State Assembly Delegate, District 20 – Darian Unger


Darian Unger.

1) Tell us about yourself.

I am our community’s experienced and environmental candidate. My wife and I have kids, and we want them to grow up in a diverse, vibrant community and to inherit a planet that is not in crisis.

The Sierra Club and League of Conservation Voters both endorsed me because of my years of successful work on green space, thoughtful growth, and developing renewable energy technologies. I am also

• an MIT-trained environmental engineer and a professor at Howard University.
• a volunteer firefighter and EMT who has responded to 911 emergencies in our neighborhood for ten years.
• a longtime progressive activist, community advocate, and effective civic leader with a solid track record in the Washington Post, Gazette, WTOP, and the Voice.
• the only candidate with kids in our pubic schools.

2) What do you hope to accomplish in office?

• We can make our state a model for clean air, clean water, and battling climate change.
With Congress stuck in a rut, our best path for a substantive environmental impact is on the Maryland state level. We can accomplish this by raising our level of renewable energy. Just as Massachusetts led the way on healthcare and created a state model for Obamacare, Maryland can lead the way on sustainable development.

• We can make Maryland a fairer place to live.
Let’s address affordable housing, the achievement gap in education, and income inequality. Specifically, I would support the Purple Line while ensuring local residents are not priced out of their homes. I would champion universal pre-K to help working families, and I would reduce regressive taxation.

3) What would you say your biggest accomplishment has been so far. What does that say about your priorities as delegate?

I am a father and a husband, and raising our kids has been my greatest accomplishment, which I happily share with my wife, Jill.

My more public accomplishments include:

• Completing my Ph.D. from MIT and working on both technological and policy solutions to global warming.
• Becoming an award-winning, tenured professor at Howard University.
• Serving for over a decade as volunteer firefighter and EMT, where I can help people in times of need and make a real difference in people’s lives.
• Representing my community on several community boards and committees – and being elected by fellow activists to lead them.
• Being a whistleblower and calling attention to the safety and schedule problems in the Silver Spring Transit Center
• Forcing the Department of Transportation to make safety improvements in our community

4) Many of you have fought for political causes outside of the assembly. What could you accomplish as a delegate that you couldn’t accomplish as an advocate?

Here is one practical example:
As a local firefighter and EMT, I have responded to too many 911 calls for car accidents and struck pedestrians. As a civic leader and neighbor, I don’t want to respond to emergencies; I want to prevent them.

I have long been a thorn in the side of the Department of Transportation, demanding improvements to real but solvable problems. I want safer streets, not wider roads. But the state bureaucracy is often unresponsive to community and safety needs.

That will change if I am elected. Real oversight from representative who understands our neighborhood and cares about street safety will help tremendously.

I have also long fought for affordable housing, clean air, clean water, living wages, public transportation, and equal opportunity – all of which can be accomplished with strong representation.

5) What distinguishes you from the other candidates?

In a field of thoughtful, progressive candidates,

1) I am the only candidate with the experience to be endorsed by the Washington Post, the Gazette, the Sierra Club, and the League of Conservation Voters.

2) I am the only candidate with a decade of service to our community (community president, civil rights groups, volunteer firefighter serving our neighborhood).

3) I am the only candidate with kids in our public schools.

Everyone talks about improving education, but my wife and I actually understand the issues firsthand. We had to worry about large class sizes and search for affordable pre-K. We understand.

4) I am the only candidate with a scientific background.

My plan will make Maryland a model of sound environmental policy. I am an experienced environmental engineer and climate change activist.

6) What is the top issue (or one of the top issues) facing the District and how do you propose to deal with it?

Air pollution can be reduced with renewable energy incentives and pricing carbon.
Polluted water in Sligo Creek can be corrected with better zoning and enforcement.
Affordable housing can be preserved with key requirements for MPDUs in development zones.
Equal opportunity and the achievement gap can be addressed with greater funding for universal pre-K and requirements that education funding be appropriated based on local income levels.
Regressive taxation – we can correct this by revising the tax code to reduce regressive property taxation, eliminate key corporate tax loopholes, and requiring combined reporting.

7) What are the top issues facing the Assembly and how do you propose to deal with them?

Please see the answers above.

8) Please list endorsements:

• The Washington Post
• The Gazette (Darian Unger was the top endorsement of all nine candidates)
• The Sierra Club
• The League of Conservation Voters
• Progressive Neighbors
• The Montgomery County Volunteer Fire Rescue Association

9) Please supply links, and contact info.

Phone: 301-741-5634


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