After winning the election, incoming Democratic Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich (D) said, “I want to thank people for the depth of support that I received in the election. My priorities have been 1) focus on expanding access to early childhood education and closing the achievement gap, 2) developing BRT (Bus Rapid Transit), focusing on economic growth with business incubators, small business assistance, reviewing the regulatory environment, including code requirements, and bringing the county in line with other jurisdictions, 3) right-sizing government by focusing on becoming more efficient in how we work to deliver services, and 4) I won’t be sending over a budget that requires a tax increase.”
Since winning the election, Elrich has been busy reaching out to residents throughout the county to hear their concerns and held five public listening sessions. Elrich also demonstrated his intention of being inclusive by naming a nearly 200-member transition team.
In addition, Elrich tapped Andrew Kleine as the head of the transition team and to be his future chief administrative officer. Elrich also nominated Maryland State Senator Richard Madaleno to be his budget director. Madaleno ran for governor and lost to Ben Jealous in the Democratic Party primary election. Both Kleine, who was former Baltimore City budget director, and Madaleno will need council approval for their positions.
At five public listening sessions, residents and community stakeholders expressed concerns and priorities.
Gino Renne, president of United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1994, said, “In my 41 years of experience, Marc Elrich has been the most inclusive elected county executive, in terms of reaching out to the community at large, than anyone in the past.”
Seven working groups were established within the Transition Team: Thriving Youth and Families, A Growing Economy, A Greener County, Easier Commutes, A More Affordable and Welcoming County, Safe Neighborhoods and Effective Sustainable Government.
Former councilmember George Leventhal (D), who opposed Marc Elrich in the Democratic county executive primary election, was added to the “A More Affordable and Welcoming County” committee. Leventhal said, “I am pleased for the opportunity to add my policy ideas on child care, affordable housing and food insecurity, all areas that are important to me.” When asked about his future, Leventhal said, “After four terms in office, I am looking forward to a job in the private sector and privacy on weekends.”
Michael Sesma, City of Gaithersburg councilmember, said, “Most of the council was invited to participate in the transition activities: myself, Neil Harris, Laurie-Anne Sayles, Jud Ashman and Ryan Spiegel. I think the County Exec elect has adopted a transparent and innovative approach to engage the public to develop strategic priorities for dealing with numerous challenges facing the county executive and county government going forward. Those invited to participate represent local elected officials, citizens active with non-profits and public advocacy, faith community leaders, non-profit leaders, business owners, members of the development community, private citizen activists, community organizers, etc. This is really an information and idea gathering effort with a big picture perspective on affordability, housing, services, infrastructure, economic development, etc.”