I have seen a lot of change in Montgomery County. I moved to the DC/MD/VA area in 1979 to work on a master's degree and law degree at Georgetown University. Since then I have lived and worked in Northern Virginia, DC, and Montgomery County (since 1993). In the 2010 US Census, Montgomery County became a “majority minority” county. The county is following the path of other US counties, including nine counties in the Eastern US, according to the Pew Research Center. Demographics are more pronounced for our children. Estimates project that by the 2020 census, the percentage of minority children in the US will exceed white majority children. This means that our educational system needs to keep up with population trends. Although the County Council does not control school policies, the Council does have a role to play in funding and spending oversight of our schools.
I want to see and will work toward the following, among other issues:
- We need a balance between development and infrastructure. Judging from development in areas like Bethesda and along the 355 corridor, it seems as though every proposal receives a green light. We must consider whether there will be sufficient transportation, roads, parking and schools to support new development or redevelopment. Housing and affordability need to be among the mix of considerations, not only because there are laws that require affordable housing, but also because our population has outstripped the county’s housing supply.
- I would like to see an array of transit options, including walkable neighborhoods, bike paths/lanes, rapid bus transit, dedicated funding for metro, and building out public transportation along the major corridors. We cannot simply continue to add lanes to put more cars on the roads.
- Environment should be the backbone of all the work of the Council. We need to consider the environmental impact for every decision we make. Impact on the environment will be a critical consideration for the decisions I will make during a term on the County Council.
- I would like to see Montgomery County retain excellence in its schools, while stepping up the resources directed toward schools with currently underserved populations. Many families moved to this county because of the quality of our schools. Resources are directed toward the gifted and talented programs and magnet schools. But, we need to consider all of our students and also direct resources toward reducing overcrowding in the classroom and bolstering reading, language learning, and other basic programs.
- I would work toward a prosperous business community. Our growing urban centers are a source of jobs and they can also enhance livability in our county. The county cannot thrive without businesses, and families cannot prosper without jobs.
That said, I know that the council needs to work toward a balanced budget. I have worked on county agency budgets during lean years, and I know how important this is. Outside of government, I have served as treasurer for several organizations and I know how to monitor and adhere to balanced budgets. I will bring these skills to the Council.