The Primary Election for Montgomery County state and local offices, plus members of Congress, is Tuesday, June 24.
If you want some choice in who will represent you on County Council, as County Executive, in the Maryland General Assembly, now is the time to engage. If you think it doesn’t matter much, these are the people who make land use decisions, decide what to do with county property, who set tax rates, who decide how much money will go to schools, who control services that affect traffic and many other things that affect quality of life more than anything that happens at a national level.
Currently, all of Montgomery County is represented by Democrats at all levels.
In previous weeks, the Almanac printed coverage of County Council District 1 and County Executive. This week, it features County Council at large.
Candidates responded to requests as for information about why their candidacy matters, and why in Potomac in particular. Candidates also provided a short bio. These responses have been edited for length, but are in the candidates’ own words.
In coming weeks, we will publish responses from candidates for State Senate and Delegate from Districts 15 and 16.
There are nine members of the County Council, five district members and four at-large members. Every Potomac resident is represented by the District 1 councilmember and the four at-large members.
Six Democrats will appear on the June 24 ballot, vying for four slots on the November ballot. In November, four Democrats will face four Republicans to fill the four at-large seats on Montgomery County Council.
The Republicans are Robert Dyer, Chris Fiotes, Adol T. Owen-Williams II and Shelly Skolnick.
Here are the key qualifications and positions of the six Democrats, in their own words.
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: I have more than 20 years of experience working on progressive issues and campaigns. After I graduated from Miami University with a degree in political science, I accepted my first position as staff aide for U.S. Sen. Howard Metzenbaum (D-Ohio). In 1992, as advertising director on the Clinton-Gore campaign (for which I received a “Media All-Star” award from Media Week magazine in 1993), I supervised a staff of 40 and had a $75 million budget. As a media professional who managed multi-million dollar advertising budgets for national campaigns and most recently for the Spanish language television network, Telemundo, I am careful about spending clients’ money and accounting for every penny. As a county councilmember, I will do the same for Montgomery County residents and taxpayers.
CIVIC EXPERIENCE: I have lived in Montgomery County for 24 years, with my husband Steve Seeger, including 10 years in downcounty – first in an apartment in Bethesda, then as a mother of two young boys in Kensington; and now for 14 years upcounty in the Agricultural Reserve.
I am legislative director of the Sugarloaf Citizens Association; was appointed by County Executive Ike Leggett to the Upcounty Citizens Advisory Board where I am land use chair; and served as a community leader on the regional Transportation Planning Board. I am a founding member of the Save Ten Mile Creek Coalition.
I want to change the way the Montgomery County Council does business – especially on land use issues and transparency. Citizens must be listened to, must be included in decisions, and must be treated with respect. This is endemic in other branches of county government too: Issues such as the Brickyard controversy could have been avoided with more back-and-forth with the community. Brickyard is just one of many examples I am hearing from around the county. I will listen, talk with all stakeholders in my deliberations, and lead on the issues I care about.
Road improvements and public transit cannot be an afterthought. Intersection improvements, road fixes and public transit are tools to ending the traffic crisis in the county. From Chevy Chase to Clarksburg, White Flint to White Oak, our growth is outpacing infrastructure. With the planned increase in density countywide, and with our already overburdened streets and intersections, we need accurate third-party traffic analysis and increased mass transit for our economic growth and quality of life.
Portables are emblematic of our county’s irresponsible choice to prioritize growth over our children’s education. It’s simple: Before we approve large-scale density, we must ensure that infrastructure keeps pace and that our schools have the capacity to handle the growth. If you watch my campaign video www.bethdaly.org/why-im-running, you’ll know my concern about the proliferation of portable classrooms. Portables should be an emergency/temporary – not permanent – solution to student population growth. I know Bells Mill Elementary School fought hard to get its portables replaced, after students and staff developed nosebleeds, headaches and nausea. Potomac Elementary School also had to fight for new portables, and is still waiting to replace its 1949 facility. I also will work with our Annapolis delegation for more school construction funding.
Our open spaces and green spaces, our streams and tree canopy, must be saved before it’s too late. Better land use planning still is our best tool to preserve green spaces. As a founding member of the Save Ten Mile Creek Coalition, I am working to save the last pristine creek in the county – a region-wide emergency drinking water source. I testified against a bill that would have quadrupled the pavement at the sensitive headwaters of the creek. Creating and preserving parks is also a priority, and I will work tirelessly to protect our mature tree canopy. I will push for publishing online any proposed exemptions to stormwater and forest conservation laws, so that the affected residents are alerted and can get engaged before the bulldozers forever change the landscape.
My website has more detail about my positions on these and other important issues. Visit bethdaly.org
Campaign Chair Diana Conway, a Potomac resident, also is hosting an event in her home on River Road on June 13. For more information on that and other events, please contact Ellen Letourneau at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My direct contact: email@example.com
Campaign manager: Lydia Sullivan, firstname.lastname@example.org
Campaign chair: Diana Conway, diana@BethDaly.org
Marc has lived in Montgomery County since 1960 and attended Montgomery County Public Schools. He has a BA degree in history from the University of Maryland and an MA degree in teaching from Johns Hopkins University. Before being elected to his first of two terms on the County Council in 2006, he was a teacher at Rolling Terrace Elementary School for 17 years and served 10 terms (19 years) on the Takoma Park City Council from 1987-2006. Since his election to Council, he has served on the Planning, Housing, and Economic Development Committee and the Public Safety Committee.
As a member of the County Council his goal has been to promote policies that continue to offer real opportunities for an increasingly diverse population, including housing and job opportunities, libraries and recreation programs, an improved transit system, and a robust social services safety net, all of which directly affect the quality of life for Montgomery County residents. His proposal for a countywide Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system was recently added to the County’s master plan of highways and transitways. He introduced legislation to increase the minimum wage and led the successful effort that resulted in its adoption. He was also a leader in the fight to save Ten Mile Creek, one of the County’s last best streams.
In seven years on the Council I’ve been committed to making government more efficient and more effective. I worked with the Executive and my colleagues to make tough decisions that helped us weather the Recession and emerge with the ability to start restoring lost services. As a former teacher, I recognize the importance of investing in our schools. I listen to and advocate for residents who expect us to protect our quality of life: whether pressing for more and better transit options, successfully passing an increase in the minimum wage or making sure, to the extent I can, that our planning decisions reflect the views of the communities we say we are planning for.
While we will inevitably grow, how we grow matters. I have felt that my colleagues on the Council have focused too much on plans for people who will move here in 2040, while not taking seriously the concerns of people who live here today. As an example, the recently approved Chevy Chase Lake Plan was opposed by every community association that we were ostensibly planning for. I voted against that plan, and others, where I felt that community input was ignored. We cannot continue to approve plans knowing that we don’t have the road capacity, or the school capacity and where we have not required that new developments provide the necessary infrastructure. Community groups around the County know that I’m one member on the Council they can count on to listen and to work with them.
I have led on important issues. When I first came on the Council, I proposed landmark legislation that restricted building along the view shed of the C&O Canal. Faced with traffic projections that showed future growth creating massive gridlock, I studied transit projects around the country and the world before proposing a Rapid Transit Network that was incorporated into the Countywide Transit Corridors Functional Master Plan last November. I also proposed the County’s minimum wage law and initiated a successful regional approach by engaging the Prince George’s County and Washington D.C. councils.
I’ve led on environmental issues, proposing changes to our Forest Conservation Law which led to new tree canopy and roadside tree protection laws. My involvement in the successful fight to preserve Ten Mile Creek began five years ago. And when the Planning Board floated its first version of the new zoning code that would have allowed major increases in density in single-family neighborhoods, I worked with our community leaders to remove those recommendations.
You’ll find me accessible, ready to listen and ready to help. What attracts people to this County are our schools and our neighborhoods and I want to be sure that we don’t jeopardize our best assets.
Since 2002, Nancy Floreen has been at-large member of the Montgomery County Council, serving as Council President in 2010. She chaired the Council’s Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee (T&E) until 2010 when she became chair of the Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee (PHED).
A Democrat, Nancy brings to the Council a wealth of experience and expertise based on more than three decades of service in local, state and federal government, including leadership as Mayor of the Town of Garrett Park.
In 1986, Nancy was appointed a Commissioner on the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission, where she served until 1994. As a member of the County Planning Board, she was involved in the development of master plans across the county and on balancing the need for growth with preservation of open space and protection of existing county neighborhoods.
Throughout her tenure on the County Council, Nancy has been a tireless advocate for better transportation and transit options, expanded affordable housing, enhanced environmental protections and improved access to jobs and economic development.
She introduced and championed revisions to the County Road Code to make new residential streets friendlier, safer for pedestrians and better for the environment. She has sponsored a Job Search Workshop and Information Fair to help unemployed and underemployed residents get back to work, a workshop for building contractor issues, a town hall on homeowners association matters, and an in-depth cable TV program on Montgomery County poverty. As Council President, she presided over the unanimous passage of the Great Seneca Science Corridor Master Plan and the White Flint Sector Plan, both of which will generate new, high-quality jobs in the county. Also as Council president, she introduced a requirement that the Council include in its budgeting process a six-year projection. This fiscal plan remains an important part of the Council’s work each year and helps to protect against future budget gaps and lessen the impact of severe economic downturns. As chair of the Planning committee, she managed the Council's review and adoption of a new zoning ordinance, which adds transparency, predictability and clarity to complex land use rules, as well as the Council's review and approval of master plans in Ten Mile Creek, Glenmont, Long Branch, Chevy Chase Lake,Wheaton, Kensington and Takoma- Langley Park.
Nancy earned a Bachelor of Arts from Smith College and a law degree from Rutgers University. She is married to attorney/writer David O. Stewart and has three adult children, and a beautiful red-headed granddaughter.
This is a great time for Montgomery County and I want to continue to move us forward, particularly in improving our economic development climate. I bring a unique perspective to the Council based on 30 years of involvement in Montgomery County community problem solving. I offer a lifetime of commitment to school funding, protection of the environment and support for the agricultural community.
Councilmember Leventhal currently serves as Vice President of the County Council. His colleagues previously elected him Council President in 2006 and Vice President in 2005. From 1995 to 2002, George Leventhal was employed as Senior Federal Relations Officer for the Association of American Universities (AAU). Prior to working at the AAU, he served as legislative director and legislative assistant for U.S. Sen. Barbara A. Mikulski of Maryland, and as a research assistant on the tax staff of the Senate Finance Committee under its then-chairman Lloyd Bentsen of Texas. From 1996 to 2001, Leventhal served as chairman of the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee. He played a leading role in many other political and community activities in the Takoma Park-Silver Spring area and throughout Montgomery County.
He is also active in the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (COG), and served in 2011-2012 as the chair of COG’s Human Services and Public Safety Policy Committee. George also served on the Greater Washington 2050 Committee, a regional initiative to improve the quality of life for Washington area residents.
George Leventhal received a Master’s degree in public administration from the Johns Hopkins University and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English from the University of California at Berkeley. In addition, he completed The Academy for Excellence in Local Governance; a voluntary certificate program administered by the University of Maryland to help local officials meet the challenges of their roles.
George's family first moved to Montgomery County in 1964 when he was two-years old. He grew up here and has spent the majority of his adult life living and working in the area. Today, George and his wife, Soraia P. Leventhal, live in Takoma Park, where they have resided since 1985. They have two sons, Daniel and Francisco. George is a member of Shirat HaNefesh synagogue.
I first moved to Montgomery County with my parents in 1964. Since that time, I have seen tremendous changes in the demographics, economy and transportation network of the county. In my opinion, most of these changes have been positive (although the traffic is enervating).
Since I was first elected in 2002, I have brought passion, honesty and integrity to the County Council. I work hard, and I respond quickly to our constituents' needs.
Montgomery County is a dynamic, diverse, affluent and sophisticated community and I have been proud to work with the residents of Potomac to ensure it remains an exceptional place to live and to be educated. Potomac Elementary School is woefully overcrowded. The Board of Education has proposed that a modernization be completed by 2019 with design beginning in 2016, and I support that proposal.
We must continue to provide honest government that is technologically cutting-edge and efficient. We must continue to provide services that meet the wide range of our residents’ needs, including in multiple languages. We should take pride in our status as an International Gateway and market ourselves as a place where business can be conducted in every language, with a highly-skilled workforce that contains more foreign-born residents than any other jurisdiction in Maryland. Having grown up here, having worked for Maryland’s U.S. Sen. Barbara Mikulski, chaired the county’s Democratic Party for five years and represented the entire county as an At-Large Councilmember for 12 years, I believe I have a profound understanding of the county’s needs and its future challenges and opportunities.
Vivian Malloy is a Democratic Candidate for the Montgomery County Council At-Large. She is an elected official of the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee and currently serving her second term as the At-Large Representative for the Legislative District 14.
She is a graduate of University of Maryland School of Nursing and was commissioned as a military officer in the Army Nurse Corps. She retired from her military career of 21 years at the rank of Major and her last assignment was at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington D.C. She received several awards during her Army career for distinguished military service with the highest decoration being the Meritorious Service Medal.
As a professional nurse, Vivian has utilized her clinical expertise and leadership skills to support her local community and political affiliations, in addition to faith-based programs.
She has been an active grassroots supporter and a community organizer for the local Democratic Party since 1994. Vivian has served in various leadership roles in civic, political and religious organizations for the past 20 years in Montgomery County. As a community organizer she has held the following positions: Chairman of the Precinct Organization for Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee, both President and Vice President of the District 14 Democratic Club, Board Member of the African American Health Program Executive Committee, County Council District 2 Representative on the African American Democratic Club and a Community Organizer for the Presidential Campaign 2008 and 2012, Obama for America (OFA).
Vivian resides in Olney, Md., with her husband Wilbur and they have three adult sons; Michael, Jonathan and Kenneth. She continues to work as a clinical nurse specialist in the health care insurance industry as a senior medical review nurse. She has dedicated her life to public service. Vivian has demonstrated her passion for service through her career, being an active grassroots supporter and a community organizer. She is committed to help make our community stronger.
About my Candidacy and Positions
I am running as a candidate because I care about the citizens of this great county and I understand the concerns that impact our daily lives. The focus of my campaign is caring for people and building a stronger future without leaving anyone behind. My campaign message is my motto “She Cares” which addresses those key issues that are dear to my heart.
Each letter represents a specific key issue: S is Safety Services; H is Health Care Access; E is Education; C is Creating Jobs; A is Affordable Housing; R is Rapid Transit Access; E is Economic Development; S is for Supporting Seniors and our Veterans.
It is my desire to advocate for the residents of this county and to promote the interest of working families by being responsive and responsible for our county’s support and operational services that will result in improving the quality of life for our residents.
In addressing our Potomac residents, I like you to know that public safety is a major campaign concern with the focus on ensuring rapid emergency response for fire and rescue services, reduction in crime and increased police presence in the neighborhoods.
I am committed to the county’s vision to protect our communities while maximizing on SMART Growth modeling to accommodate an increased in population and sustainable communities. This initiative promotes a friendly eco-living environment and better storm water management. In accommodating population growth we must also limit harm to our environment.
Attention towards environmental protection and education must be provided to our residents and shared sacrifices must be stressed that it is a community responsibility to be good stream stewards for the protection of our watersheds to keep our water clean.
Hans Riemer, elected to an At-large seat on the Montgomery County Council in 2010, represents more than one million residents in a thriving and diverse community with a history of responsible government. Hans’ passion for change comes from his roots in Oakland, Calif., a city of tremendous disparities, and a deep commitment to social justice that he learned from his family. As a Councilmember, he works towards his vision by advocating to fund public education and public transportation, early childhood programs, libraries, recreation, human services, housing and economic development. Thanks to countless hours spent in the outdoors, on foot and on bike, Hans is also a dedicated environmentalist.
Hans was a senior advisor for AARP before joining the County Council, an organization that he has worked closely with throughout his career. A nationally recognized leader on Social Security, Hans played a pivotal role organizing the Democratic coalition that stopped President Bush from privatizing Social Security.
Hans may be best known, however, for his work as National Youth Vote Director for Obama for America, where he was a key early staffer on President Obama’s 2007 primary election campaign.
In the 2004 election, Hans served as political director for Rock the Vote, as the group registered nearly a million young voters and broke new ground in online political engagement..
Hans serves on the Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy & Environment Committee as well as the Government Operations & Fiscal Policy Committee. He also serves as the council’s Lead for Digital Government.
Hans and his wife Angela, along with their young sons, Henry and Travis, live in Takoma Park, and are members of the MCCPTA. They love the community life that years of citizen engagement and great government has made possible in Montgomery County.
Hans graduated from the University of California at Santa Cruz in 1995.
When I walk into Potomac classrooms, I see kids from all corners of the world, of every religious background, and of every ethnicity. Potomac boasts nationally acclaimed public schools that exemplify how a diverse community can be strong and forward thinking. As an involved MCPS parent and Councilmember, this is the success I strive for throughout the county. I know that the best way to prepare our youth for college and successful careers is through our commitment to pre K -12 education. MCPS enrollment is growing at the equivalent of one high school per year. Many new students have special needs, including some who do not speak English as their first language. In order to fund our great schools at the level our children deserve, we have to have a vibrant tax base. That means we must pursue economic development.
Prior to my taking office, Montgomery County had a Department of Economic Development (DED) but it had no real strategy to guide its activities. Therefore, I drafted and passed a bill with Councilmember Berliner to require the county to adopt an economic development strategy with concrete measures on job creation, private sector compensation and benefits, target industries, target geographic areas, workforce education and training, growth in tax base, economic opportunity for residents, encouragement of entrepreneurs and small business, land use, and other actions necessary to promote economic development.
Protecting the environment must go hand in hand with economic development. We need to protect streams and tree canopy. That is why I voted to safeguard 10 Mile Creek.
Economic development not only helps children and youth by funding schools, but also funds needed services for the elderly. Our county is aging fast; by 2020, senior citizens will be 14 percent of the population. I have spent much of my career on issues that are important seniors and this work continues on the Council. I have worked for AARP on retirement security policy and I also worked with AARP to design a national community service campaign. I have been recognized as a national leader on the fight to protect Social Security for future generations, because I helped stop the Republicans and President George Bush from privatizing that important program.
Mobility and transportation is key to independence for seniors. I worked with the County Executive to hire a Mobility Management Administrator to oversee and coordinate senior transportation programs in the county.
Lives in Takoma Park