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Democrat

David Blair

Where you live: Potomac

Date of birth: Aug. 20, 1969

Current occupation and employer:
Founder and Chair of the Council of Advocacy and Policy Solutions (CAPS)

Political experience:
I ran for County Executive in 2018 and came up 77 votes short.

Website: https://blairformontgomery.com
Email: info@blairformontgomery.com
Facebook: facebook.com/david.t.blair.official
Twitter: twitter.com/DavidTBlair
Instagram: instagram.com/davidtblair

Why are you running for this office?
Montgomery County can and should be doing better. We’re an incredibly talented community with the financial resources to lead the region in education, jobs, fighting climate change, and social programs. I’m running to bring fresh perspective and executive leadership experience to think big and move our County forward. My wife and I are raising our family here. I was blessed to grow up here and I’m committed to ensuring future generations have the same opportunities.

What is the most important issue in this race and what specific plans do you have to address it?
The loss of good-paying jobs from Montgomery County impacts everything we do. Over the last 10 years, Montgomery County has lost $5.2 billion in net income tax revenue, according to IRS data. This is revenue we need to pay for services to support our residents, school teachers and classrooms, transportation infrastructure, and public safety. I’ll change the culture of Montgomery County Government to work with businesses instead of putting hurdles in their way, harness our county’s natural entrepreneurial spirit by providing capital to growing small businesses, and increase the amount of County spending being done with local small businesses.

What is one major issue that has been handled poorly and what would you have done differently?
Public safety. I lose all energy when I hear the current county executive blame national trends for the rapid increase in violent and serious crime we’ve seen in Montgomery County. The same can be said for the increase in school violence once the County Executive removed School Resource Officers with no suitable replacement program and without delivering promised additional resources for mental health needs. I’m going to support full funding for our police department while working to improve policing. We can do both, and must because all residents in our County deserve to be respected and safe.

What experience (work, political or other) has prepared you to hold this office?
Over the past decade, I’ve been deeply involved in our community – working with nonprofit organizations to address the challenges facing Montgomery County. My efforts include improving our schools, addressing food insecurity, fostering a healthy business environment, and fighting for a fairer tax structure. Through this lens, I’ve seen that Montgomery County can do better.

Previously, I built a business in Rockville into a Fortune 500 company with a $6 billion budget – similar to the size of our County’s budget. Executive leadership requires setting a bold vision, recruiting top talent, removing obstacles, and empowering a team to get the job done.


Marc Elrich

Where you live: Takoma Park

Date of birth: Nov. 2, 1949

Current occupation and employer:
Montgomery County Executive (2018 – Present)
Montgomery County Council Member At Large (2006 – 2018)
Takoma Park City Council Member (1987 – 2006)

Political experience:
Montgomery County Executive (2018 – Present)
Montgomery County Council Member At Large (2006 – 2018)
Takoma Park City Council Member (1987 – 2006)

Website: https://www.marcelrich.org
Email: info@marcelrich.org
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/marcelrich4CE
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Marc_Elrich
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/marc.elrich

Why are you running for this office?
I am running to continue the work we’ve begun. I’m proud that during the pandemic we were one of the safest counties in the country and at the same time, we’ve maintained our AAA bond rating, funded 10% reserves for the first time, and begun the work to green the economy, implemented a local business preference in purchasing, expanded early childhood education and fully funded our schools.

What is the most important issue in this race and what specific plans do you have to address it?
We need equity in education, housing, public health and in addressing climate change. We’ll address it by continuing to fully funding our schools including early childhood education, focusing on increasing affordable housing that serves a broader range of incomes than our current MPDU policy, which only serves a small portion of households that need it, continuing our work with our nonprofit partners to deliver services to our most vulnerable, improving workforce training to help people gain the skills they need to get higher paid jobs and bring intentional economic development that builds on our strengths and broadens our tax base.

What is one criticism you have received while in office and what is your response?
I was criticized repeatedly for not allowing our businesses, recreation facilities, and organizations to open up when they wanted to open. I supported the advice from our public health experts because we recognized that the more doors we opened for people, we would end up opening more doors for COVID to spread in the community. We focused on keeping people safe and minimizing the death toll. The fact that we had some of the best health outcomes in country validated that decision. I withstood the criticism and stuck with an approach that put your health first.

What experience (work, political or other) has prepared you to hold this office?
I know this county and have a broad range of experience. I’ve served as county executive since December 2018, as an at-large council member for 12 years, and a Takoma Park council member for 19 years. I taught for 17 years in one of the highest poverty schools in the county. I managed businesses and helped start businesses, so I understand meeting payroll and paying bills. I’m a problem solver, and I have a long history of working with the community and listening to residents – I understand that creating change requires working with the people who will be affected by it.


Peter James 

Where you live: Gaithersburg

Date of birth: June 17, 1955

Current occupation and employer:
General Manager – Crystal Clear Automation, LLC – R&D company
Founder – First Fruits Farms – No profit developing open source urban farming robotics, AI, renewable energy and automation. Mentoring over 100 students.
VP Marketing and Product Development – DPEX

Political experience:
No public offices held
2008 Maryland 4th Congressional District: won primary, lost special and general elections
2012 Maryland 6th Congressional: lost primary
2021 Maryland 6th Congressional: failed to obtain ballot signatures as unaffiliated voters

Website: http://pjames.us
Email: peter@pjames.us
Twitter: @moco4james

Why are you running for this office?
I have technology solutions for all our major problems, including traffic congestion and safety, climate change, affordable housing and the economy. Montgomery County has the nation’s second worst traffic congestion, a terrible business climate, horrible customer service, and antiquated business processes. My opponents are not technically qualified to fix any of our problems. I want to turn our county into the best place to live in the world.

What is the most important issue in this race and what specific plans do you have to address it?
We need to bring the county out of the dark ages. Let’s begin by automating government operations, which will reduce costs by 20 percent ~$660 million per year.

I’ll replace the “God Awful” 311 system with more efficient and less expensive online and mobile app access to county departments and services.

We must stop spending billions on obsolete systems like Bus Rapid Transit. Automated transportation can dramatically reduce traffic congestion, giving commuters more time to spend at home or work.

We can reduce county taxes and expand services with the money we save on canceled transit boondoggles.

What is one major issue that has been handled poorly and what would you have done differently?
Spending $12 billion on light rail and BRT is a huge mistake. Autonomous technology will soon make these systems obsolete; $12 billion is three years of tax revenues.

Managed lanes and transit won’t fix the county’s horrendous traffic congestion. For instance, the MD355 BRT study projects it will slow rush hour traffic by 13 percent.

County transit doesn’t work for most residents, especially those that live upcounty. I support Personal Rapid Transit, a system that uses electric-powered one- and two-passenger vehicles.

My opponents have ignored alarming pedestrian crash statistics for BRT/LRT. PRT systems have never crashed.

PRT is the way to go.

What experience (work, political or other) has prepared you to hold this office?
My experience in IT transportation, smart city, biotech, health care, finance, macroeconomics, manufacturing, fleet management, government operations, procurement, customer service, agriculture and telecom make me uniquely qualified to bring our county into the 21st century.

When Atari founder Nolan Bushel asked for a “Wizard”, I got the call. When Litton couldn’t complete an $80 million system for the Saudi Air Force, they called me. And Intel hired me when they needed to design and develop a cost evaluation system to maintain their high growth rate.

I am currently on contract with UMD researching smart crosswalk technologies for pedestrian safety.


Hans Riemer 

Where you live: Takoma Park

Date of birth: Sept. 5, 1972

Current occupation and employer:

Current: Montgomery County Council member, At-Large

Former job: Senior adviser, AARP

Former job: National Youth Vote Director, Barack Obama for President

Political experience:

Montgomery County Council member, At-large, since 2010

Website: https://hansriemer.com

Email: info@hansriemer.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HansRiemer4

Twitter: @hansriemer

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hansriemer/?hl=en

Why are you running for this office?

I am running for county executive because Montgomery County needs progressive leadership that is effective and forward thinking. As a Democrat, I believe passionately in creating affordable housing, improving schools, and tackling climate. Marc Elrich however kept bars open when schools were closed, opposed allowing farmers to install solar, and opposed Accessory Dwelling Units, to choose a few examples. We can do better. For the past 12 years I have served as your county-wide council member, providing me with deep experience and relationships with all of our communities. As your executive, I will have the vision and know-how to deliver on progressive change.

What is the most important issue in this race and what specific plans do you have to address it?

We have a housing shortage in Montgomery County! Our community is becoming less affordable. I want all of our kids and grandparents to have the option to live here.

That’s why for 12 years on the council I have championed affordable housing, leading the council to add $100 million for affordable housing production and legalize Accessory Dwelling Units, for example.

Elrich, however, has been fighting against new housing. He opposed the regional housing plan to add 40,000 new units here. He voted against housing near the Purple Line and the Red Line. He opposed Accessory Dwelling Units (basement apartments and backyard cottages). He vetoed legislation to reduce taxes on new housing. He even cut down payment assistance funding for working families.

As county executive, I’ll focus future growth in our major transportation corridors to increase affordable housing, providing urban amenities while preserving the suburban and rural lifestyles our residents enjoy.

What is one major issue that has been handled poorly and what would you have done differently?

Montgomery County as a community has been very successful in managing COVID, and what else should we expect from the home of NIH and FDA. But at the county level there are shortcomings. When the vaccination campaign began, most residents had to leave the county to get vaccinated because the county exec could not deliver a state clinic. I will have a better relationship with the governor. As a parent, I was appalled to see our schools closed while bars were open; I voted against that and I will ensure our kids are safely in school in person. When I proposed legislation requiring county employees to get vaccinated and the police union opposed it, Elrich blocked it. These are some of the examples of things that should have been handled far more smoothly but due to Marc Elrich’s political approach, were not handled well.

What experience (work, political or other) has prepared you to hold this office?

This county deserves leadership that gets it. It’s not just about executive or political experience – even though I have both. I founded a nonprofit organization, ran successful national campaigns to defend Social Security from privatization, served as Barack Obama’s youth director, and have served as a county-wide council member for 12 years.

We need leadership that shares the experience of trying to raise kids here during COVID, that wonders how grandparents can afford living here, that worries about whether there will be enough jobs and housing to provide a future for the middle class, that worries both about keeping us safe from crime and also respected by police. Leadership that has been on the ground level in every community working to make a difference and that knows the nuances and challenges our whole county is facing – so that we can make Montgomery County work for all of us, not just some of us.

That’s the experience that I bring to this job.


Republican

Shelly Skolnick

Where you live: Chevy Chase

Date of birth: May 6, 1943

Current occupation and employer:
Attorney
Skolnick Law Firm, P.C.

Political experience:
2020 – unsuccessful candidate for U.S. House of Representatives, 8th Congressional District

2018 – unsuccessful candidate for Montgomery County Council At-Large

Email: shelly.skolnick@starpower.net

Why are you running for this office?
I believe the Montgomery County government needs moderate elected officials to counter the extreme (and unaffordable) policies of the incumbent county executive and County Council. As a moderate, I will seek to tax fairly, spend wisely and encourage strong oversight by the County Council.

What is the most important issue in this race and what specific plans do you have to address it?
In view of the high inflation, the cost of the Montgomery County government should be reduced by increasing efficiency and paying down debt. I propose free tuition at Montgomery College for students who perform volunteer services in the county government and public schools. The proposed $6.3 billion budget would be reduced to $6 billion in expenses, but revenue would be sought at $6.3 billion. Thus, there would be a $300 million reduction in the county’s debt.

What is one major issue that has been handled poorly and what would you have done differently?
Traffic congestion is worse; due in part to ineffective and wasteful policies and programs of the incumbent county executive and County Council. I am proposing a Bus Lane Toll (BLT) traffic system (at no cost to taxpayers) traffic system rather than the very expensive Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system. Under BLT, the left lane of a three- or four-lane road would have a variable toll during rush hours for cars and buses. Also, I will seek reform of Metro to limit it to Metrorail and transfer all other assets to the counties and D.C.

What experience (work, political or other) has prepared you to hold this office?
In my legal career, I have been employed by several large corporations including IBM and NCR. I worked with and observed how executives successfully manage large organizations. Also, as the owner of a small business for more than 20 years, I understand the costs imposed by governments on a small business. My private sector experience will guide me to lead and direct the county government to help the private businesses and non-profit organizations in Montgomery County.


Reardon Sullivan

Where you live: Gaithersburg

Date of birth: Nov. 12, 1959

Current occupation and employer:
Founder, owner, and CEO – WFT Engineering, a consulting engineering firm in Rockville, for 26 years. Chairman of the Montgomery County Republican Central Committee (MCGOP)

Political experience:
Chair of the Montgomery County Republican Central Committee (MCGOP) – Current. Selected to serve on the Maryland Republican Party Executive Committee (MDGOP).

Website: https://www.reardonsullivanformoco.com/
Email: Reardon@ReardonSullivanforMoCo.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ReardonSullivanforMoCo/

Why are you running for this office?
I’m running to not only bring common sense back to Montgomery County but also to provide a measured, thoughtful direction to the formulation of policy positions affecting Montgomery County. I will develop policies that enhance the retention and attraction of businesses to support economic growth; support policies that involve parents in the decisions affecting their children’s education, and support policies that enhance our safety and fight crime through providing adequate policing.

What is the most important issue in this race and what specific plans do you have to address it? 
Growing the economic base in Montgomery County is most important issue. We cannot tax our way out of poor economic and job growth.

Perception is reality. The perception that Montgomery County is not business friendly is real and has been earned over many years. This perception MUST be reversed to fund a growing, thriving Montgomery County that can provide an unmatched community for our residents.

We don’t currently have the job creation that we need to provide the tax base for affordable housing, infrastructure, schools, transportation alternatives, and amazing amenities we need to focus on improving our quality of life.

What is one major issue that has been handled poorly and what would you have done differently?
The attitude of the county executive and the County and Council is the major issue. Their rhetoric that espouses defunding the police, lack of support for business, the importance of job growth, the need for educational excellence and the lack of representation and transportation alternatives for up-county residents demonstrates how out of touch and detrimental the County Council and county executive are.

I will implement policies that embrace business. Business provides jobs, and a tax base that allows us to do all the good things that we want to do here in Montgomery County from infrastructure upgrades to affordable housing.

What experience (work, political or other) has prepared you to hold this office?
Business owner, executive, founder, and CEO of a Rockville based architectural engineering consulting firm for over 25 years, life-long county resident, Montgomery County public schools and University of Maryland graduate, LEED accredited professional engineer and musician. I have experienced many facets of life in Montgomery County from police to procurement.

My life and work experience has given me the perspective that the attitude of local government has to change – starting at the top. I will embrace business and the jobs they bring to grow our tax base and fund the good things that we want to do in the County.


Green Party

Devin Battley

Where you live: Derwood 

Date of birth: Aug. 31, 1950

Current occupation and employer:
Commercial, agricultural, residential and environmental landowner in Montgomery County

Political experience:
First time. Although I am a president of a landowners association, past president of an industry group; 20-plus years association leadership. Also, you find me in the Maryland state archives for chairman of a safety committee.

Website: https://devinbattley.com/
Email: dbattley@battley.com
Facebook: Devin Battley
Twitter: @devinbattley

Why are you running for this office?
I just want to fix MoCo. Keep the good. Throw away the bad, and present an answer for every question and a solution for every problem.

What is the most important issue in this race and what specific plans do you have to address it?
Fix this mess MoCo has.

What is one major issue that has been handled poorly and what would you have done differently?
Our myopic and belligerent bureaucracy. Major reforms are needed.

What experience (work, political or other) has prepared you to hold this office?
Self-made millionaire. Just dedicated myself to success in life, and it worked out for me. Give me a leadership task and I succeed.
MoCo Board of Elections has my financial disclosure.