Tom Hucker (incumbent)

Where you live: Silver Spring

Date of birth: April 9, 1967

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. Previously: founder, Progressive Maryland.

Political experience (public offices held and when, as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years): State delegate, District 20. Elected 2006; re-elected 2010. Montgomery County Council, District 5, 2014-present. 

Campaign information:

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

My entire career has focused on making government more responsive and effective — first as a community organizer and environmental advocate and then as founder of Progressive Maryland. I served as a state legislator for eight years, and then I ran for the County Council because our neighborhoods need a strong, consistent advocate. During the last four years, I have successfully fought to shrink class size, strengthen our transportation network, and protect our environment. I have successfully helped secure new school additions, transit upgrades, and funding for neglected services like street repaving. There is no better experience for this job.

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

One of the most important issues to me is addressing the academic achievement gap. I was proud as a member of the current Council to help make an important down payment to lower school class sizes and invest in programs aimed at reducing the gap. Continuing this progress requires expansion of high quality pre-K programs, and a combined effort from MCPS, parents, the County Council and the Board of Education. I will champion investments aimed at individual student growth because that is the key to continuing Montgomery County’s standard of school excellence.

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

One issue I believe the County Council handled poorly was Expedited Bill 24-15. This legislation lowered the minimum wage for Montgomery County’s more than 35,000 tipped workers — hardworking individuals who serve our food, mix our drinks, polish our fingernails, style our hair and carry our luggage. These workers are disproportionately women and disproportionately immigrant. They are some of our most vulnerable — and like all workers, they deserve honest pay for honest work.

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

The achievement gap has been too wide for for too long, and it must become a top priority. In 2016, I strongly advocated and voted for the significant investment of new revenue specifically to address the achievement gap and shrink class size. I supported the school board’s recent action to consider diversity when making boundary changes. I support high-quality pre-K for all to ensure every child is ready to succeed, screening of all students for accelerated instruction, stronger supports for our teaching staff (particularly first-year teachers), expansion of immersion and other language programs, and culturally-competent outreach and support for parents.

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)

No. Reducing traffic congestion is a goal that I share, but the Governor’s proposal threatens to destroy the homes and businesses of my constituents near the Beltway. Additionally, his plan to add express toll lanes will not benefit most motorists most of the time, as express toll lanes require that a majority of motorists remain mired in traffic congestion in the non-tolled lanes for the business model to succeed. A more holistic approach is needed that involves transportation demand management, improved transit, and less impactful capacity enhancements such as ramp metering, and extended merge lanes where appropriate.