Montgomery County Council At-Large (four seats)



Published:

REPUBLICAN

 

Robert Dyer

• Where you live: Bethesda

• Date of birth: 46 years old

• Current occupation and employer (may also list up to two other jobs you’ve held); if retired, list your last job and employer: Founder and publisher of Suburban News Network

• Political experience (public offices held and when, as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years): Elected to Montgomery County Republican Central Committee, District 16 (2006-10). Candidate for state delegate, District 16 (2006). Candidate for Montgomery County Council at-large (2010, 2014).

• Campaign information:

 

1 – Why are you running for this office? (75 words max)

 I’m running because our developer-controlled County Council and Planning Board no longer listen to their constituents’ concerns about planning, traffic congestion and school overcrowding. Murders are up 31%, while graduation rates are down. Schools are declining, and gang violence is out of control. We haven’t attracted a single major corporate HQ to the county in two decades, and we have the lowest new business growth in the region.

2 – What is the most important issue in this race and what specific plans do you have to address it? (100 words max)

We must reform our planning process to protect existing residential neighborhoods, while firmly tying new development to the infrastructure needed to support it.

I’d restore the Office of the People’s Counsel, to represent residents’ interests in land-use decisions. I’d bring back resident committees to oversee sector plan rewrites, instead of the developer-friendly “charrette” process.

Developers must pay more for schools and transportation. The next Council will vote on sector plans for Aspen Hill, Gaithersburg East, Forest Glen and Germantown, critical reasons to elect me — the only candidate with a long record of fighting developers on behalf of residents.

3 – What is one major issue the current County Council has handled poorly and what would you have done differently? (100 words max)

The current Council is clueless about business, and has run our economy into the ground. We’ve become a bedroom community for growing job centers elsewhere in our region like Tysons. While Discovery was planning its exit from Silver Spring, the Council was debating a ban on circus animals and vending machine snacks. MoCo’s government liquor monopoly is killing our bars and restaurants.

I would repeal the 2016 property tax and 2010 energy tax hikes, require two regulations to be eliminated for each new one passed on business, fully-privatize liquor sales, and build a new Potomac River crossing to Dulles.

4 – What experience (work, political or other) has prepared you to hold this office? (100 words max)

I’m the only candidate with over a decade of experience and accomplishments countywide as an activist. My boots were on the ground for all the major issues of this decade, including Westbard, Moses Cemetery, Rock Spring, Bethesda Downtown, bus depot, Rockville Pike Plan, and keeping Damascus rural. I’ve testified before the Council and Planning Board, marched alongside you in the protests, and reported your side of the story as a journalist.

Where were the other candidates when it mattered most? Nowhere to be found. As Henry Ford said, “You can’t build a reputation on what you are going to do.”

 

Chris P. Fiotes Jr.

• Where you live: North Potomac

• Date of birth: Dec. 17, 1933

• Current occupation and employer (may also list up to two other jobs you’ve held); if retired, list your last job and employer: Retired broker, C.P. Fiotes & Associates; worked in the U.S. Senate for the sergeant at arms at the recommendation of U.S. Sen. Charles McC. Mathias (1975-1986); former U.S. Navy Reserve

• Political experience (public offices held and when, as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years): Ran for Congress in Maryland's 6th District, 1992; ran for Montgomery Council at-large, 2014.

• Campaign information:

 

1 – Why are you running for this office? (75 words max)

For a better Montgomery County.

2 – What is the most important issue in this race and what specific plans do you have to address it? (100 words max)

Many. I will address issues during general election.

3 – What is one major issue the current County Council has handled poorly and what would you have done differently? (100 words max)

Many. I will address issues during general election.

4 – What experience (work, political or other) has prepared you to hold this office? (100 words max)

Forty years Montgomery County resident and businessman. Prior political candidacies at local and national level.

 

Penny Musser

• Where you live: Boyds

• Date of birth: October 1961

• Current occupation and employer (may also list up to two other jobs you’ve held); if retired, list your last job and employer: Allstate insurance agent: Previously: Managed a large insurance agency for 28 years in Gaithersburg.

• Political experience (public offices held and when, as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years): None

• Campaign information:

 

did not respond to additional questions

 

Shelly Skolnick

• Where you live: Silver Spring (inside the Beltway)

• Date of birth: I am now 74 years old, and I will be 75 years old at the date of the primary.

• Current occupation and employer (may also list up to two other jobs you’ve held); if retired, list your last job and employer: Attorney with Skolnick Law Firm, P.C.

• Political experience (public offices held and when, as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years): Candidate for Montgomery County executive (2002), Montgomery County Council at-large (2006), U.S. House of Representatives in 8th District (2012), Montgomery County Council at-large (2014), U.S. House of Representatives in 8th District (2016).

• Campaign information:

 

1 – Why are you running for this office? (75 words max)

The Montgomery County Council needs basic reform to better represent the concerns and needs of the million residents of Montgomery County. Accordingly, I have proposed to change the current structure of 5 districts and 4 at-large council members to 9 districts. Under this reform, each council member would vigorously represent about 110,000 constituents.

2 – What is the most important issue in this race and what specific plans do you have to address it? (100 words max)

The most important issues are improving the quality of life, and reducing the cost of living, for the million residents of Montgomery County. To address these issues, I am proposing multiple affordable solutions to quickly reduce traffic congestion: implementing a Bus Lane Toll at no cost to the taxpayers (rather than the billion-dollar BRT), Bus Rider Buildings at MetroRail stations, 50% fares during Hush Hours for MetroRail, and transferring MetroBus and MetroAccess from Metro to the local governments.

3 – What is one major issue the current County Council has handled poorly and what would you have done differently? (100 words max)

The 100-mile billion-dollar Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) program is a costly and ineffective response to the county’s traffic congestion. In the past (and currently), I have proposed a Bus Lane Toll (BLT) solution where the left lane on 3-lane and 4-lane roads would be reasonable variable toll lanes during rush hours. The tolls would avoid any taxes for this solution. Also, the tolls would pay for reduced fares for bus riders using the BLT lanes during rush hours.

4 – What experience (work, political or other) has prepared you to hold this office? (100 words max)

For over 40 years, I have lived in various parts of Montgomery County (Bethesda, Rockville, Derwood, Olney and Silver Spring). Thus, I am very familiar with the concerns and needs of residents in many parts of Montgomery County. Also, I have observed the many changes to Montgomery County that have reduced the quality of life and the cost of living for the County’s residents.

 

DEMOCRAT

 

Gabe Albornoz

• Where you live: Kensington

• Date of birth: March 22, 1976

• Current occupation and employer (may also list up to two other jobs you’ve held); if retired, list your last job and employer: Director, Montgomery County Department of Recreation

• Political experience (public offices held and when, as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years): First time running for elected office

• Campaign information:

 

1 – Why are you running for this office? (75 words max)

I love Montgomery County and have deep roots here. I want to make sure that future generations are afforded the same opportunities and quality of life that I grew up with.

I’m running to build collaborations that enhance economic opportunities and ensure that we defend and preserve the dignity of all our residents in the tireless and demanding pursuit of the common good.

2 – What is the most important issue in this race and what specific plans do you have to address it? (100 words max)

We are facing declining revenues and a growing economic divide at the same time we have seen a much greater demand on critical services, especially our school system. We must expand our economy to ensure that we have the sufficient revenue to address our growing needs and that we have economic opportunity across the County.

Specifically, we need to support our existing businesses through an aggressive buy local initiative and by ensuring that we provide access to capital and expand our marketing initiatives. We should also focus on adding incubator space and entrepreneurial education initiatives.

3 – What is one major issue the current County Council has handled poorly and what would you have done differently? (100 words max)

We have had stagnant economic growth in the County. This is in part due to the economic recession and housing challenges we have had in our Community. We must be more aggressive in supporting our Economic Development Corporation to ensure we change the perception that Montgomery County is unfriendly to business.

Council can play an important role in courting new businesses in emerging markets. We must also focus on the creation of housing stock for the middle class, which includes our millennial population to ensure that we have the workforce present that attracts businesses.

4 – What experience (work, political or other) has prepared you to hold this office? (100 words max)

I am a lifelong Montgomery County resident, a graduate of MCPS, and have lived in Gaithersburg, Silver Spring, Bethesda and Kensington. I have experienced our growth firsthand.

For 11 years, I have served as Director of the County’s Recreation Department, leading an agency with 3,000 employees and a $39 million budget. I have also served on over 38 Boards, Commission, and Committees at the State and local level and political level, including becoming the first Latino Chairman of the Montgomery County Democratic Party. I know where we have been, where we are, and where we need to go.

 

Rosemary Arkoian

• Where you live: Goshen/Gaithersburg

• Date of birth: Jan. 3, 1941

• Current occupation and employer (may also list up to two other jobs you’ve held); if retired, list your last job and employer: Retired. Former Russian and Arabic linguist/ intelligence research analyst for National Security Agency and staff member for Congresswoman Connie Morella in her Rockville office.

• Political experience (public offices held and when, as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years): Candidate for Montgomery County Council District 2 seat in 2002.

• Campaign information:

 

1 – Why are you running for this office? (75 words max)

I'm running for County Council At-Large to stand up for the average citizen, not the special interests groups. I want to listen to citizens and use my analytical, detail-oriented, common sense approach to solving problems.  I "talk the talk and walk the walk," having volunteered for many nonprofits (40 years) and in 5 Montgomery County Public Schools (18 years) and at Montgomery College (6 years).

2 – What is the most important issue in this race and what specific plans do you have to address it? (100 words max)

The most important issue is really 3 issues: transportation/infrastructure, education, and the economy. I'd work on more transit, strengthening Metro, completing one road for Upcounty (M-83), adding more MARC service, and fixing I-270. I'd help all students achieve their full potential by hiring dedicated, competent, caring teachers and by bringing magnet/choice programs to Upcounty, as are in Downcounty. I'd encourage adults to gain new skills for today's jobs by enrolling in Montgomery College. I'd market Montgomery County as a welcoming place for all businesses, small and large, to come here. Cut red tape for new businesses.

3 – What is one major issue the current County Council has handled poorly and what would you have done differently? (100 words max)

The major issue the current County Council has handled poorly is their non-completion of the 5.6 miles of Midcounty Highway (M-83). M-83 has been in the Masterplan since 1964 and the buildup of Clarksburg was predicated on its being completed. A "bait and switch" has been pulled on the Upcounty. Army Corps of Engineers and MDE have said Original Masterplan of M-83 is the best route. Political will has been absent and Upcounty residents have no been listened to. I'll listen to all residents and get this done ASAP! Where there's a will, there's a way!

4 – What experience (work, political or other) has prepared you to hold this office? (100 words max)

I'm a former linguist/intelligence research analyst at National Security Agency (Russian and Arabic languages). I now consider myself a Community Volunteer, Civic Activist, and General Nudge. I co-founded Greater Goshen Civic Association in 1989 (President and Vice-President). I follow issues facing Montgomery County and testify and email numerous times to County Council and Planning Board. I'm truly ready on "day one" to serve. I'm honest, hard working,

 

Marilyn Balcombe

• Where you live: Germantown

• Date of birth: Aug. 13, 1957

• Current occupation and employer (may also list up to two other jobs you’ve held); if retired, list your last job and employer: Gaithersburg-Germantown Chamber of Commerce, president and CEO; BlackRock Center for the Arts, executive director; Department of Energy contractor, organizational psychologist, Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education

• Political experience (public offices held and when, as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years): No elected positions

• Campaign information:

 

1 – Why are you running for this office? (75 words max)

This is a landmark election. With at least four new Council members and a new County Executive, we need to elect new leaders who have a comprehensive knowledge of the complexity of the issues facing our County. While we live in a great community, our needs outstrip our resources. We need to increase our revenue without increasing taxes. I know I have the knowledge, skill and vision to lead our great community.

2 – What is the most important issue in this race and what specific plans do you have to address it? (100 words max)

There are many critical issues, including housing affordability, school funding, equity in education, the environment, etc. However, we cannot tackle any of these important issues without a strong, robust economy. As the CEO of the Gaithersburg-Germantown Chamber of Commerce, I work with businesses every day to help them grow and expand our tax base. I will continue to attract new business, expand existing business, and create a culture where new businesses can thrive. While every candidate talks about the importance of attracting jobs, I am the most qualified candidate to actually bring jobs to the County to support our economy.

3 – What is one major issue the current County Council has handled poorly and what would you have done differently? (100 words max)

I have been talking with residents throughout the County and agree with many who believe that the latest property tax increase was excessive. While I understand and support the increased school funding, the property tax increase was higher than proposed by the County Executive and not all the funds went to MCPS. We cannot continue to raise taxes and price people out of the market, especially those on a fixed income who are hardest hit. We have a complex budget and great needs in our community, but I would be reluctant to increase property taxes above the CE’s request.

4 – What experience (work, political or other) has prepared you to hold this office? (100 words max)

I’m an accountant with 35 years’ experience in budget and finance. I have a Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology and know how effective organizations should operate. I am the CEO of the Gaithersburg-Germantown Chamber of Commerce. I also opened BlackRock Center for the Arts as their Executive Director. I am a community activist and have been working with the County Council for the past 25 years on issues such as transportation, master plans, zoning, budgets, legislation, nonprofit funding. I’ve advocated for libraries, parks, police stations, schools, and the arts. I have also volunteered and chaired many nonprofits in our community.

 

Charles Barkley

• Where you live: Germantown

• Date of birth: Oct. 16, 1950

• Current occupation and employer (may also list up to two other jobs you’ve held); if retired, list your last job and employer: Retired teacher; Maryland state delegate

• Political experience (public offices held and when, as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years): Maryland state delegate since 1999

• Campaign information:

 

1 – Why are you running for this office? (75 words max)

Montgomery County will have at least 4 new Council members. I am running because I believe my 20 years in Annapolis and 30 years in the classroom as a Middle School Math Teacher will bring a wealth of proven experience to the Council. My long track record shows I am ready to take on the challenges we face as a county.

2 – What is the most important issue in this race and what specific plans do you have to address it? (100 words max)

The most important issue is economic development and job growth. At the state level, we approved an incentive package to attract Amzon's Headquarters Two to the county and to Maryland. We also worked with D.C. and Virginia to encourage Amazon to move to the Metro area if they do not select Maryland. We must find our what businesses want to move here. We must also work with all of our small businesses to help them grow. The County cannot do it alone, we need to build more private/public partnerships.

3 – What is one major issue the current County Council has handled poorly and what would you have done differently? (100 words max)

The last time the County raised the property taxes and recordation tax, they did so without really sitting down and talking to the affected parties. The County Executive had a lower figure for increasing property taxes, but the Council ignored that and did their own thing. The Council never really discussed with Realtors any alternatives to raising the recordation tax. I would have an open-door policy and would be willing to meet with everyone to address our budget needs.

4 – What experience (work, political or other) has prepared you to hold this office? (100 words max)

In my 30-year teaching career, I taught in Takoma Park, Wheaton, Bethesda, Gaithersburg, and Rockville. This experience has shown me problems all parts of our county face on a daily basis. My 20 years as a Delegate in Annapolis also provides a great background of experiences in office. I was honored that my District elected me five times to represent them at the state level.

 

Shruti Bhatnagar

• Where you live: Kensington

• Date of birth: Sept. 23, 1971

• Current occupation and employer (may also list up to two other jobs you’ve held); if retired, list your last job and employer: Community advocate (last jobs: Montgomery County Public Schools, American Red Cross)

• Political experience (public offices held and when, as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years): First-time candidate

• Campaign information:

 

1 – Why are you running for this office? (75 words max)

I love Montgomery County. This community embraced me when I moved from India for a better future. I want to ensure my children and all families have the same opportunity to succeed. It has been a privilege to serve this community for 16 years. Elected office is a great way to continue my commitment to public service. My professional experience and immigrant perspective will be valuable in addressing the complex challenges of our diverse community.

2 – What is the most important issue in this race and what specific plans do you have to address it? (100 words max)

Equity and Social justice! I want to make sure that our diverse communities have access to resources and opportunities needed to thrive and for a better future. We need a comprehensive approach and it starts with quality education so that students have a pathway to success and working families can have better quality of life. My plan is to work with the all stakeholders at local and state level to get funding to invest in infrastructure, early childhood education, vocational and tech programs and free community college. Creating affordable housing and access to transportation and addressing hunger are essential elements.

3 – What is one major issue the current County Council has handled poorly and what would you have done differently? (100 words max)

Many communities and small businesses don’t feel heard and welcome. Policies and regulations are unnecessarily complex. Local government needs to be responsive and accountable. Diversity is our strength and our biggest challenge. As an immigrant, I understand the challenges of our diverse community. I have led initiatives on community engagement and diversity inclusion. I would have enhanced community outreach efforts to make sure people are better informed, engaged and invested in the decision-making process. I would have strengthened diversity inclusion and collaboration to ensure people have a voice in the decisions that affect their everyday lives and quality of living.

4 – What experience (work, political or other) has prepared you to hold this office? (100 words max)

My experience includes leadership in corporate, nonprofit, community organizations and working part time in MCPS providing academic support. As a community advocate for the past 16 years, I have held leadership positions with organizations at local, County and State level such as the PTA, Kensington Heights Civic Association, Takoma Foundation, Montgomery County Commission of Children and Youth and am founding member of others strongly advocating on issues like education, immigration, healthcare, helping families find affordable housing, jobs and mentorship. I am politically active as Vice Chair of District 18 caucus and board member of Women’s Democratic Club of Montgomery County.

 

Cherri Branson

• Where you live: Silver Spring

• Date of birth: Sept. 30, 1959

• Current occupation and employer (may also list up to two other jobs you’ve held); if retired, list your last job and employer: Current: director, Montgomery County Office of Procurement. Was interim Montgomery County Council member, District 5, 2014. Previous: chief counsel for oversight, U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on Homeland Security (Democrats)

• Political experience (public offices held and when, as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years): Interim Montgomery County Council member, District 5, 2014. President, African American Democratic Club.

• Campaign information:

 

1 – Why are you running for this office? (75 words max)

The average resident of this county needs a representative in government who is willing to listen and advocate for their interests, not the vested interests. I am running because I have demonstrated a lifelong commitment to effective and responsive government. The County Council decides issues that affect every aspect of the lives of County residents. I will be ready to serve on day one with the temperament, knowledge, and dedication residents need and deserve.

2 – What is the most important issue in this race and what specific plans do you have to address it? (100 words max)

Economic growth is the most important issue in this election. I will work to grow and expand small, local and midsize businesses through programs that provide technical assistance, access to capital and increased contracting opportunities. By supporting local business development, we expand the tax base and decrease the need to raise revenue through property and sales taxes.

3 – What is one major issue the current County Council has handled poorly and what would you have done differently? (100 words max)

When the Council permitted the pre-payment of property taxes in the closing days of 2017, it was responding to the uncertainty of federal tax reform. Many people rushed to pre-pay property taxes later to discover that the IRS would not permit the credit. I would have included a provision in the legislation that would have allowed the county to refund the prepaid amount if the IRS prohibited the credit for prepayment.

4 – What experience (work, political or other) has prepared you to hold this office? (100 words max)

My experiences have allowed me to understand this county and the needs of its residents. I am the only candidate who has local and federal legislative experience, including serving on the Council in 2014 as an interim member and serving 23 years on Capitol Hill (retiring as a Chief Counsel for a Committee). Also, I understand county government from the inside, currently serving as a Director of the Procurement Office, where I have increased the contracts awarded local, small, minority and women-owned business and streamlined the procurement process. I am ready to serve on day one.

 

Brandy H.M. Brooks

• Where you live: Wheaton

• Date of birth: July 31, 1976

• Current occupation and employer (may also list up to two other jobs you’ve held); if retired, list your last job and employer: Leadership development organizer, Progressive Maryland; former director of programs, Dreaming Out Loud; former Greater Boston regional director, The Food Project

• Political experience (public offices held and when, as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years): Zoning Board of Appeals, Somerville, Massachusetts, 2013-14

• Campaign information:

 

1 – Why are you running for this office? (75 words max)

I’m an organizer, educator and designer living in a multi-generational household in Wheaton. I’m running so that families like mine all over Montgomery County have access to affordable housing, good public transit to help us get around the county, good education for our kids, and an economy that lets us support our families. And I’m running because I believe that we should have the power to shape the policies and systems that affect our lives.

2 – What is the most important issue in this race and what specific plans do you have to address it? (100 words max)

Affordable housing is our most critical issue — if people can’t live here, we don’t have a county. We need more affordable housing for all income levels throughout all areas of the county. We also need affordable housing connected to affordable transportation options. I support strong renter protections, including rent stabilization and just cause eviction. I want to partner with more developers who focus specifically on producing affordable housing and commercial space. And I want to update our zoning to allow current property owners to produce more housing through accessory dwelling units, subdividing their homes, and building duplexes and triple-deckers.

3 – What is one major issue the current County Council has handled poorly and what would you have done differently? (100 words max)

The current County Council and past Councils have done a terrible job of ensuring that development is accompanied by supporting infrastructure, especially when it comes to transportation and schools. Public officials use tricks like “placeholder” schools to allow developers to build well beyond the capacity of our local systems. This makes lots of money for developers, but leaves us with the burden of managing and finding funding to handle the impacts of development. I want to implement true community-driven planning processes and require developers to pay their fair share of the infrastructure their developments rely on to make a profit.

4 – What experience (work, political or other) has prepared you to hold this office? (100 words max)

I have a background in community design and land use planning as well as nonprofit budget, staff and program management. I have mentored, taught and trained for nearly 25 years in higher education, professional development, and organizing, so I’m passionate about investing in the success of our students and educators. I have served as a zoning official and helped developed the comprehensive plan for the City of Somerville, Massachusetts. I am a community organizer who has worked on community food systems, community engagement, and environmental, social, and economic justice. I work every day to build the power of the people.

 

Craig Carozza-Caviness

• Where you live: Montgomery Village

• Date of birth: May 22, 1982

• Current occupation and employer (may also list up to two other jobs you’ve held); if retired, list your last job and employer: Insurance agent/financial specialist, Allstate Insurance. Real estate agent, Porter House International Realty Group.

• Political experience (public offices held and when, as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years): N/A

• Campaign information:

 

did not respond to additional questions

 

Ron Colbert

• Where you live: Damascus

• Date of birth: private

• Current occupation and employer (may also list up to two other jobs you’ve held); if retired, list your last job and employer: Vice president, MELE Associates Inc.; retired from Safeway Food Stores

• Political experience (public offices held and when, as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years): First attempt

• Campaign information:

 

did not respond to additional questions

 

Bill Conway

• Where you live: Potomac

• Date of birth: June 5, 1957

• Current occupation and employer (may also list up to two other jobs you’ve held); if retired, list your last job and employer: Retired, partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP

• Political experience (public offices held and when, as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years): None

• Campaign information:

 

1 – Why are you running for this office? (75 words max)

I am running to ensure that we have a county government that works to provide opportunity and prosperity for all Montgomery County residents. I retired from my law practice in March 2017 and intended to accept an attractive private sector offer. I did not expect to run for office, but Trump’s policies of bigotry and hate — particularly with respect to immigrants and undocumented people – made me feel that I had to do more than complain.

2 – What is the most important issue in this race and what specific plans do you have to address it? (100 words max)

Our needs for services are exceeding our ability to pay for them. We must focus on growing more high-paying jobs in the County. If we don’t, we will not have tax revenue sufficient to pay for the government we expect. To address this problem, I would ensure that (i) our new Economic Development Corporation aggressively markets the County as an attractive business location, (ii) the County streamlines its regulatory processes to provide a welcoming business environment, (iii) the County is attractive to young people, and (iv) we play to our strengths in the sciences, especially in work force development.

3 – What is one major issue the current County Council has handled poorly and what would you have done differently? (100 words max)

The property tax increase of 8.7% in 2016 inspired huge voter anger and was a mistake. Its original purpose was to restore school funding levels and to fund tax refunds under the Supreme Court’s Wynne decision. When the General Assembly provided for the funding of refunds over time, the 8.7% increase could have been substantially reduced while still increasing school funding, but the Council elected to proceed with the entire increase, which funded increases in other areas as well. I would have limited the rate increase to the portion necessary for increased school funding.

4 – What experience (work, political or other) has prepared you to hold this office? (100 words max)

Early in my career, I served as Senior Counsel to the Senate Energy Committee, where I conceived, drafted and negotiated the last major rewrite of our electricity laws, which lowered consumer bills and paved the way for the growth of renewable energy. Since then, I’ve been chief legal officer to a Fortune 500 utility company, an entrepreneur working to provide innovative ways of delivering electricity, and a partner in major law firms. I’ve made public policy, and I’ve had to make a payroll. In the local community, I’ve been continuously engaged in environmental and other civic causes.

 

Hoan Dang

• Where you live: Wheaton

• Date of birth: Dec. 7, 1966

• Current occupation and employer (may also list up to two other jobs you’ve held); if retired, list your last job and employer: Senior program analyst with ITility, LLC

• Political experience (public offices held and when, as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years): Ran for state delegate in District 19 in 2010 (unsuccessful); elected to Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee, 2010-14; elected chair of Maryland Democratic Party’s Asian American & Pacific Islanders Leadership Council, 2014-17

• Campaign information:

 

1 – Why are you running for this office? (75 words max)

Montgomery County will operate a $5.6 billion budget in FY 2019 and there is a real threat of major budget deficits in FY 2020. This means less funding for schools, infrastructure and economic development. As the only Democrat running at-large with years of experience managing multi-million-dollar budgets, I’m running to find innovative ways to close our budget gaps, while meeting the needs of our growing and diverse population.

2 – What is the most important issue in this race and what specific plans do you have to address it? (100 words max)

Our County ranks number 20 out of 24 local jurisdictions for job growth for the past 15 years. This stagnant economic growth combined with looming budget deficits could spell disaster for our County. I will work with our County Government to make it a leader in improving interactions with businesses by making procedures less complex and easier to understand while ensuring policies are maintained to protect our consumers, our workers, our environment. Our diverse and well-educated county has a lot to offer employers, but we need to make it easier for businesses to stay and grow in our County. 

3 – What is one major issue the current County Council has handled poorly and what would you have done differently? (100 words max)

The 8.7% property tax increase in 2016 to shore up the school’s budget could have been handled differently. This was caused by seven years of insufficient funding for MCPS following the great recession while other County agencies saw budget increases. MCPS is a huge asset and require continuous investments. Once the MCPS budget challenges became too large to ignore, the County Council was forced to pass a large tax increase to sufficiently fund MCPS. I would have ensured that our County was not in this position to begin with by adequately funding MCPS each fiscal year leading up to 2016.

4 – What experience (work, political or other) has prepared you to hold this office? (100 words max)

I’m a budget expert, a community leader, and a former refugee. As a budget expert, I’ve spent years managing multi-million-dollar budgets and solving budget gaps. Montgomery County will operate a $5.6 billion budget in FY 2019, with a looming budget shortfall in FY 2020. This means less funding for schools, infrastructure and economic development. As the only Democrat running At-Large with years of professional experience managing multi-million-dollar budgets, I will find innovative ways to close our budget gaps, while using my experience as a community leader and former refugee to meet the challenges of our growing and diverse population.

 

Tom R. Falcinelli Jr.

• Where you live: Silver Spring

• Date of birth: April 16, 1960

• Current occupation and employer (may also list up to two other jobs you’ve held); if retired, list your last job and employer: Attorney, Bay & Falcinelli, Rockville, 1987-present. Director of football officiating, Indoor Football League (IFL), 2012-present. Retired Montgomery County Police sergeant, 1985-2015.

• Political experience (public offices held and when, as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years): Candidate for Montgomery County sheriff, 2014.

• Campaign information: http://www.spidernet1.com/tomf/TomFalcinelliResume2018.pdf

 

1 – Why are you running for this office? (75 words max)

Term limits created a much needed purge of the council; it’s unfortunate they’re now all running for county executive. I’ve held real jobs as a MoCo cop, retired in 2015, and am an attorney in private practice, 31 years. I know what it is like to hold a real job, and pay outrageous taxes. Time for at least one fresh look on the council; who will serve one term only, with common sense. Tom.

2 – What is the most important issue in this race and what specific plans do you have to address it? (100 words max)

There’s more than one important issue. Can you say tax? I will vote no to any tax increase — end of story. Second, I will not support any councilmember’s special interest pet projects which are ludicrous and contrary to law. Example? The Leventhal sponsored unlawful pesticide ban fiasco which received a good old smack-down, getting overturned in court. I will work to ease the anti-business mentality of the council; focus on infrastructure; manage growth responsibly; I won’t pander to the extreme left; and will work to take Uncle Montgomery’s hands out of our pockets.

3 – What is one major issue the current County Council has handled poorly and what would you have done differently? (100 words max)

One issue? LOL. MoCo’s liquor sales monopoly must end. Get completely out of the booze business; there are too many other issues to contend with. The Leventhal sponsored bill to ban lawn pesticides was dead from the outset, yet the council pursued it, only to be overturned by the Court. This anti-business (and unlawful) regulation would have put many landscapers out of work. The council is presently considering wasting $374,000 to provide free attorneys to assist people here illegally with their deportation defense. Our tax dollars to provide free attorneys to those here illegally? When does it stop?

4 – What experience (work, political or other) has prepared you to hold this office? (100 words max)

I served 30 years as a MoCo cop, the final 20 as an overnight supervisor. I experienced life on the streets; I am in touch with reality and what the people feel. By day, I have been an attorney in private practice for 31 years; I know how tough it is to earn a living with a real job. Most important? I am not a career politician who needs this job for a livelihood. Term limits is a wonderful concept. I simply want to try to do some good; then I will leave office after one term.

 

Lorna Phillips Forde