Local attorney Shelly Skolnick’s decision to run for an at-large seat on the County Council as a Republican puts the veteran of six campaigns – including runs for Congress, County Council and County Executive – among the thin ranks of those running for countywide office under the GOP banner. Despite Montgomery County’s solid blue reputation, Skolnick hopes he can win over Democratic voters with his pragmatic ideas.
“I’m not an ideologue and I’m not an extremist,” Skolnick said. “Some of my ideas go against the Republican orthodoxy.”
Skolnick, who bills himself as moderate, said transportation is one of his campaign’s signature issues. Specifically, Skolnick said that if elected, he’d like to ease traffic by replacing the County’s proposed bus rapid transit projects – featuring busses operating in mostly-dedicated lanes – with reversible toll lanes for both commuters and buses.
“Using the existing road ways and you get tolls so it will cost the taxpayers zero,” Skolnick said.
Skolnick also says he supports a tax on properties within a half-mile radius of Metro stops as a dedicated funding source for Metro. In addition, he wants Montgomery County – along with the other local jurisdictions involved with Metro – to observe Metro bus service, so Metro can focus on its rail service exclusively.
On education Skolnick said he’s advocating for free tuition for Montgomery College in exchange for students volunteering somewhere the County, such as at Montgomery County Public Schools or fire and rescue.