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Takoma Park seals its reputation as a political nesting ground

  • Published in Local

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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

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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!

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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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County Raises Minimum Wage

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Council passes minimum wage raise, now awaits Leggett's signature

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ROCKVILLE – After many debates, protests and public hearings, the County Council voted Tuesday to increase the County’s minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2020.

Now Bill 12-16 awaits County Executive Ike Leggett’s signature before it can become law. Patrick Lacefield, a spokesperson for the County, said Leggett has not decided whether he plans to sign the minimum wage increase in to law.

“We're still reviewing it; we haven't made a decision,” Lacefield said.

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Leggett defends bag tax

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County executive says controversial move still needs more time

IkeLeggettCounty Executive Ike Leggett.      FILE PHOTO  

After some members of the County Council said the County 5- cent tax on plastic and paper bags is not working to reduce bags, County Executive Ike Leggett said the fee needs more time

After the fee passed in 2011 to reduce the number of bags that end up littering the County’s streets and streams, the number of bags distributed at stores has actually increased since it became effective in 2012.

According to County statistics, the number of bags distributed at County stores averaged 4,340,438 a month in fiscal year 2012. In fiscal year 2017, the average has increased to 5,532,770 a month. Both averages were taken over five-month periods.

“I think it is having an impact, maybe not the impact we anticipated,” Leggett said of the bag tax.

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County health official Dr. Ulder Tillman dies

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Dr. Ulder TillmanDr. Ulder Tillman. COURTESY PHOTO

Montgomery County Health Officer and Chief of Public Health Services Dr. Ulder Tillman died suddenly today after 13 years of service working for the County.  

Tillman was known for her public health awareness campaigns on the Zika virus, Lyme disease and Ebola. Tillman gave several presentations to the County Council about Zika and lead a public awareness campaign about how residents could prevent mosquito bites and what they needed to know about the virus, during the Zika outbreak last year.

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“It’s Not Working”

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At least one county council member thinks controversial bag tax should end

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At least one county council member says it may be time to bag the county’s controversial bag tax.

More than five years since the County’s 5-cent tax on plastic and paper bags passed, bag use in the County has gone up not down, contrary to politicians’ promises.

Despite the effort to reduce the number of plastic bags that end up littering the County’s streets and streams, County data shows a significant increase.

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