I have been meeting with constituents in every part of Montgomery County to hear what is on your minds. If you would like me to meet your friends, family, and neighbors, please email Jessica@georgeleventhal.com. In the meantime, please click here to share your thoughts on the most important issues today and in the future.
We are listening carefully and will be frequently updating this page as we compile the input you are providing, so please check back regularly. Meanwhile, please watch or read my speech from my big campaign kick-off.
Growing the number of jobs in this county is among my top priorities. We have one of the smartest, most diverse work forces in the United States. We need to market ourselves better as the International Gateway to the nation’s capital, to entice the employers our county needs to compete in the global marketplace. I will continue to support the growth of high-tech, high-wage, science-based, future-oriented jobs of tomorrow in our health and bio-tech industries. And I will lead the charge to change this county’s reputation as a bad place to do business. We need to provide opportunities for our own children and grandchildren to work here and live here.
Montgomery County Public Schools are ranked some of the very best in the nation. The quality of our schools is a big draw for families locating to the DC metropolitan area, and the student population has increased dramatically over the last decade. I will be actively engaged with the leadership in Annapolis to ensure that Montgomery County receives its fair share of school building dollars to alleviate the overcrowding affecting so many of our classrooms. In addition, I will ensure our schools serve all students. Working with the school system we will identify benchmarks and make a measurable reduction in the academic achievement and opportunity gap.
ADVOCATING FOR THE MOST VULNERABLE
My parents, both physicians, instilled in me a deep sense of equity and social justice. These are values I bring bear in my work on the County Council. Since 2002 I have been Chair of the Health and Human Services Committee which is responsible for programs to assist County residents who are sick, poor, elderly, homeless, disabled, and mentally ill; abused and abandoned children; as well as libraries and the arts and humanities. Under my leadership the county has achieved universal access to primary health care, housed every homeless veteran in the county, championed fair wages for caretakers for the disabled and advocated for those who most need a government on their side. In fiscal year 2018, I championed the new Inside Not Outside program which aims to house the approximately 200 chronically homeless individuals residing in our communities.
Ending chronic homelessness in our county is among my top priorities. No one deserves to be homeless. I will continue to work closely with County agencies to ensure every single man, woman, child, and veteran is safely housed and never homeless again.
In 2015, Montgomery County government, in conjunction with its service providing nonprofit partners, successfully found housing for every identified homeless veteran. This year, our goal is to house every chronically homeless person (those who are disabled and have been homeless for a year or more or have had multiple episodes of homelessness totaling a year or more). In June, we launched the "Inside/Not Outside" campaign, to end chronic homelessness in Montgomery County.
ACCESS TO HEALTHCARE
I want to ensure that every adult and child in our County has access to health care. In 2005, I was among the group of leaders responsible for creating the Montgomery Cares program, and I’ve been its leading advocate since then.
In 2005, I understood that the limited focus of the national health care debate—access to insurance—created an opportunity for leaders in Montgomery County to focus on the key issue for working families, which is access to care. The Montgomery Cares program operates as a network of community health clinics serving the poor. Patients are served, often in their own language, at 28 locations dispersed throughout the County. Each site also dispenses free prescription medicines. I am committed to ensuring that this program remains viable and active for our residents who are poor and need it the most.
THE PURPLE LINE
One of my top priorities has always been to push for the construction of the Purple Line on the Metro system. This is an important transportation project that will connect Bethesda, Silver Spring, College Park, Riverdale and New Carrollton.
Creation of the Purple Line will help to get more people off of our congested roadways and will help to reduce fossil fuel emissions in both Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties. I also support the Corridor Cities Transitway, which will serve commuters in northern Montgomery County, and the creation of a Bus Rapid Transit network. As a founder and ex-officio board member of Purple Line Now!, I have tirelessly promoted the Purple Line light rail alternative and worked diligently with community groups, the County Executive, and my County Council colleagues as well as state and Prince George’s County officials to ensure support for the Purple Line throughout the State of Maryland. The addition of the Purple Line will be transformative in that it will allow both Montgomery County and Prince George’s County residents greater ease of access to our education and research centers, including the University of Maryland. In addition, we have an enormous opportunity to create an investment in our County’s economy by having significant Federal funds made available to us to construct the Purple Line. If the Purple Line is somehow canceled, that Federal appropriation will go to another state. I do all in my power to prevent this from happening if I am elected your next County Executive.
In addition, I’ve also launched or supported the following initiatives:
Our Environment and The Paris Climate Agreement
I am passionate about the environment, and I want Montgomery County to be the cleanest, safest, healthiest county in America. Along with other Council members, we introduced a resolution to reaffirm the county’s commitment to the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement after President Trump announced earlier this month the U.S. would withdraw from the accord. Montgomery County has worked for more than a decade to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and use more renewable energy. In addition to the expected passage of the council resolution, the county also joined the “We Are Still In” coalition of more than 1,000 U.S. states, cities, businesses and universities that plan to pursue the climate goals of the Paris agreement.
Persons with Disabilities
Caregivers who work with disabled children and adults at different service providers in our County need extensive training to perform their work properly. These workers are paid far less than their State employee and private enterprise counterparts. The quality of the hiring pool available to service providers who are State and County funded providing service to the disabled suffers as a result. I will continue to do all I can to advocate for wage parity for individuals who provide essential services to the disabled residents of our community and to fight for the quality of life issues affecting our disabled neighbors and their families. Recently, I enacted legislation to assist seniors and disabled people to stay in their homes by providing property tax credits for accessibility improvements.
Enhancing Citizen Access to Public Hearings
In an effort to have as many county residents’ voices heard during Council public hearings, I have requested that the addition of live streaming on YouTube be implemented at the Council. The cities of Rockville, Gaithersburg and Takoma Park already stream their council meetings on YouTube and their own websites. With YouTube, residents would be able to receive notifications any time the Council is in session and meetings would be archived immediately and available on-demand for later viewing. I also requested that Council staff explore the feasibility of allowing residents to provide public testimony via Skype, Google Hangouts, FaceTime or other video chat apps since many residents will never be able to attend a public hearing in Rockville due to their work schedule, family responsibilities or transportation issues.