1) Tell us about yourself.
Over the last 10 years, I been working hand in hand with civic, nonprofit and business leaders to improve Montgomery County. As chairman of the Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board and through my work with leading nonprofits I am actively spearheading efforts to create more green space in our urban areas, securing more use of public facilities so that our nonprofits can fulfill their organizational missions, and working to lift families out of poverty and strengthen our middle class by promoting economic development, affordable housing and child care services.
I am currently a communications consultant and before entering politics, I was a CNN journalist for 12 years – covering Capitol Hill, presidential campaigns and national politics.
My husband and I live in the Indian Spring neighborhood of Silver Spring with our dog, Percy.
2) What do you hope to accomplish in office?
1. It is a moral imperative that we work to close the academic achievement gap in our schools so that every student receives the education he or she deserves. Regardless of race, class, nation of origin or zip code, we need to provide every child with a high quality education both in and out of the classroom.
2. We need to bring more jobs to Montgomery County and support those that already exist. Increasing our opportunities for economic development will not only increase our tax base but it will also provide jobs for individuals who live in areas where income inequality and the achievement gap are the highest.
Economic development and job growth can be accomplished in coordination with a robust transportation infrastructure, providing safe, efficient and environmentally friendly means of commuting throughout our county and region.
3. We must change the tone in Rockville. All too often politics gets in the way of progress. Our Councilmembers must be willing to work with each other, our County Executive, members of the General Assembly and the Board of Education. Only when we work together will we create meaningful progress.
3) What would you say your biggest accomplishment has been so far. What does that say about your priorities as council member?
Having served as Chair of the Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board and president of two different civic associations (the South Silver Spring Neighborhood Association and Indian Spring Citizens Association), my biggest accomplishment is my ability to create winning coalitions to achieve progress in our community. Whether it was educating neighbors about the importance of allowing an affordable housing complex to move into our community or working with the States Attorneys office to clean up two crime ridden motels in downtown Silver Spring – I have been a local leader working to make our community safe and equitable for all.
4) What distinguishes you from the other candidates?
Every candidate in this race has a track record of progress within our community. But while some have spent years in Annapolis working on state issues and others have been working on education policy, I have spent the same amount of time leading our communities on issues that affect how we live, work and play here in the 5th District and throughout Montgomery County.
As president of two civic associations, I have enhanced pedestrian safety measures for all of our residents and led efforts to improve our public transportation system. As a board member of Montgomery Housing Partnership, I am leading the effort to increase the number of affordable homes in Montgomery County. As a member of the Nighttime Economy Task Force I have worked with our small business community to remove barriers to entrepreneurship and encourage economic opportunities. And as a founding board member of Conservation Montgomery I have been leading the effort to create more green space in our urban areas and to protecting Ten Mile Creek and our county’s agriculture land, as I know how important our natural resources are and am dedicated to preserving them.
Having been chair of the Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board, a civic leader and a former journalist, I am dedicated to ensuring that every resident in the 5th District is informed about our community. My door will always be open to hearing the thoughts and concerns of every resident, with a strong focus on constituent services and fighting for the needs of our diverse neighborhoods. I understand how to lead public conversations and truly listen to all sides of an issue. The public demands that our elected officials be educated on all aspects of an issue and then make a decision based on that input. While I may sometimes disagree with a policy proposal, I am never disagreeable in my manner or action.
We need all of our elected officials from Montgomery County to do a better job of communicating effectively and working together. Holding grudges for legislation passed in Annapolis or votes taken in Rockville is no way to work toward the public good. The collaborative spirit and respectful disagreement appear to be lost arts in our current political climate.
5) That is the top issue (or one of the top issues) facing the District and how do you propose to deal with it?
See my response to question #2.
6) Will you pledge to end the double-taxation of Takoma Park so that the county fairly reimburses the city for duplicate services? If so, what do you see as the solution?
Yes, I pledge to end double-taxation. I will use the legislative power of oversight to investigate inefficiencies and revise the formula for service reimbursement. I have had many long conversations with Takoma Park Mayor Bruce Williams (who is supporting my campaign) about this topic and look forward to working with him to correct the situation.
7) What are the top local issues in these other District 5 communities: Silver Spring, Four Corners, White Oak, Fairland, Cloverly, and Burtonsville?
I am working with the communities inside the beltway to bring more green space to our urban areas, to increase our transportation infrastructure so that it includes the Purple Line, but also emphasizes pedestrian safety and multi-model forms of transit (like bicycling), and ensuring our schools are safe and not overcrowded.
Communities outside of the beltway are hungry for economic development – where jobs, restaurants and amenities are closer to home. My work in downtown Silver Spring – bringing residents and the business community together to discuss projects is an essential skill for these communities.
8) Please list endorsements:
I am pleased to have been endorsed by:
The Washington Post
The Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors
The Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund
Takoma Park Mayor Bruce Williams
Takoma Park Councilmember Seth Grimes
My supporters also include Delegate Heather Mizeur and scores of civic, nonprofit and small business leaders in our community. A full list of groups and individuals can be found here: http://www.evanglass.com/supporters
9) Please supply links, and contact info.