In addition to four at-large seats, (see candidate list for County Council At Large in May 16 Potomac Almanac) the Montgomery County Council has one seat for each of five legislative districts. Potomac is represented by District 1, a swath of the county that runs along the Potomac River from the District Line through Poolesville to the Frederick County line. Roger Berliner is the current representative for District 1.
“The Montgomery County Council is the legislative branch of County government. It has nine members, all elected at the same time by the voters of Montgomery County to serve four-year terms. The term of the present Council, elected November 2014, began at noon on Dec. 1, 2014 and will continue until noon on Dec. 3, 2018. Five members of the Council are elected by the voters of their respective Council districts. Four members are elected at-large by all voters of the County. The Council officers are elected by the Council from among its members in December for a one-year term.” — From the Montgomery County Council website.
Running in the June 26 primary is one Republican candidate: Richard Banach, and eight Democrats: Bill Cook, Pete Fosselman, Andrew Friedson, Ana Sol Gutierrez, Jim McGee, Regina “Reggie” Oldak, Dalbin Osorio and Meredith Wellington.
Each was sent an e-mail asking for a photo and a paragraph explaining why he/she was running for the County Council and what voters should know about him/her when making their voting decision.
Eight of the nine candidates responded.
Democrat, 40, North Bethesda
I grew up in a union household, attended Walt Whitman, and, at age 15, took my first job in downtown Bethesda at Gifford’s Ice Cream. After high school, I went on to study at the University of Maryland and I have lived and worked in Montgomery County ever since. As an activist, I have volunteered for Democratic campaigns and progressive causes including local issues like raising the minimum wage, paid leave, fossil fuel divestment, and banning fracking in Maryland. I am not a political insider or a wealthy bureaucrat. I am a small business owner whose family lives here, and who will fight to defend our community and way of life from the threats of reckless development and poor planning. With your support, we will face today’s problems, like overcrowded schools, congested roadways, and stalled economic growth. Together, we will accomplish solutions that focus on improving our quality of life, that strengthen our communities and protect our environment. You can learn more about my campaign at www.cookinthecouncil.com.
Democrat, 50, Kensington
I'm running for County Council because we need strong leadership and bold ideas for the demanding challenges Montgomery County faces — challenges like: easing our overcrowded schools, tackling our traffic and transit problems, helping our seniors age in place with financial security and a better quality of life; and attracting new businesses and retaining our established companies that provide the backbone of our local economy. I have served as Deputy Secretary of State, Mayor of Kensington, President of the Maryland Mayors’ Association, Chair of the Gaithersburg Economic Development Corporation, a small business owner, and an Urban Planner. I will bring these experiences, with an understanding of zoning, land use experience, and the trials of small business ownership to better serve District 1. During my tenure as the O'Malley-Brown Administration’s Deputy Secretary of State, I worked on expanding programs for victims of domestic violence and human trafficking. As the five-term Mayor of Kensington I was able to acquire independent zoning authority from the General Assembly and I spearheaded our land use plan with an overwhelming approval by the Planning Board and the County Council. I was able to revive our local economy and increase opportunities for public involvement. I have the budget experience and have demonstrated fiscal discipline by increasing services to the residents of Kensington and cutting unnecessary expenses at the Maryland Secretary of State’s Office. See https://petefosselman.com/
Democrat, 32, born and raised in Potomac, live in Bethesda
Public service has never been a career choice. It's always been a calling from the time I advocated for safer elementary school bus routes at Wayside, and served as student body president at Hoover, Churchill, and the University of Maryland. I've spent my professional life scrutinizing public agencies, reviewing billions in government contracts to ensure transparency and accountability, helping teachers secure a dignified retirement, and restructuring Maryland's $6 billion 529 College Savings program to get a better return for families saving for their children's education. Whether pushing for a new statewide savings program to help Marylanders with disabilities achieve financial security, supplying direct financing to create jobs and opportunities for women and minority-owned small businesses, or providing programming to support Montgomery County’s at-risk youth, I've always been been dedicated to turning progressive ideas into actions that actually improve people's lives. With your help, I want to bring that same approach to the County Council to ease the Montgomery County squeeze on our roads, our schools, and our families, so we can maintain our high quality of life and keep up with our needs by growing our tax base so we don't have to continually raise our tax rates. See www.andrewfriedson.com.
Ana Sol Gutierrez
Democrat, 76, Chevy Chase
WHY I AM RUNNING: I seek to ensure that all of our Montgomery County residents and taxpayers are getting the quality services they deserve and expect. By delivering fiscally responsible, balanced budgets within spending affordability guidelines, our county can provide resources and deliver critically needed public services: equitable quality education for all students; more affordable housing and health care; environmentally responsible, reliable transportation; more jobs and fair livable wages; Smart growth based on sustainable, balanced economic development.
WHAT VOTERS NEED TO KNOW: I bring years of relevant experience in public policy and budgets at the federal, state and local levels. As a long serving elected official, IT professional, and problem solver, I’m well qualified to hit-the-ground running on the new County Council, with tons of experience. See www.anaforcouncil.com.
Democrat, 68, Bethesda
Why I am running:
To secure a greener, healthier Montgomery County that supports working families. I am participating in public financing.
I am a union activist and an activist for Medicare for All. I also administer a $180 million health care benefit plan, so I combine the values of an activist with the skills of a professional.
Top priorities for the county:
Affordable housing options for those who start and end their careers here.
A planning process more sensitive to all stakeholders, not just developers.
A transit system that works.
Making streets safer for walkers and bikers.
Preserving and expanding green spaces.
Democrat, 67, Bethesda
I’m Reggie Oldak, and I’m running for Montgomery County Council District 1 because now, more than ever, we have to rely on our local government to invest in our priorities, ensure equal opportunity, and get things done. I’m a long-time Montgomery County resident. Thirty years ago, my husband and I moved to Bethesda for the strong schools. I have experience at all levels of government. I’ve worked at the IRS as a tax lawyer, in Annapolis as a legislative aide, and at the County Council. I’m also a passionate champion for women and families. I’ve served as Chair of the Board of our local Planned Parenthood, President of Montgomery County’s Commission for Women, and Senior Counsel at the National Women’s Law Center. I believe that the biggest responsibility the Council has is spending the county budget of $5.4 billion. That shows who we are as a community. My top three priorities for Montgomery County are (1) ensuring that our schools and teachers have the resources they need to educate our growing, diverse student population; (2) investing in our transportation infrastructure to support economic development, protect the environment, and enhance our quality of life; and (3) promoting fiscal responsibility and adding good jobs so that we have the resources to maintain the services our residents need. I’m participating in the County’s new public financing system, which means I cannot accept more than $150 from an individual, and I cannot accept contributions from corporations or special interests of any kind. You can trust that I will not be beholden to anyone but you. Thank you. I hope to earn your vote on June 26. See www.reggieoldak.com
Democrat, 33, Chevy Chase
I am running because we have an opportunity to bring some progressive change to Montgomery County’s District One, and it begins by electing someone who has worked with children and families and heard their very real problems and has worked with them to solve them. Voters should know that by voting for me, they are getting someone who has never needed an incentive to do what is right, and that they can vote to continue the status quo in MoCo or they can vote for someone that will work to raise wages, modernize our school systems, and advocate for everybody regardless of race, gender, or income bracket. See www.dalbinosorio.com
Democrat, 68, Chevy Chase
I'm running for District 1 because after nearly 30 years of public service — ranging from advocating for ball fields and rec centers to working for women's advancement in the public and private sectors to serving as a Planning Board commissioner from 1999 to 2007 — I bring strong, relevant experience and accomplishments to the task of addressing the County's challenges. As former Assistant Chief Counsel at the National Labor Relations Board, I have a strong background in labor law. During my time on the Planning Board I worked on 11 master plans and multiple economic development efforts, opposed letting developers off the hook on providing public amenities and infrastructure requirements, and worked to expand and improve our parks, something I continue to this day as Vice Chair of the Montgomery County Parks Foundation. Whether it's budgets or schools, attracting business or rebuilding infrastructure, I can hit the ground running and I'll work for you. See more about me and my positions on the issues at meredithwellington.com.