1) Tell us about yourself.
For the past 20 years I have been engaged in Montgomery County as a progressive community activist. I believe in public service and I have had the privilege of serving our community in leadership roles in various organizations which has given me an insider understanding of key issues impacting the lives of our citizens. I am an elected official on the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee and serving my second consecutive term as the Chairperson for the Precinct Organization. I am committed to building a stronger county and a better future for the next generation.
I am running for the County Council At-Large seat because I care; I care about the state of affairs of our county, the quality of life of our citizens and the future of our next generation. That is why my campaign motto is “She Cares”.
I am a graduate of University of Maryland School of Nursing and was commissioned as a military officer in the Army Nurse Corps. I retired from a successful military career of 21 years at the rank of Major and my last assignment was at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington DC. I received numerous awards during my Army career for distinguished military service with the highest decoration being the Meritorious Service Medal.
As a professional nurse, I have utilized my clinical and management expertise, and leadership skills to support my community and political affiliations, in addition to faith based programs. As a Certified Managed Care Nurse, I bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise in the coordination of services for the continuum of care. I continue to be a champion for quality health care as I work in the health care insurance industry as a senior medical review nurse.
I have been a long time mid-county resident in Olney, Maryland with my husband Wilbur and our three adult sons; Michael, Jonathan and Kenneth. I am committed to making our community stronger by supporting working families across the county.
2) What do you hope to accomplish in office?
Under my leadership, I will be instrumental in bringing about positive changes that will result in a sustainable and vibrant economy for our residents. The ability to make fiscal responsible decisions in the best interest for constituents will be my “ethos” and guiding light to do “the people’s work “ as a council member. As a county council member, I will advocate for our budget to continue to support educational opportunities while protecting the critical services that our children and families rely on for a sustainable quality of life. At a minimal, these services should include a proper nutritional program, access to health care, universal pre-kindergarten and after school youth enrichment programs. I will work hard to raise the awareness about poverty, food insecurity, access to child care, health care, social and mental healthcare services, and educational disparities that impact the quality of life for citizens throughout the county. I will ensure the continued funding for our non-profits organizations that provide essential safety-net services to those who are the most vulnerable and at greatest risk in our communities.
3) What would you say your biggest accomplishment has been so far? What does that say about your priorities as council member?
As an elected official on the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee (MCDCC) and a grassroots organizer, I fought to guarantee that all voters have equal access to exercise their constitutional right, to cast their vote at the election polls. As Chairperson of MCDCC Precinct Organization, I had the responsibility to organize county-wide precinct election coverage, develop training programs to educate precinct official volunteers and to execute an electioneering action plan to support activities on both Primary and General Election Day. I worked in collaboration with political colleagues and other voter advocacy groups, including our local Board of Election, to prevent the disenfranchisement of voters and to expand easy access to voting. I supported increased electoral access by promoting absentee voting, early voting, longer voting hours, and also increased the number of polling locations. These efforts have increased voter turn-out and will continue to increase voter participation in our election process in Montgomery County, while also protecting the civil rights granted to all citizen of our great country.
As a council member, I will take a stand and address those critical issues impacting our communities, that threaten our lifestyle and challenges the laws that protect our civil rights, regardless of race, color, creed , religion, national origin, age. gender or sexual orientation.
4) What distinguishes you from the other candidates?
As a longtime mid-county resident of Olney, I bring a different urban and suburban perspective to the county council. I am the only County Council At-large candidate who has served in the armed forces as a senior officer and I will be the first elected female veteran to have the honor of representing our county. The residents of this county should vote for me as “the people’s choice” because of the wealth of international and domestic experiences I bring to the table as a 20 plus year county resident, an elected county official, a community leader, a health care professional, a parent, and a retired military officer. The current make-up of our County Council does not reflect the present culturally diverse population based on the 2010 Census. Our county’s strength comes from its diversity and should be represented on the county council.
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 development that will result in creating good paying jobs. I am committed to building a vibrant and stimulating economy that will provide a sustainable community for our working families. As a council member, I will advocate for new businesses to relocate to our county and support small business opportunities to create new jobs at all skills and educational levels. The county must provide jobs to meet the basic needs to sustain a quality life style and increase the average household income for rebuilding our middle class families.
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 am committed to ending the practice of double-taxation/Municipal tax duplication for services, if these taxes are unfairly assessed. We need to examine the current taxation agreements between Montgomery County and Takoma Park with reference to reimbursing city residents for city services that reduce the county’s burdens. While this issue has existed for more than a decade, it is now time for the county council and city council to resolve this matter and complete the legislative and executive work that they were elected to do.
7) What are other important local issues in Takoma Park, Silver Spring, Four Corners and Wheaton, and how will you address them?
Two major issues that are relevant to these specific geographic county areas are: transportation and affordable housing.
Transportation networks impact our county’s economic health and quality of life. I am committed to the creation of a sensible roadway system. The consequences of growth should not be longer commutes that diminish the quality-of-life for our workers and their families. I will work to ensure that roadways (and public transportation) are adequate to support specific projects and/or developments prior to approval of the design and construction.
The demand for increasing the availability of affordable housing is surging and has a negative effect on our county residents, especially for the workforce and low-income families, and senior citizens. I will make it a priority to fight for increasing the percentage of affordable housing units being built, by negotiating incentives for developers to commit resources to support the growing population.
8) Please list endorsements:
Metropolitan Washington Council, AFL-CIO Union
CASA in Action- Latino
African America Democratic Club
Coalition of Asian Pacific American Democrats of Maryland- CAPAD
Senator Karen Montgomery
Senator Susan Lee
Former Delegate Herman Taylor
Former Congressman Kweisi Mfume
9) Please supply links, and contact info.