Candidates:


David Blair (D)

Campaign Website: blairformontgomery.com

Twitter: twitter.com/DavidTBlair

Facebook: facebook.com/david.t.blair.official

Instagram: instagram.com/davidtblair/

Attended AIM Candidate Action?: Yes

Housing, Transportation, and the Environment

Will you work with AIM to make Ride-On permanently free to riders and create dedicated bus lanes for Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)?

Yes, I will work with AIM to make Ride On permanently free. I advocated for free Ride On four years ago. The current County Executive opposes free Ride On and has put fares back in place despite the County’s equity study finding that keeping Ride On free would save residents who rely on transit to get to work, school, and where they need to go from spending as much as 7 percent of their incomes on fares.

Yes, I will work with AIM to create dedicated lanes for Bus Rapid Transit (BRT). In 14 years, this County has built just 14 miles of BRT and most of it is not in dedicated lanes. We can do much better with executive leadership focused on follow-through and results. I propose that we identify sections of our BRT corridors to re-purpose existing travel lanes to dedicated BRT lanes.

Will you work with AIM to encourage high density housing near transit hubs, including bus rapid transit, Metro and the Purple Line through upzoning to allow increased density within a half mile of these hubs? In dispositions of public land near transit hubs, will you commit to prioritizing high-density affordable housing development?

Yes. We have vacant and underutilized space that could be used for affordable housing at Metro stations and future Purple Line stations. I will be a County Executive who says “Yes” to housing and to taking advantage of our transit-oriented County-owned land. Our County-owned parking facilities, recreation centers, libraries, and public safety facilities can be great opportunities for affordable housing.

Will you follow current legal requirements to complete affordable housing studies on public construction projects, and commit to maximizing transparency around the height, affordability, etc. conditions under which developer proposals are solicited?

Yes. Affordable housing projects co-located with public facilities work. We need executive leadership willing and able to work through any hurdles and empower our County agencies to find creative solutions. For instance, the much-praised housing project on top of a fire station in Alexandria, Virginia uses specially-built walls that block out noise from the fire trucks and emergency vehicles leaving the facility. I will bring the effective executive leadership needed to find these creative solutions to create the affordable housing units we urgently need.

Will you work with AIM to stabilize market rate affordable housing in places at risk for significant price increases through strategies such as geographically specific rent stabilization for low-income residents, compensation for tenants whose housing is being redeveloped, and requirements for developers to provide the support necessary for households to resettle in the same community?

Yes – except for rent stabilization, which too often doesn’t preserve affordable rental housing and could make our current affordable housing shortage worse by discouraging the building of the 30,000 additional units we need by 2030. I commit to financing projects with affordable housing builders to compensate tenants whose housing is being rebuilt and ensuring no net loss of affordable units. This has been done successfully at Chevy Chase Lake where the County, Housing Opportunities Commission, and developer EYA were able to provide more income-restricted affordable housing units of a higher quality than existed at that location before.

Will you work with AIM to provide more protection for tenants including: following current legal requirements for frequency of housing inspection every 1-3 years; hiring inspectors bilingual in Spanish and English; requiring landlords to address identified problems quickly and work with tenants’ associations to establish a tenant hotline via 311 (the county’s information line) in Spanish and English?

Yes, I will work with AIM to improve tenant protections. Everyone who works in our County deserve to be able to afford to live in our County and to live in safe, quality, and well-maintained housing. During the pandemic – the time one could argue building inspections were needed most – this County government’s inspections significantly declined, and we’ve seen it struggle to ramp that enforcement back up. This must be a priority for us.

Education and Childcare

Will you commit to work with AIM to increase compensation for teachers and recreation staff within the Excel Beyond the Bell Elementary Program?

Yes. Excel Beyond the Bell is an extraordinary program that more of our kids should have access to – requiring quality teachers and staff.

Will you commit to expanding the Excel Beyond the Bell Elementary Program to four new schools each year, until it is in every Title I Elementary School in Montgomery County?

Yes. We know how valuable after-school programs are to learning, socialization, and so much more for our kids – and every student in our school system should have access.

Will you make pre-K available to more students by: expanding the number of full-day pre-K seats through Head Start, MCPS and Judy Centers; and making the application for subsidies less cumbersome and not contingent on proof of employment?

Yes. Expanding to universal, quality, and full-day pre-K is a huge priority for me, something I’ve advocated for through the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, and a crucial element of my Education plan. We know quality, all-day pre-K is critical to get our kids ready to learn. I admire the work that so many – including AIM, Councilmember Nancy Navarro, and others – have done to advance pre-K and expand it to this point. A County with our resources should be able to provide universal pre-K. To do so, we must make the application and subsidy process less cumbersome for potential providers.

Will you commit to work with AIM to offer Universal Pre-K to all four-year-olds in Montgomery County by 2026?

Yes! See my answer to Education and Childcare Question (3) [above] for more details.

Will you work with AIM to make the state’s 529 plan accessible and nearly automatic for low-income families to sign up for each year as part of their school registration paperwork, and will you commit to working with AIM so that the county matches the state’s contribution to the program?

Yes. We know how expensive college can be and how too many families in our community need support to get their college savings plans started. This is a must for increasing the number of students who can go to college. No one in our County who wants to go to college should be denied the opportunity.

Healthcare, Dental Care, and Mental Health

Over the next 4 years, will you work to create an effective dental care system for the uninsured such that those who need dental care can be seen twice each year without waiting 3 months for an appointment? Will you commit to increasing funds for dental services such that common specialized services such as root canals can be addressed in the safety net and county dental clinics? Will you include funding by 2025 for an emergency medical and dental health crisis fund to county safety net clinics?

Yes. Dental care is a critically important part of healthcare and we should do everything we can as a County to increase access to quality care.

Will you ensure that, with patient permission, nonprofit and county health and dental clinics share patient files and exams when patients are referred from one clinic to another?

Yes. This information sharing is important to physicians, dentists, and medical professionals being able to provide higher quality and more informed care. I’d also look into leveraging technology to make this information sharing easier.

What ideas do you have to increase equitable access to mental health care for young people and how will you work with AIM to explore these ideas?

I want to fully fund the terrific mental health organizations in our community – including Cornerstone Montgomery, The Lourie Center, EveryMind, and others. Too many of our kids are denied immediate access to mental health care because these organizations simply don’t have the resources to provide the capacity to reach them. I also will work with AIM and the school system to improve mental health services in our schools – by exploring whether it’s possible to shift administrative duties of our current school counselors elsewhere so they have more ability to talk to and work with students and by adding social-emotional wellness courses in our schools so every student knows how important mental health is and that they have access to support.

Democracy with Accountability

Do you commit to meeting with AIM within a month of taking office, and on a quarterly basis subsequently?

Yes. One of the things that makes an effective executive leader is collaboration and communication. The best executive leaders know they don’t have all the answers and are willing to listen to those who are addressing these issues every day. I look forward to working with AIM and all of your faith communities to create a better County.


Marc Elrich (D)

Campaign Website: www.marcelrich.org

Twitter: @Marc_Elrich

Facebook: Marc Elrich for County Executive

Instagram: marc.elrich

Attended AIM Candidate Action?: Yes

Housing, Transportation, and the Environment

Will you work with AIM to make Ride-On permanently free to riders and create dedicated bus lanes for Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)?

Yes, I will absolutely work on dedicated bus lanes

I’d prefer fare system based on incomes, that is consistent with WMATA, and WMATA is studying this now. I’d like to maintain as much income as possible from people who can afford it – for example, many riders are subsidized from the federal government – and then subsidize those who need it. If the revenue is gone, I still have to find the money to keep the system running and I don’t want to take from other worthwhile programs.

Will you work with AIM to encourage high density housing near transit hubs, including bus rapid transit, Metro and the Purple Line through upzoning to allow increased density within a half mile of these hubs? In dispositions of public land near transit hubs, will you commit to prioritizing high-density affordable housing development?

Yes, I’ve put 18 county properties up for sale to be used as affordable housing; many are near transit. https://montgomerycountymd.gov/DGS/OPD/AffordableHousing.html

Density in the form of high rise buildings can often work against affordability because the construction higher cost of the units are dramatically higher than medium & low rise buildings. Height does not equate with affordability. Spreading density over more medium rise buildings produces more affordable units. We see this problem in Bethesda where lower income buyers can’t afford condo fees, and in rental housing, the only affordable units are the required MPDU units (not many of them); people earning above the MPDU limit (about $70,000/year) can’t afford the other units because the rents are so high. We also need to preserve existing affordable units near metro; there are 2 current projects planned there that would increase the total # of units but reduce the total #of affordable units.

Will you follow current legal requirements to complete affordable housing studies on public construction projects, and commit to maximizing transparency around the height, affordability, etc. conditions under which developer proposals are solicited?

Yes

Will you work with AIM to stabilize market rate affordable housing in places at risk for significant price increases through strategies such as geographically specific rent stabilization for low-income residents, compensation for tenants whose housing is being redeveloped, and requirements for developers to provide the support necessary for households to resettle in the same community?

Rent stabilization shouldn’t be done by income because it provides an incentive for landlords to get rid of low-income tenants; all units have to be protected, but it could be done geographically. I’d do it by age of building because buildings built before 2005 no longer have affordable units attached to them (or they’re soon expiring.) Many of these are the units where low- and moderate- income families live, and I’d like to ensure their continued existence.

Yes, I support no-net-loss of housing and displacement protection. In fact, I leveraged county owned land at the Halpine Village project to get no-net-loss and a right of return for existing tenants. More details are available here: https://www2.montgomerycountymd.gov/mcgportalapps/Press_Detail.aspx?Item_ID=36668
I will continue to insist on these policies.

Will you work with AIM to provide more protection for tenants including: following current legal requirements for frequency of housing inspection every 1-3 years; hiring inspectors bilingual in Spanish and English; requiring landlords to address identified problems quickly and work with tenants’ associations to establish a tenant hotline via 311 (the county’s information line) in Spanish and English?

Yes

Education and Childcare

Will you commit to work with AIM to increase compensation for teachers and recreation staff within the Excel Beyond the Bell Elementary Program?

Yes, I will continue to do that as well as for other programs.

Will you commit to expanding the Excel Beyond the Bell Elementary Program to four new schools each year, until it is in every Title I Elementary School in Montgomery County?

Yes

Will you make pre-K available to more students by: expanding the number of full-day pre-K seats through Head Start, MCPS and Judy Centers; and making the application for subsidies less cumbersome and not contingent on proof of employment?

Yes. We have already expanded childcare since I’ve become County Executive; we’ve increased the number every year and our goal is to keep expanding more childcare seats. We have also increased training and subsidies for Early Childhood Education. We need to continue to support private providers because there are not enough school slots to accommodate the need, and if private providers don’t have the older children (pre-K), financially they have difficulty providing for the infants and toddlers because the costs are much higher.

Will you commit to work with AIM to offer Universal Pre-K to all four-year-olds in Montgomery County by 2026?

Yes. Please see the question above – I think it should be universal but how to make it all through the public school system may not be the best approach or feasible (at least in the short-term). We’ll work to make sure that the total number of seats between schools and other providers are affordable and address the needs.

Will you work with AIM to make the state’s 529 plan accessible and nearly automatic for low-income families to sign up for each year as part of their school registration paperwork, and will you commit to working with AIM so that the county matches the state’s contribution to the program?

Yes

Healthcare, Dental Care, and Mental Health

Over the next 4 years, will you work to create an effective dental care system for the uninsured such that those who need dental care can be seen twice each year without waiting 3 months for an appointment? Will you commit to increasing funds for dental services such that common specialized services such as root canals can be addressed in the safety net and county dental clinics? Will you include funding by 2025 for an emergency medical and dental health crisis fund to county safety net clinics?

Yes

Will you ensure that, with patient permission, nonprofit and county health and dental clinics share patient files and exams when patients are referred from one clinic to another?

Yes

What ideas do you have to increase equitable access to mental health care for young people and how will you work with AIM to explore these ideas?

I would welcome working with AIM on these ideas; we are providing funding for additional mental health workers in the schools. I am also talking with hospital administrators and other providers to set up community mental health centers, which we used to have but no longer exists. A school based strategy is not be sufficient: many of the youth we are encountering are under 21 but not in school, and not all children, or parents, are comfortable with school based programs.

We also need to train our first responders to identify people in a mental health crisis and we need mental health teams to be a part of these responses. The first of these new units will start operating shortly. In addition, we’ll be opening a Restorative Justice Center so that our police have an alternative to taking people to jail when what they really need is a mental health intervention, for example when having alcohol or drug related problems.

Democracy with Accountability

Do you commit to meeting with AIM within a month of taking office, and on a quarterly basis subsequently?

Yes


Peter James (D)

Campaign Website: http://pjames.us

Twitter: twitter.com/moco4james

Attended AIM Candidate Action?: Yes

Housing, Transportation, and the Environment

Will you work with AIM to make Ride-On permanently free to riders and create dedicated bus lanes for Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)?

I will continue to make Ride Free, if I have the power to do so(ie. Council approval).
I will replace the planned BRT with 100 miles of personal rapid transit.
I will also provide free electric vehicles to all residents. This is done by using the $7500 federal tax credit as a rebate.
I won’t force people that can’t afford cars or gas to be forced to take transportation that doesn’t provide the same access to jobs, healthcare, shopping and entertain the rest of us take for granted.
PRTs work for the entire County – only 4% of the population rides Ride On buses PRT pods can be driven off the guideway onto surface roads
Please read this UMD researchers’ comparative analysis of PRT, BRT and light rail http://71.163.81.136:4000/media/prt.pdf
This explains the benefits of PRT https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s8DOwPyVnCI

Will you work with AIM to encourage high density housing near transit hubs, including bus rapid transit, Metro and the Purple Line through upzoning to allow increased density within a half mile of these hubs? In dispositions of public land near transit hubs, will you commit to prioritizing high-density affordable housing development?

No. This sounds like a developer wrote the questionnaire.
This question assumes that forcing people into cramped living conditions to make developers rich is a good thing.
Studies clearly show smaller living area and crowded households adversely effect mental health and increase crime.
Rather than stack people like cord wood with transportation oriented development, I will provide “people oriented transportation”.
If you asked, most people would rather live in a 1500 square foot home than a 800 square foot apartment that cost the same. The key to providing affordable housing is a transportation system that can get people to where they want to go, quickly and reliably.
Free EVs and personal rapid transit provide such a transportation system and at a far lower cost than BRT, light or heavy rail.
Conventional transit does work for most residents. IMost that ride transit, are forced to, because they can’t afford cars or gas or can’t drive.
Take some time to study my solution.

Will you follow current legal requirements to complete affordable housing studies on public construction projects, and commit to maximizing transparency around the height, affordability, etc. conditions under which developer proposals are solicited?

Yes – I will create transparency with Digital Twin technology. https://www.planning.org/planning/2021/spring/smart-city-digital-twins-are-a-new-tool-for-scenario-planning/

Pike & rose example http://pikerose.pjames.us
Like a Sim City game the digital twin will calculate and display in augmented reality all the impacts on the neighborhood such as increase in traffic, impervious surface, water & sewer, school enrollment, access to all amenities.
Since PRT will the radius of the “15 minute community” five fold our choices for locating affordable housing will be greatly increased. I will apply genetic algorithms to find the most optimal locations for affordable housing around the County. https://tinyurl.com/ytsmmnsy
This will provide more affordable housing without the need of high density development

Will you work with AIM to stabilize market rate affordable housing in places at risk for significant price increases through strategies such as geographically specific rent stabilization for low-income residents, compensation for tenants whose housing is being redeveloped, and requirements for developers to provide the support necessary for households to resettle in the same community?

I have 45 years optimizing operations of businesses, governments and non-profits. I won;t assume the strategies listed above are the best solutions. Much of the housing inflation is from Wall Street investors that got the lion share of Covid stimulus money creation. We can provide institute remedies to make it less attractive to these investors to buy our homes.

I will focus on redirecting subsides to rich landlords and developers to tenants so they can become owners. Home ownership is the single best way to build generational wealth for low income families.

I would support rental stabilization for for low income tenants were landlords had fixed costs and allow rent increases for landlords with rising costs but only if they agree to equity sharing with tenants for any increase in rents. This will create wealth creation for the renter class.

Will you work with AIM to provide more protection for tenants including: following current legal requirements for frequency of housing inspection every 1-3 years; hiring inspectors bilingual in Spanish and English; requiring landlords to address identified problems quickly and work with tenants’ associations to establish a tenant hotline via 311 (the county’s information line) in Spanish and English?

Yes – I am the only Democrat candidate that is a renter. Instead of the 311 hotline, I will develop a multi-lingual mobile app integrated with the digital twin mentioned above that allows renters to self server themselves and directly interface with landlords. I will have an online system were tenants can deposit rent in a trust account, scan images of needed repair work and release the funds to third party repair companies, if the landlord is un-responsive. This will be a force multiplier for inspectors as most inspection can be completed virtually allowing inspector to process many times their current case loads.
This is just one of the examples of how I will apply modern technology to reduce the cost and increase delivery of County services. This would be welcomed by many smaller landlords because it could lower their maintenance costs and.or effort.

Education and Childcare

Will you commit to work with AIM to increase compensation for teachers and recreation staff within the Excel Beyond the Bell Elementary Program?

Yes – Like all similar requests for enhanced programs and services, most candidate will promise AIM and others the moon. AIM should be asking how are the candidates going to get the funds to pay for this and them many other entities requested more funding.
I have been in these forums and heard promises being handed out like candy.
I am the only candidate that can apply technology to greatly reduce the cost of Government. My personal rapid transit(PRT) transportation plan will save the taxpayers billion of dollars by replacing BRT and light rail with PRT.
I have run non-profit First Fruits Farms since 2007 mentoring hundreds of students. Teaching them to design and build renewable energy system, robotics and automation, hydroponics, etc. facebook.com/robogrow
I will multiple the new funding from the state to build makerspaces and greenhouses is every neighborhood. These will provide a platform and facilities for programs like Excel Beyond the Bell.

Will you commit to expanding the Excel Beyond the Bell Elementary Program to four new schools each year, until it is in every Title I Elementary School in Montgomery County?

Yes- Wit the billions on saving from automation and stopping transportation boondoggles. There will be funds to expand the program to all schools in m 4 years in office.

Will you make pre-K available to more students by: expanding the number of full-day pre-K seats through Head Start, MCPS and Judy Centers; and making the application for subsidies less cumbersome and not contingent on proof of employment?

Yes – As state above the billions savings I will bring wit technology will fully fund these programs to provide seats for all kids that need them.

Will you commit to work with AIM to offer Universal Pre-K to all four-year-olds in Montgomery County by 2026?

Yes as above. I also think it is important to provide enrichment programs to all children even young toddlers. The ability to learn language is lost by age 3. The ability for the brain to conceptualize things like quantum physics, string theory can be enhanced by certain experiences at a very young age wile the brain is still elastic.

I used to demonstrate science, magic and technology to the students in my daughter’s kindergarten class, years later, one of the kids that had just graduated from UMD in mechanical engineering said he remembered the day I “blew his mind”. He still remembered how amazed he was that the mobius strip, I had the kids make, only had one side and formed unexpected results when cut in half.

Rather using just rote learning we need to expose kids even earlier tan 3 years old to experiential learning to create certain convolutions in their brains that provide the ability to learn certain concepts. I will provide enrichment programs for daycare centers.

Will you work with AIM to make the state’s 529 plan accessible and nearly automatic for low-income families to sign up for each year as part of their school registration paperwork, and will you commit to working with AIM so that the county matches the state’s contribution to the program?

In general I would support a tax free saving plan for college funding. While I don’t know that the529 plan is the best fit for low income families. It counts as an asset toward grant eligibility. IRAs aren’t. So this could lower the amount of grant funding students could qualify for. Back when my kids were young 530 plans could only be used in state.
Again, without a source of funds to provide the match, I like the other candidates will say sure I work with Aim to make it happen. Bur right now all the other candidates believe bus rapid transit deserves $3 billion in funding and none of the candidates have put forward a plan to reduce the operating costs of government. I believe I am the only candidate that has a clear plan to produce the funding need for this and other programs AIM and other are asking for.

Healthcare, Dental Care, and Mental Health

Over the next 4 years, will you work to create an effective dental care system for the uninsured such that those who need dental care can be seen twice each year without waiting 3 months for an appointment? Will you commit to increasing funds for dental services such that common specialized services such as root canals can be addressed in the safety net and county dental clinics? Will you include funding by 2025 for an emergency medical and dental health crisis fund to county safety net clinics?

Yes – But as I mentioned above, you need to consider how each candidate will pay for their promises. Otherwise, their promises are worthless. Currently, the largest item in the operating budget is debt service, ~$300 million a year. This could easily balloon to $600M/yr with inflation out of control. That together with lower tax revenues as taxpayers feel the pain of inflation and wages that don’t rise as fast, will dry up funds for this program and others.
Currently, the County pays a little over 5 percent on our bonds. This is retail rate, we should be getting the wholesale rate that hedge funds and oter private parties are getting, about half what we pay. One first step is to stop selling our debt to the Wall Street bond houses and run “Dutch Auctions” for our debt. This is the system the US Government uses to get the best prices on the US treasury debt.

Will you ensure that, with patient permission, nonprofit and county health and dental clinics share patient files and exams when patients are referred from one clinic to another?

Yes – I will have the County develop the software system to make this happen. This is an easy one requiring very little funding. Actually, it will reduce operating costs of manually requesting and sending the files.

What ideas do you have to increase equitable access to mental health care for young people and how will you work with AIM to explore these ideas?

I would provide funding for free mental health care to all residents. I will provide this software app free self monitoring mental health app – htp://ginger.io
Many that need help don’t feel comfortable with sharing their problems with a therapist. With a family member with mental health issues it is not always easy to find the right therapist that the patient feel safe and comfortable with.

I will also spend effort tracking down the drivers that cause mental health problems like social media use, large school sizes, lack of after school activities, lack of social inclusion, etc.
Once, we have the problem defined, I will work on solutions each driver.

An ex-facebook employee told news media that facebook can make people happy or sad in five minutes. I will go to court and put a stop to get facebook to stop this.

We need training for parents, students, teachers to spot early warnings signs and get help to students in need.

Democracy with Accountability

Do you commit to meeting with AIM within a month of taking office, and on a quarterly basis subsequently?

Yes – I will assign a staffer to be in continuous contact with Aim and I will enlist Aim in implementing these programs.

I will implement a digital twin of the County that will provide an augmented reality view of all the County’s processes in real time. Citizens will have real access to all government activities and direct input into management of the County. The digital twin will provide in 3D all proposed development, transportation, public works projects and details of the costs and all impacts on your neighborhood.

I will develop a system of dispersing funds equally to neighborhoods, where citizens will vote on use of funds using their neighborhood digital twin. Such as how much to spend on police and fire, parks, community centers, ball fields, health clinics, etc.

Switzerland and California have such a distributed control of tax money and they work quite well meeting the specific desired needs of each community.


Hans Riemer (D)

Campaign Website: HansRiemer.com

Twitter: @hansriemer

Attended AIM Candidate Action?: Yes

Housing, Transportation, and the Environment

Will you work with AIM to make Ride-On permanently free to riders and create dedicated bus lanes for Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)?

Today fares are free for seniors and people with disabilities because I took the lead with my colleagues, who agreed to my proposal to eliminate fares for those riders. In previous years I supported efforts to make “kids ride free” permanent. I recommend next focusing on making fares free for low-income riders. Our end goal should be free fares for all, while working along the way to find the appropriate balance between resources devoted to fare reduction and service levels.

Will you work with AIM to encourage high density housing near transit hubs, including bus rapid transit, Metro and the Purple Line through upzoning to allow increased density within a half mile of these hubs? In dispositions of public land near transit hubs, will you commit to prioritizing high-density affordable housing development?

Yes, absolutely. While our County Executive has been leading the opposition to more housing near transit hubs, I have been our Council’s leading champion and as County Executive I’ll continue to lead on this important issue. County property is an important part of the discussion. I recently led the effort with Councilmember Jawando to require affordable housing on the Chevy Chase library site, even though the Executive had not recommended it.

Will you follow current legal requirements to complete affordable housing studies on public construction projects, and commit to maximizing transparency around the height, affordability, etc. conditions under which developer proposals are solicited?

Yes, absolutely.

Will you work with AIM to stabilize market rate affordable housing in places at risk for significant price increases through strategies such as geographically specific rent stabilization for low-income residents, compensation for tenants whose housing is being redeveloped, and requirements for developers to provide the support necessary for households to resettle in the same community?

I support stabilization through non-profit ownership of housing rather than rent control on privately owned housing. That is why I am pushing so hard to create a $100 million fund to help nonprofits buy housing in the Purple Line corridor: we have a concrete goal developed with community groups there to get control over 6,000 more housing units, and we can achieve that goal with appropriate finances from the County. I am committed to that plan and I am already making progress towards it now.

Will you work with AIM to provide more protection for tenants including: following current legal requirements for frequency of housing inspection every 1-3 years; hiring inspectors bilingual in Spanish and English; requiring landlords to address identified problems quickly and work with tenants’ associations to establish a tenant hotline via 311 (the county’s information line) in Spanish and English?

Yes. I have been a strong supporter of tenant rights and protections, consistent inspections and effective oversight by the County to ensure housing quality. I’ll continue those efforts as County Executive because our renters need a County government that prioritizes housing quality.

Education and Childcare

Will you commit to work with AIM to increase compensation for teachers and recreation staff within the Excel Beyond the Bell Elementary Program?

Yes, that will help recruit more staff to the program.

Will you commit to expanding the Excel Beyond the Bell Elementary Program to four new schools each year, until it is in every Title I Elementary School in Montgomery County?

As you know, I have been the strongest champion at the County Council for expanding EBB schools every year in the County budget. Working together with AIM, we have consistently added about four schools per year, usually at least 2 in addition to the recommended expansion in the County Executive’s budget. As County Executive, I’ll continue expanding EBB and afterschool programming until we have universal affordable high quality care for all families and students.

Will you make pre-K available to more students by: expanding the number of full-day pre-K seats through Head Start, MCPS and Judy Centers; and making the application for subsidies less cumbersome and not contingent on proof of employment?

Yes. In 2016 I took the lead to make Head Start a full day program because part-day programs are not adequate for most families. That initiative, along with the $2.5 million we added to child care subsidies at my request, was the first major expansion of pre-k in many years and created the momentum for subsequent County action. As County Executive I’ll continue these expansions.

Will you commit to work with AIM to offer Universal Pre-K to all four-year-olds in Montgomery County by 2026?

Yes, I support that strategy and will work with AIM and private providers to find a path forward that works.

Will you work with AIM to make the state’s 529 plan accessible and nearly automatic for low-income families to sign up for each year as part of their school registration paperwork, and will you commit to working with AIM so that the county matches the state’s contribution to the program?

That is an interesting idea that I am open to discussing and I applaud your creative thinking. I tend to prioritize public investment in Montgomery College and USG ahead of 529s for schools in other parts of the Country, but it’s worth exploring how that could work. Let’s figure it out.

Healthcare, Dental Care, and Mental Health

Over the next 4 years, will you work to create an effective dental care system for the uninsured such that those who need dental care can be seen twice each year without waiting 3 months for an appointment? Will you commit to increasing funds for dental services such that common specialized services such as root canals can be addressed in the safety net and county dental clinics? Will you include funding by 2025 for an emergency medical and dental health crisis fund to county safety net clinics?

Yes, I have supported expanding medical and dental services in our community clinics and as County Executive I’ll continue to do that.

Will you ensure that, with patient permission, nonprofit and county health and dental clinics share patient files and exams when patients are referred from one clinic to another?

Yes

What ideas do you have to increase equitable access to mental health care for young people and how will you work with AIM to explore these ideas?

We need more nonprofit partners who we can partner with to provide services as well as integrating access to those services in new opportunities for youth sports, afterschool programs, arts, and more. I have been leading an initiative at the council to expand youth sports and I have strongly supported new positions in the schools for therapy, social work, counseling, and more. We must continue to build these efforts because our children are struggling today with growing up in an incredibly stressful environment. Many social skills were lost or not developed during COVID. We also need an executive who is committed to keeping our schools safely open. We have not had that and it has contributed to the problem.

Democracy with Accountability

Do you commit to meeting with AIM within a month of taking office, and on a quarterly basis subsequently?

Yes, gladly.


Shelly Skolnick (R)

Attended AIM Candidate Action?: Yes

No response


Reardon Sullivan (R)

No response