Sidney Katz (incumbent)

Where you live: Gaithersburg

Date of birth: March 24, 1950

Current occupation and employer (may also list up to two other jobs you’ve held); if retired, list your last job and employer: Montgomery County Council member for District 3

Political experience (public offices held and when, as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years): Member of Gaithersburg City Council, 1978-1998. Mayor of Gaithersburg, 1998-2014. Montgomery County Council member, 2014-present.

Campaign information:

1 – What experience (work, political or other) has prepared you to hold this office? (100 words max)

My background is one of continued community service. Over 40 years ago, a Vice Principal of Gaithersburg High School suggested that I start to come to City of Gaithersburg meetings and get involved in the community. I did just what he suggested and was subsequently appointed to the Gaithersburg Planning Commission. I served on the City Council and as Mayor until I was elected to the Montgomery County Council in 2014. During my service to the City of Gaithersburg, I was also the owner of Wolfson’s Department Store, a small retail store started by my grandparents in 1918.

2 – What is the most important issue in this race and what specific plans do you have to address it? (100 words max)

Education remains my top priority. I’ve been — and will continue to be — a champion for Montgomery County Public Schools. I am a proud graduate of MCPS and we need to continue to ensure that MCPS has the necessary resources to provide a quality education for all of our children. We need to provide children with an education that starts in pre-K, and ends in college and career. I support universal pre-K. We also need to increase our career education opportunities. I’ve been working with many stakeholders to see how we can further that goal.

3 – What is one major issue the current County Council has handled poorly and what would you have done differently? (100 words max)

The one issue that has been handled poorly is the issue of where to relocate the County’s school buses from the site on Crabbs Branch Parkway. The buses need to be moved. The County and the school system have been discussing this for many, many years, but have yet to come up with a viable solution. I believe that the approach that is now being taken as a systemic approach is the correct one while keeping in mind the proper place needs to be located without causing environmental problems and disruption to neighborhoods.

4 – What measures do you advocate to address what is often referred to as the “achievement gap” in the Montgomery County Public Schools? (100 words max)

As Councilmember, I have been a strong advocate for additional school funding. We need to provide kids with an education that starts in pre-K, and ends in college and career. An important component of the performance gap in Montgomery County is the lack of universal pre-K. I support universal pre-K, and the Council is currently considering proposals for how we fund that. We also need to increase our career education opportunities, and I have been bringing together stakeholders to see how we can accomplish what we need to be doing to further the goal of career education.

5 – Do you support Gov. Hogan’s plan to ease traffic congestion by widening I-495 and I-270, including the installation of toll lanes? (100 words max)

In the past couple of months, I have received numerous letters and emails from constituents who are concerned about the Governor’s plan to widen I-270 and I-495 and how their properties and communities will be affected. I share these concerns. The widening of I-270 and I-495 is determined by the State of Maryland. I have been to several workshops and public meetings hosted by the State Highway Administration (SHA), but SHA has not given any indication as to how they plan to proceed. My staff and I will continue to monitor the I-270 and I-495 Maryland State Highway project.