and the infrastructure promised in the
plan does not get funded; it’s not the planning department’s job to fund it; that’s the
county’s. And I would try very hard to
get some of that provided. So I do think
there’s a reason that people feel they’ve
been sold a bill of goods.
Over the next decade, what do you
feel are the major challenges facing
One of the reasons I got into this race is
that I really felt that the demographics
of this county have changed so tremendously and that we talk a good game, but
we don’t live it. We say that we welcome
the changing Montgomery County, but
the fact of the matter is that we continue
to perhaps favor certain ZIP codes with
some of our policies. As a result, I don’t
think the quality of life [in some commu-nities] is the same as others, and I would
really like to put in programs that would
make it more equal.
It has a lot to do with the fact that I
grew up in Memphis, Tennessee. It was
not a well-to-do city, and it was a very
segregated city. I worked very hard [in
several campaigns while attending high
school] to make sure that the African-American community in Memphis
was able to get the same education, the
same services as others were. ;at really
shaped a lot of who I am, and I see some
of the same problems in 2018 that I saw
in the late ’50s and early ’60s.
Notwithstanding your experience, are
there areas where you feel you’ll face
a learning curve if elected?
One of the things I hadn’t quite real-
What needs to be done to grow the
ized until I got on the campaign trail
is that while the school budget is such
a large part of the county budget, [and]
because there is an elected school board,
the county executive does not really get
to decide how that money is spent. For
me, it’s really figuring out [if there are]
programs that we currently support in
the schools that either aren’t producing
what they should be for what they cost,
or are there ways to re-prioritize? And
I think if we reach out [to the superin-
tendent and school board] and really sit
down and talk, maybe there are some
things we can change.
county’s tax base to fund the needs
One of the first things is to simply make
the business community feel like they’re
appreciated here. I’ve talked to several
well-known developers and consulting
firms and others who really say they’re
ready to throw in the towel. It was obviously great to be on the short list for
Amazon, because it does point out that
we really have a lot of things going for us.
So why are we viewed so negatively? I do
think that the business community would
like to feel a little better appreciated.
Had you been on the county council
in 2016, would you have been part
of the unanimous vote that was
required under the county charter to
raise property taxes by an average of
almost 9 percent?
I don’t think we had to have that big a tax
increase. And I think I would have been
very hesitant to approve the increase.
[County Executive] Ike [Leggett] originally proposed a bigger tax increase based
on the Wynne decision [which mandated
refunds to county residents who paid
local income taxes elsewhere]. And then,
when he was able to push it further out,
he told the council that he didn’t need that
big a tax increase. …I’ve been a politician
before, and I know the pressure they were
under to please various constituencies. …I
do feel their pain. And that’s why we have
to expand the tax base or we are going to
feel more pain going forward.
You’re on record as backing Ike
Leggett’s decision last year to veto
the first version of the $15 minimum
wage. Would you have signed the
second version of the bill, as he did?
I probably would have. It did spread it
In addition to Gov. Hogan’s proposed
out over a longer period of time, [and]
given the number of people who really
felt this was something that would help
them, it would have been very hard to
look them in the eye and say no. I don’t
know how anybody lives in this county
on minimum wage; it’s not that I don’t
feel their pain. But if it’s going to make
McDonald’s go to robotic flippers, that
doesn’t help anyone have a higher stan-
dard of life. It just takes away jobs.
widening of I- 270, what other steps
need to be considered to deal with
transportation in the county?
I would love to do more to extend
some mass transit options outside of
the county line, and all the way up to
Frederick. …I have said publicly, and it’s
certainly not where the planning department is, that I’m not sure we shouldn’t
build M- 83, the continuation of the Mid-county Highway, because we based our
growth on it, and we haven’t provided
it. [Editor’s note: ;e proposed highway
would run for 8. 7 miles between Clarksburg and Derwood; so far, only a 3-mile
segment has been constructed.]
I’m not sure [bus rapid transit] is
the way we should be going right now.
Maybe on Route 29, where we’ve got
the pilot project, because there’s so little
transportation there and we’re getting so
much tra;c. If we’re really going to be
going to more of a vehicle-on-demand
sort of system, the problem with BRT is
that you have to get to it. I live a mile and
a half from the Rockville Metro station,
and it’s still di;cult for me to get there.
But if I could just have a little vehicle that
could come pick me up at my door, that’s
a whole di;erent thing.
Did you vote in favor of the 2016
I voted for it because I did indeed feel this
county is going in the wrong direction. I
used to be adamantly opposed to term
limits…but I have to say as a woman, when
it’s so hard for women to get elected in general, we need to open up the process. I am
surprised that three term-limited councilmembers are running for this job. To me,
what they were basically being told is: ‘ You
have tried hard, but you haven’t gotten the
job done that needed to get done.’ One of
the reasons I got into this race was that it
said to me that people are looking for a
new way of doing things.