Rockville City Council Member To Run for Delegate

Julie Palakovich Carr recently led the effort to pass the city’s new immigration ordinance


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Julie Palakovich Carr

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A Rockville City Council member is preparing to take on three incumbent candidates in a run for a District 17 delegate seat.

Democrat Julie Palakovich Carr announced Thursday she will run for a state house position in 2018.

“I think we need some bold new ideas in Annapolis,” Palakovich Carr, 34, said in an interview with Bethesda Beat. “As a scientist and the only woman and mother in the race I think I bring a unique perspective to the issues being faced in our community.”

Palakovich Carr will likely need to unseat one of the Democratic incumbents—Dels. Kumar Barve, James Gilchrist and Andrew Platt—in the race as all three have not publicly revealed any plans to pursue a different office or step down. District 17 represents Rockville and parts of Gaithersburg.

“Voters get three choices on the ballot and I’m asking to be one of their choices,” said Palakovich Carr, who has a master’s degree in biology and works at the American Institute of Biological Sciences, a Washington, D.C., nonprofit that promotes policy making grounded in science. “I think our [District 17] delegation has had some successes in recent years. However, when I look at the breadth of issues that they’ve been personally involved with, I don’t think they’re completely representative of the district.”

She said none of the current delegates have children and she believes her perspective as a new mother would be helpful in working on legislation focused on paid parental leave and ensuring day care centers in the state are safe. For example, she said if elected she would pursue changes to state law to require day care centers to show state inspection records to parents.

It’s possible that District 17 state Sen. Cheryl Kagan may make a run for a new office, which would open up her seat in the district. Kagan told Bethesda Beat in an interview last month that people have suggested that she run for Montgomery County executive, but she hasn’t made a decision about whether to run for the county’s top leadership post.

“I don’t feel pressured to make a decision right away,” Kagan said. “I think there’s time.”

She noted no women are running for Maryland governor or Montgomery county executive. And while Hillary Clinton’s loss in the November election devastated her supporters, it also created renewed energy to support women running for office, she said.

“I think there’s a great deal of interest in electing women who are common sense and can get things done,” Kagan said.

Palakovich Carr has worked on local issues such as zoning, traffic improvements and protecting the local water quality since being elected to the City Council in 2013—a resume that would likely make her an experienced candidate for Montgomery County Council, which will have four open seats in 2018 due to term limits passed by voters in November. But Palakovich Carr said her interests align more with working on state policy hashed out in Annapolis.

She recently led the City Council’s effort to pass a controversial immigration ordinance that prevents city police from asking about a person’s immigration status. The measure drew heated testimony from opponents who said it could make the city a target for crime and foster disrespect for federal law.

However, Palakovich Carr said it was supported by a 2-to-1 margin by Rockville residents, many of whom testified the ordinance would help undocumented immigrants feel safe enough to report crime to city police.

“I felt pretty comfortable this was something a large majority of Rockville residents wanted to move forward with,” Palakovich Carr said.

Palakovich Carr is a member of the Team Rockville slate of council members that includes Virginia Onley and Mark Pierzchala. They have been at odds at times with the policy proposals of Mayor Bridget Donnell Newton. Most recently, the three council members banded together to pass the immigration ordinance by a 3-2 vote with Newton and council member Beryl Feinberg voting against it.

Palakovich Carr plans to continue to serve on the City Council while she runs for delegate. Her current term ends in 2019.

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