review, we have elevated special exceptions into mini-rezoning cases. This suggests that the Council does not have confidence in the citizen boards whom we expect to exercise discretion based on the unique facts and circumstances of each case. I have no changes to propose at this time, except that I think we need to make it easier to provide affordable and senior housing generally.