Paul Geller (Democrat)
At-large candidate Geller, a former president of the Montgomery County Council of Parent Teacher Associations, said he wants to take his experience of building relationships and with the schools system to the County Council.
“I build bridges and coalitions between the most unlikely of groups,” Geller said.
On transportation, Geller said he has a unique solution to traffic congestion in the County – smart traffic singles that will optimize intersections on the County’s roads. Geller said if elected, he would make it a priority to work with the County Executive and state transportation officials to implement smart traffic signals in the County.
On education, Geller said the County Council should to be better stewards of the Montgomery County Public Schools Capital Improvement Projects budget. Geller said that MCPS should opt for “refresh” plan that would build on the existing infrastructure of current school building, rather than knocking down and building new buildings for schools
“I think we need a greater hand in making sure those funds that are paid for by the taxpayer are going towards projects that are actually needed,” Geller said.
Melissa McKenna (Democrat)
McKenna, an at-large candidate from Gaithersburg, wants to take on Montgomery County Public Schools’ Capital Improvement Program’s budget.
While the MCPS CIP is set managed by the Board of Education, the County Council is responsible for its funding, and McKenna said the County Council should take more of a role MCPS’s CIP. McKenna suggested, if elected, she would push MCPS to adopt the “refresh” model for capital projects, which encourages remolding existing buildings rather constructing new ones.
“I'm not sure it would reduce the overall burden of the need, but it would give us an opportunity to reach more schools,” McKenna said of the “refresh” and its impact on school construction.
McKenna, a former vice president for Montgomery County Council of Parent Teacher Associations, said if elected wants to better manage growth and development in the County. McKenna mentioned that often retailers move to new, trendy mix use development such as Pike and Rose, leaving key retail space in the old location empty of a tenant.
“As we continued to develop the new space, we have kind of cannibalized the existing areas,” McKenna said.
Rosemary Arkoian (Democrat)
Arkoian, is making her second run for County Council after her last attempt to win office failed in 2002. Arkoian, a former Arabic-language linguist with the National Security Agency, said she is running for County Council at-large as a way to be more involved in local government.
“I’m a person that believes everyone should have a place at the table,” Arkoian said.
Arkoian, a frequenter of Council meetings, said traffic congestion is one of her main issues that she is running, specifically pointing to building the proposed M-83, a mid-county highway project, as a priority for if elected. In addition to M-83, Arkoian said she supports funding mass-transit construction on I-270 to reduce traffic congestion.
“Our present County Council, they just don't get it. Clarksburg is growing from 2,000 people to 40,000. That road was promised to them,” Arkoian said.
Arkoian also said she supported more funding for Metro, and is open to how, including a dedicated funding source via an additional sales tax.
On education, Arkoian said the Council should consider increasing teachers’ pay in order to attract better staff in order to help close the County’s often-talked about achievement gap.