Two more county residents have jumped into races for county council:
Two more county residents have jumped into races for county council:
ROCKVILLE - The Montgomery County Sentinel will be hosting a live stream debate among the Democrat candidates for County Executive on Monday, Oct. 16, in the Council Hearing Room (third floor) in the County Council Building at 100 Maryland Avenue in Rockville.
Brian J. Karem, the executive editor for The Sentinel Newspapers, will moderate the event which is scheduled from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Since last week, two additional candidates filed their paper to run for two County Council seats that will be open in 2018.
That brings the total number of people who have filed to run for the open council seats to 22. The addition of a term limit referendum created four new open seats on the County Council for the 2018 election.
Meredith Wellington (District-1)
Wellington, a Democrat, and former member of the County Planning Board, said she got her start in politics when her son needed a place to play baseball. She said she and others helped lobby to the County to build what would become the Wisconsin Place Community Recreation Center in Chevy Chase.Wellington is originally from Texas, but has lived in the County since 1978. Wellington served on the Planning Board for eight years from 1999 to 2007, the Montgomery County Park Foundation and has worked as a lawyer for the National Labor Relations Board.
Wellington said the community center is an example of the type of development she wants in the County, where the County encourages developers to make voluntary contributions to the surrounding community by helping to pay for land for parks, school or traffic infrastructure.
“I firmly believe that developers should make more in-kind donations to improve amenities,” Wellington said.
On transit, Wellington said she supports funding for Metro and Ride On Extra, but said the County should look at expanding or widening roads. Wellington said much of District 1 is not close to a Metro stop and she believes the County should widen roads in order to accommodate more cars and buses.
“So we have a network of roads that are suitable for buses,” Wellington said. “If we need to expand roads, widen roads, we should do that and that will also benefit cars.”
On economic development, Wellington said the County should be more aggressive in how it tries to attract businesses to relocate here, saying the County should have representatives around the world that market on behalf of the County.
“We are a premium location for science and we need to spread that word and develop ourselves more as science center,” she said.
On the environment, Wellington said she would like to see improvements in storm water management in the county. She wants to close a loophole for single-family homes and advocate for a greener, plant-based, approach to be used in storm water management.
Ashwani Jain (At-large)
County native and a Democrat, Jain said he got his first foray into politics when he was asked in high school by then-Senator Barack Obama’s campaign for president to volunteer. Jain, a cancer survivor who said for much of his life he felt powerless, said politics gave him empowerment and a sense of purpose. Jain worked campaigning for Obama much of his life until he was hired to work at the White House.
Jain, 28, said the issues of the County, affordable housing, schools, traffic and inclusion are related and that the County’s solutions to problems should be multi-dimensional.
“For me all those issues are interconnected end the best way we can close the opportunity gap is to address all those issues in a comprehensive way,” Jain said.
Jain said the County should pass a “Community Trust” ordinance to declare the County as a sanctuary jurisdiction.
Sanctuary jurisdiction is a loosely-defined term for cities and counties that prevent their local officials from assisting with enforcement of immigration law. County officials have said that Montgomery County is not a sanctuary county, and cooperates with Immigration and Customs Enforcement for “serious criminals.”
However, Jain said he believes Montgomery County is a sanctuary jurisdiction.
“Given the fact we already operate as a sanctuary jurisdiction we just need the political will to declare it as such,” Jain said.
On education, Jain said he supports universal pre-kindergarten, saying it would cut the opportunity gap for the County’s African-American and Latino students. Jain said he also supports increasing the County’s minimum wage to $15 per hour saying the County needs a “living wage.”
Jain also said the County is losing technology start-ups and said he supports incentives, including tax incentives, to keep entrepreneurs in the County.
“We got to make sure if you are starting a business or you have a business that you are able to keep that business,” Jain said.
Since the new term limits amendment to the County charter, preventing reelection bids for at-large incumbent Council members Nancy Floreen, George Leventhal and Marc Elrich, there will be at least three new At-Large Council members in 2018. Two more at-large candidates officially filed for County Council this week, bringing the total number of candidates to 11 for four at-large seats.
With three of the four at large County Council members leaving their seats in 2018, nine candidates so far have filed to fill their spots. In the last week, three new candidates filed to run for the four County Council at large seats.
More than a year from the 2018 primary election, candidates for County offices are heading in to a new territory of publicly-financed campaigns,
In 2014, the County Council passed a law to publicly finance County elections in hopes to counter the impact of campaign donations from large businesses and political action committees.
Montgomery County is the first county in the state to have publicly-financed elections, meaning the new funding system for candidates is untested.
“It leads some people running for office to look more to grassroots and small donations,” said Ed Amatetti, a Republican candidate for County Council District-2 on the new campaign finance system.
Two more people filed to run for County office last week after the filing period begun Feb. 28.
North Potomac consultant and former teacher Ed Amatetti filed last week, and is running as a Republican for the County Council District 2 seat, while Rockville accountant Richard Gottfried filed for one of the open County Council at-large seats and is running as a Democrat.
It was an unusually busy day at the Montgomery County Board of Elections as two people decided to file their paperwork to run for County offices on Tuesday.
Tuesday was the first day candidates could file their paperwork to run for any of the offices in the 2018 gubernatorial election. BOE Operations Manager Christine Rzeszut said it was an unusually busy filing day with two people deciding to file and total of five scheduled appointments to file.
“We’re going to have more of an active interest because we have open seats, especially in Montgomery County,” Rzeszut said.
About four months after the presidential election and just days before the start of filing for candidates, the race for County Executive is starting to heat up.
For the first time since 2006 there will be an open seat in the County Executive Office building in 2018 leading to an array of contenders to replace the outgoing County Executive Ike Leggett. The candidate filing period begins Feb. 28 and the primary election is June 26.
Leggett, who has said his current term will be his last, cannot run for re-election after voters in November passed a referendum on term limits, limiting members of the County Council and the County Executive to three consecutive, four-year terms.
The chief proponent of the term limit referendum is also one of the first people to enter the County Executive Race – Robin Ficker.
GAITHERSBURG -- James Rolfes says he hopes to bring his experience working for government transparency and accountability to the Gaithersburg City Council.