1) Tell us about yourself.
I have lived in Montgomery County for 42 years. My wife Soraia and I have two sons who attended Montgomery County Public Schools. I am running for my fourth term on the Montgomery County Council, and I currently serve as its Vice-President. I am Chair of the Health and Human Services Committee and a member of the Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee. From 1996 to 2001, I served as chairman of the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee. I am active in the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. I am pursuing my Ph.D. in Public Policy at the University of Maryland.
I have learned a lot during my twelve years in office and I can put my knowledge and experience to work in a fourth term to help Montgomery County achieve the bright future it deserves. As Chairman of the Health and Human Services Committee, I want to continue advocating for those who need the most help from government: the sick, the poor, the elderly, the homeless, the mentally ill, and abused and abandoned children. The only way to accomplish our social goals is to attract new jobs and investment to expand our revenue base. As a member of the Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee, I want to continue the Council’s work promoting smart growth development, updating master plans for our modern society and attracting jobs. I understand the importance of attractive and creative planning to ensure cosmopolitan communities that provide desirable amenities, including schools, parks, trails, libraries, community and recreation centers and shopping.
2) What do you hope to accomplish in office?
Attract jobs and investment to promote a healthy economy;
Maintain access to health care for the uninsured;
Continue advocating for construction of the Purple Line and other mass transit;
Continue working to reduce the prevalence of homelessness by placing homeless residents in permanent, stable housing.
3) What would you say your biggest accomplishment has been so far? What does that say about your priorities as council member?
I established the Montgomery Cares program, a network of clinics and doctors that in this year alone will ensure that 31,000 uninsured residents get to see a doctor. I led the county’s adoption of the “Housing First” approach to placing formerly homeless persons in permanent stable housing and leading the county’s involvement in the national 100,000 Homes Campaign to identify and prioritize housing placement for medically vulnerable homeless clients. As Chairman of the Health and Human Services Committee, I am a key advocate for those who need the most help from government: the sick, the poor, the elderly, the homeless, the mentally ill, and abused and abandoned children.
4) What distinguishes you from the other candidates?
Since I was first elected in 2002, I have brought passion, honesty and integrity to the County Council. I work hard, and I respond quickly to our constituents’ needs. I am an effective leader, and I get things done. Montgomery County is a dynamic, diverse, affluent and sophisticated community and I have been proud to be part of its governance.
Having grown up here, having worked for Maryland’s U.S. Senator Barbara Mikulski, chaired the county’s Democratic Party for five years and represented the entire county as an At-Large Councilmember for 12 years, I believe I have a profound understanding of the county’s needs and its future challenges and opportunities.
5) What is the top issue (or one of the top issues) facing the county and how do you propose to deal with it?
One of the top issues facing our county is economic competitiveness. The most important thing we can do to keep our economy competitive is build the promised mass transit improvements: Purple Line, Corridor Cities Transitway and Bus Rapid Transit on key corridors. We must also maintain the high quality of our K-12 education system and continue to invest in Montgomery College for workforce development. We should do a better job of marketing our county to companies not already located here. I am impressed with the Montgomery Business Development Corporation’s recent efforts to assemble data that would be useful to a business considering a new location.
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?
We should reimburse municipalities for income and property taxes according to a single, fair formula that takes into account the county’s cost if it were to assume services now provided by municipalities.
In addition to supporting the county’s payments to Takoma Park for tax duplication and library services, I am primarily responsible for the county’s continuing commitment to keep the Piney Branch Elementary School swimming pool operating.
7) What are other important local issues in Takoma Park, Silver Spring, Four Corners and Wheaton, and how will you address them?
We need to revitalize East County, including Wheaton, Glenmont, White Oak and Long Branch. The persistent east-west economic and opportunity divide does not reflect well on our county’s commitment to equity. I am looking forward to working on the White Oak Science Gateway Master Plan, which is intended to address the jobs-housing imbalance along the Route 29 Corridor.
8) Please list endorsements:
The Washington Post;
Coalition of Asian Pacific American Democrats;
The Gazette newspaper;
Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors;
Hispanic Chamber of Commerce;
Hispanic Democratic Club;
Montgomery County Hispanic Democratic Club;
Montgomery County Public Schools Retirees Association;
Montgomery County Volunteer Fire and Rescue Association;
NARAL Pro-Choice Maryland;
National Organization for Women (Montgomery County chapter);
UFCW Local 400;
9) Please supply links, and contact info.
You can follow me on Facebook at www.facebook.com/george.leventhal and on Twitter @georgeleventhal.
You can reach my Campaign Coordinator, Jessica Moore, at 301-580-4517 or firstname.lastname@example.org. You can reach me on my cell phone at 240-506-5551, at my office at 240-777-7811, or via email at email@example.com.