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Candidates test new campaign finance system

  • Published in Local

MoCo LogoMore 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.

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Federal cuts run county deep

DHR Home SlideAs it turns out the Attorney General of the United States of America doesn’t have to do a thing to Montgomery County – Mick Mulvaney already took care of that.
Sessions, speaking Monday at a White House briefing urged “Sanctuary” communities to follow the law or face the loss of DOJ. grants – and hinted at other possible retributions.
County Executive Ike Leggett says Montgomery County doesn’t fall under “Sanctuary” status, but he is aware the DOJ isn’t fond of the county because leaders here do not necessarily cooperate with Homeland Security and ICE when it comes to illegal immigrants. The county will honor detainers and turn over criminal illegal immigrants, but otherwise leaves the immigrant community alone.
When a rape allegedly involving two illegal immigrants occurred recently at Rockville High School, more than 100 people came out to protest the county and the City of Rockville’s stance on illegal immigrants. Never mind the protesters didn’t exactly understand the issue, perpetual Republican gadfly Robin Ficker - fresh from his success in forcing term limits on the county and flush with the puffed up pride of a man who promised not to run for county office but had a change of heart – jumped into politicize the tragedy with his two bits.

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Takoma Park seals its reputation as a political nesting ground

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Takoma Park Govt logo

The center of power in the county, state and even at times the federal government is not Washington D.C., but a cozy city nestled just north of it.

During the last few decades, Takoma Park has transformed from a small town home to minority religious community to a progressive political haven and the crucible where political careers begin.

For a small city of 17,000 people, it is home to a long list of political players, such as Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-8), newly elected Democratic National Committee Chair Tom Perez, former White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough, Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot and three members of the County Council George Leventhal (D-at large), Marc Elrich (D-at large) and Hans Riemer (D-at large).

“When you have a political belief, be absolutely fearless in promoting it,” said political activist Robin Ficker, who was born in Takoma Park. “Speak your mind and speak your mind until the heavens fall and don't let anyone intimidate you. It's a belief that springs from Takoma Park.”

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Candidate filing opens to a flurry of activity

  • Published in Local

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.

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County Executive race is now ON!

  • Published in Local

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.

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Ficker does about face on running for office

  • Published in Local

Robin FickerRobin Ficker will run for local office in 2018. FILE PHOTO

Former state Del. Robin Ficker (R) is running in 2018 for... something.

Exactly what that something is, the Boyds attorney wouldn't say Friday when he declared his intention to run for local office in two years, only ruling out a return to the state legislature. He lost a run for state Senate in 2014.

"I'm going to run for County office," he said.

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Letters to the Editor – November 24, 2016

Exercising Civil Rights 

To the editor;
I don't normally read the Sentinel, but today I picked a copy up at the Rockville Senior Center.
I was surprised at some of the vile and inaccurate comments from some readers. I have lived in Rockville since 1959 and watched seven children graduate from Richard Montgomery H.S.

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Ficker surprised by size of term limit win

  • Published in Local

Robin FickerRobin Ficker     FILE PHOTO  

The referendum on term limits passed by such a wide margin Nov. 8 it even surprised its biggest supporter – former state Del. Robin Ficker (R).

Montgomery County residents voted in favor of the referendum by a 69.4 percent to 30.6 percent margin.

Ficker, a political activist and who helped gather the necessary 10,000 signatures to put the question on the ballot, said the margin of victory surprised him.

“I thought it would pass, I didn't think it would pass as well as it did,” Ficker said.

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Term limits adopted in Montgomery County

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Term limits sign 11-8-16PHOTO BY DANICA ROEM 

Montgomery County voters approved term limits for the County Council and County Executive by a two-to-one margin Tuesday, meaning there will be at least four open seats on the nine-member council in 2018 and an open race for County Executive.

Question B passed by a 68.9 percent to 31.1 percent margin, limiting County Council members and the County Executive to serving three consecutive terms in one office before sitting out for one term in order to run again for the same office.

"Well, this is really what I love about America, where you can bring about peaceful change through the legal and electoral process," said former state Del. Robin Ficker (R), who led the collection for ballot signatures to put the question to referendum. "And this is an example for that."

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Instead of term limits consider changing the game with public finance

Those of you who are readers of the Montgomery County Sentinel are likely well aware on the evening of September 19 the Sentinel conducted a debate with local attorneys Robin Ficker providing the arguments for term limits on members of the County Council and the County Executive and Paul Bessel arguing against the need for such term limits.

During the debate, Mr. Ficker argued term limits encourages more individuals to run for office in that term limits result in more open seats. By not facing incumbents who have reached their term limit, Mr. Ficker argues, the likelihood of winning a seat increases and makes running for office more attractive.

Mr. Bessel countered this claim by pointing to a litany of studies and data that  demonstrate that this assumption is clearly not the case. Moreover, Mr. Bessel went on to state quite emphatically that, if increasing the numbers of individuals who run for office is a legitimate goal of term limits, then it can more effectively be accomplished, not with term limits, but with public funding of elections which makes running for office more affordable.

Regardless of which side of the term limits argument you find yourself, the issue of public funding of elections and whether it actually does impact significantly the number of individuals who may choose to run for office is an issue worthy of considering.

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