Prior to announcing her interest in running for the Council, Ginsburg used her position at Friends of White Flint to advocate vocally for a very different version of District 4. Here is one email sent out by Friends of White Flint:
The map configurations promoted by Ginsburg would almost certainly have excluded Takoma Park, home to Mayor Kate Stewart–the other publicly interested candidate–and included more territory in closer proximity to White Flint (a.k.a. North Bethesda).
Friends of White Flint is one of those “neighborhood” organizations that is put together by developers and business to advocate for their interests. A quick glance at the its leadership confirms that business and developer representatives compose two-thirds of the board.
While Ginsburg says her background makes her a natural candidate for “the most progressive district in the county,” Friends of White Flint has consistently argued in favor of business and development interests. Supporters of developer interests regularly repackage them in social justice language, but I suspect Ginsburg’s record at other nonprofits, such as Neediest Kids and Manna Food Center, does more to burnish her progressive credentials.
Montgomery County’s decennial redistricting not only had to equalize populations but also had to squeeze in two new districts in addition to the existing five. The County additionally elects four at-large members.
Montgomery County Council Districts 2022-2030
All of the districts in the final plan are within 5% of the ideal district population of 151,816. At 4.7% above the ideal, the new Third (Gaithersburg-Rockville) is the most populous. But the new Second (Germantown-Poolsville) is not far behind at 4.6%. The new Fourth (Kensington-Takoma) is the smallest–4.3% undersized–followed closely by the new Sixth (Wheaton), which is 4.2% too small.
The 65% White First (Bethesda-Potomac) is the only district where a single race predominates. The 47% White Fourth and the 43% White Seventh (Olney-Damascus) are the only two other districts where a single group forms more than 40% of the population.
Whites form pluralities in two more districts–the Second and the Third–but Blacks (37%) are the largest group in the Fifth (Burtonsville) and Latinos (35%) in the Sixth. Blacks will likely comprise a much larger share in the open Fifth’s critical Democratic primary due to lopsided Democratic registration rates among African Americans.
On the other hand, the share of Latinos in the primary remains cloudier. Latinos are also disproportionately Democratic, but less so than Blacks. More importantly, immigrant communities have many non-citizens who cannot participate.
A multiplicity of Latino candidates could also split the vote. Former Planning Board Member Natalie Fani-Gonzalez and former Del. Maricé Morales are among the candidates seeking the seat. Councilmember Nancy Navarro currently represents the area.
I’d be careful not to overestimate the extent to which Montgomery voters cast ballots on racial lines. African-American Councilmember Craig Rice now represents the district with the highest share of Whites and lowest share of Blacks in the county. Both Black and Latino candidates won at-large seats in 2018.
Asians are not the most numerous group in any district. The Second has the highest share of Asians at 24%. No Asian American has ever been elected to the Montgomery County Council. Will that change in 2022 with the addition of two new districts?
MoCo is about to embark on one of its most important tasks of the decade: redrawing county council districts. The county’s charter mandates redistricting every ten years in line with the release of new U.S. Census data. The charter also states that the council must pick a redistricting commission to recommend new boundary lines (although the council retains the final say). The current redistricting will be particularly intense given the recent passage of Question C, which expanded the number of districts from five to seven.
1. Two former elected officials, including one who used to be a council member and has run for two different offices in the last five years.
2. Five other former candidates for office, including one who has run for office seven times since 2009. Three of these former candidates have run at least once since 2018.
3. Two political consultants, one of whom has worked for MoCo politicians, including sitting council members.
4. Two spouses of sitting municipal elected officials. Both of these officials unsuccessfully ran for higher office before being elected to their current positions. One of the spouses also ran for office, including for council in 2017-18.
5. A sibling of a 2018 council candidate who has managed multiple local political campaigns.
These are not bad people. To the contrary, most – if not all – of them have done good things and can serve the county well in other roles. But the redistricting commission is a critical body that will play a key role in designing council districts for the next decade. The importance of this exercise to county residents cannot be overstated. The public interest should be the sole determinant of redistricting. Given the fact that the public is watching how this plays out:
It would be wise to avoid the appearance of a candidate designing his or her own district for a future run.
It would be wise to avoid the appearance of a political operative designing a district for a client.
It would be wise to avoid the appearance of a commission member designing a district for a family member.
Redistricting is an official and supremely important act of county government but it’s also a very sensitive one. Many people are jaded about “gerrymandering” and the county just had an all-out ballot war over the appropriate number of council districts. I can’t count how many times I have seen the word “machine” used to describe the county’s politics this year. In this climate, it won’t take much to get people to believe the worst about redistricting, and given the recent popularity of charter amendments, who knows how far such sentiment could go.
There are plenty of qualified applicants who could do a good job and don’t have any of the above issues. Come on now, council members! Please consider them when choosing who serves on the redistricting commission.
The Montgomery County Council unanimously overrode County Executive Marc Elrich’s veto of their bill to lower impact taxes on development in wide areas around public transit.
The press releases title sets the tone with the strange claim that the override reaffirms the Council’s “commitment to investing in Montgomery County’s future.” Except that by reducing the impact taxes collected, the county will now have less money to invest in school buildings and other capital projects.
It’s a commitment to disinvesting in public infrastructure. The language is especially telling because Democrats normally tout public spending as investment, but they’ve adopted Republican-style talking points on cutting taxes. Knowing this is the case, the press release is at pains to hide just how much they’ve reduced taxes on developers. It just says that the new tax rate will “more accurately” reflect the actual cost of school facilities.
The individual comments are little better. Sponsor Hans Riemer attacks Elrich because that is what he does. He also lauds the policy as “balanc[ing] the competing needs to address school enrollment” and “make our transportation system safer.” Except lowering impact taxes that help build new school buildings hurts rather than helps schools. I imagine this also reflects Hans’s magical thinking that everyone wants to live near transit but that they won’t have many kids—somehow families with kids don’t need housing too.
Councilmember Nancy Navarro refers to this legislation as “bold” which is the same word she used previously for lauding her support for the last tax cut on devleopers.
Overclaiming that this will lead to more “affordable housing” and “environmental sustainability,” Councilmember Andrew Friedson says the bill makes the county “more attractive to new businesses.” Once again, he conflates development with business as the Council continues to do nothing to attract the non-development related business it needs.
There is no requirement for more affordable housing as a share of new development. Impact taxes have little impact on the overall cost relative to demand and land prices, so the major impact will not be a blossoming of housing or a reduction in its price, but further losses to the county treasury to build schools.
All of Hans Riemer’s many other like-minded bills have similarly failed to do much to bring affordable housing to the county. This one won’t either. It might, however, result in more campaign contributions from developers to the incumbent councilmembers and their allies.
Evan Glass touts how hard the Council worked on the new policy—they did spend a lot of time on it—and that it reflects the Council’s commitment to “inclusivity and diversity.” No doubt the Council believes that to be true. But progressive verbiage doesn’t alter the hard fact that, directly at odds with this claim, the county will deepen the already acute shortfall in funds for public school buildings to serve its diverse student population.
“Council Assures More Portables in MCPS’s Future” would have been a good alternative title for the press release.
The Montgomery County Council talks a good game when it comes to progressive politics, but their policy choices are straight out of the corporate conservative Republican playbook.
Consider their most recent action to lower impact fees that pay for public services, like schools, on development.
Heeding calls by Empower Montgomery (which advertised being founded by David Blair until he ran for county executive), the Council is eliminating moratoria on development required by law due to the county’s failure to provide public services needed for existing residents in these areas. The Council didn’t solve the problem providing the public services needed to meet legal requirements but by simply eliminating the moratoria.
In the past, councilmembers have argued against moratoria on the grounds that the impact fees from new development are vital to providing these services. No one has trumpeted this line more strongly than the Council’s Planning, Housing and Economic Development (PHED) Committee Chair Hans Riemer.
In an October email blast, Riemer justified the Council’s last corporate welfare giveaway (eliminating real estate developments on WMATA property from property taxes for 15 years) by pointing to the impact fees they will generate:
These projects generate more construction jobs and more one-time revenue for the County, such as impact tax revenue that can be used to add school and transportation capacity.
Now, the Council has voted substantial cuts to the impact fees that they touted as the reason to eliminate the moratoria and pass the property tax giveaway for developers. Consistency may be the hobgoblin of little minds, but this nevertheless remains an impressive feat of quick dumping down the memory hole.
The Council’s decision sounds like straight supply-side economics. It contends that reducing impact fees will result in more development. If they believe that this will result in an impact tax gusher, it’s the exact same fantasy that fueled massive deficits under Reagan, Bush and Trump, when tax cuts for the wealthy did not swell the nation’s coffers. Otherwise, they are bringing in more people who will require services but leaving the county even less equipped to pay for needed infrastructure.
The Council has conveniently left the decision as to what cuts should be made due to revenue reduction to County Executive Marc Elrich. They’ll lay the blame for the fall in revenue and cuts at his door even though their policies will cause the problem.
Elrich vetoed the bill despite unanimous Council support. As they vote to override it and further starve public infrastructure, the Council will cast Elrich’s fiscally responsible decision simultaneously as far-left crazy and anti-affordable housing.
During his ten years on the Council, Hans Riemer has cast himself as the leader of efforts to provide affordable housing. He vilifies Marc Elrich’s policies as the source of the problem. Yet it’s Riemer and his allies, like two-three-term Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson, who pushed this supply-side legislation, who have long been running the policy show in this area.
That hasn’t stopped them from regularly declaring current policy a failure to justify their latest idea. Obliviously, the Council regularly passes new legislation that Anderson, Riemer and friends claim will address the lack of affordable housing while simultaneously lamenting the continuing decline of affordable housing.
But don’t let the rest of the Council off the hook either. It voted to raise your property taxes while cutting those on favored developers (Councilmembers Hucker and Jawando opposed the latter). And all voted to reduce impact fees even though they all ran on improving public services.
Supported by monied interests, this show has been running for a long time. The Council gift wraps another tranche of money to wealthy interests that lobby for it in the gauzy rhetoric of affordable housing and social justice. The policy failure is then used to justify the next giveaway. Recycle and repeat.
Guest blog by Delegate Eric Luedtke (District 14).
It should not be controversial to say that governments have a responsibility to address the needs of all of their constituents. I appreciate Adam’s thoughts and writing, and how much he relishes the role of provocateur, though I take issue with his characterization of my recent op-ed in Bethesda Beat as blasting county government. I think it’s more along the lines of constructive criticism among friends.
While the analysis of recent electoral outcomes in Montgomery County’s upcounty and downcounty regions are interesting to those of us who follow county politics closely, the average resident of the county is much more interested in having problems in their communities addressed. I believe that much of the support for Question D was driven by a feeling that upcounty does not get its fair share of attention from county government. I should add, by the way, that a similar feeling is prevalent in east county as well.
Of course, there are those in county government who take issue with that suggestion. I recall, for example, a pair of conversations I had with one former member of the County Council. In one conversation, I was told that the commercial blight at the Burtonsville Crossing shopping center was happening because, and I quote, “Burtonsville is not Bethesda,” and that the county shouldn’t waste money trying to help Burtonsville address the profound problem of a decaying town center. In another conversation with the same person, I was upbraided for suggesting that the county didn’t pay enough attention to Burtonsville. The irony was astounding.
I’ve had folks in county government suggest that this perspective is wrong, that residents of every community in the county feel that problems in their particular community are under-addressed. Perhaps. But, again, as just an example, I’ve been working on the Burtonsville crossing issue for more than a decade now, since before I was elected, and with the notable exception of Councilman Hucker, I’ve never seen county government writ large act on it with any kind of urgency. It’s been an afterthought, if that.
If folks in county government want to demonstrate that my critique is off base, they can do so relatively easily.
If the county can create significant incentives for new development around downcounty metro stations, why can’t they do so to incent redevelopment at Burtonsville crossing? Or, alternatively, after a decade of blight, why can’t the county find a way to fine the property owner for failing to maintain the property as a viable commercial site? Or use eminent domain to put the property to a use that will actually benefit Burtonsville residents?
If complaints that the county doesn’t pay enough attention to agriculture are wrong, will the next county budget include the miniscule amount of money necessary to reopen the venison donation facility in Laytonsville? Will it include a commitment of $1 million a year from the general fund for agricultural land preservation?
If concerns that upcounty transportation isn’t enough of a priority are misplaced, will the 97/28 interchange have a higher priority in the next county transportation priorities letter? Will the county commit to funding more bicycle and pedestrian improvements around upcounty schools, such as a better sidewalk network in Damascus so kids can get to Damascus High School and Baker Middle School more easily?
Most residents of the county don’t follow the precinct results of elections. They just want the potholes filled, the congestion addressed, the schools funded, and they want to feel like they have a chance to be heard. The feeling that their communities weren’t being heard drove a lot of well meaning people to support Question D. Those of us in elected office can choose to recognize that concern, and do something about it. Or, we can simply ignore it, pretend like the vote for Question C solved the problem, and move on. But if the latter is the reaction, then we will almost certainly see more Question D’s in the future. I should amend my earlier op-ed. Representation matters, in every corner of the county. And when it’s not provided, residents will demand it, one way or the other.
Delegate Eric Luedtke is the House Majority Leader and has represented District 14 since 2011.
It’s not every day that you see a senior member of MoCo’s state delegation blast the county government, but Delegate Eric Luedtke (D-14) recently did so. In an essay published in Bethesda Beat, Luedtke opined, “The lesson of Question D is that representation matters” and repeatedly criticized county leaders for ignoring his district, which hugs the Howard County border.
Luedtke wrote, “Bluntly, due to the political geography of the county, countywide elected officials in particular don’t need to spend much time in the upper reaches of the county to get re-elected. The vast majority of the votes in the Democratic primary are downcounty votes.”
Is that true?
Former county council candidate (and co-chair of the ballot issue committee that opposed nine districts) Marilyn Balcombe has written about low upcounty turnout in the 2018 primary on Seventh State. Her conclusion was, “The Upcounty doesn’t vote and nobody cares.” Let’s reexamine that premise and also ask another question: did upcounty vote differently than downcounty in the council at-large race?
First, let’s set our definitions. For the sake of this analysis, I am defining downcounty as the “Democratic Crescent,” a term I coined for precincts located in Takoma Park, Silver Spring (inside the Beltway), Chevy Chase, Kensington, Bethesda and Cabin John. This area was responsible for sending Jamie Raskin to Congress in the fiercely contested 2016 primary. I am defining upcounty as precincts located in Brookeville, Clarksburg, Damascus, Dickerson, Gaithersburg, Germantown, Laytonsville, Montgomery Village, Olney, Poolesville, Sandy Spring and Washington Grove, which also include less populated areas nearby (like Ashton, Barnesville, Boyds and Spencerville). The rest of the county is here referred to – artfully – as “everywhere else.”
Precinct results are reported by the State Board of Elections for election day voting. (Precinct data excludes other voting modes.) In the 2018 Democratic primary, 301,208 votes were cast on election day in the council at-large race. Each voter can vote for up to four candidates since there are four at-large seats. Here is the distribution of council at-large votes by broad region along with U.S. Census Bureau population estimates for 2014-2018.
Roughly speaking, the crescent accounted for a quarter of the county’s population but cast a third of the votes in the council at-large Democratic primary. The upcounty was the reverse – it accounted for a third of the county’s population but cast a quarter of the votes. So downcounty didn’t account for a majority of the votes as Luedtke said, but it accounted for a disproportionate number of them for two reasons: a higher than average share of its voters are Democrats, and downcounty Democrats turned out at a higher than average rate as Balcombe wrote.
This might not matter much except for one thing: do downcounty Democrats vote for different candidates than upcounty Democrats? Here is where it gets interesting. The table below shows the rank order of finish for council at-large candidates among upcounty Democrats only.
Hans Riemer (the only incumbent) and Will Jawando finished first and second in the overall vote. But if the decision was made by upcounty, Marilyn Balcombe (who finished fifth overall) and Brandy Brooks (who finished seventh) would also have been elected. The result for Balcombe, who lives in Germantown, is unsurprising. However, Brooks is a Democratic Socialist who lived in Wheaton at the time. That shows how progressive upcounty Democrats, who also elected DSA member Gabe Acevero to the House of Delegates, can be. Gabe Albornoz and Evan Glass, who were both elected, finished seventh and eighth in upcounty respectively.
The table below shows how the Democratic Crescent voted.
Not only did the crescent pick all four at-large winners, it picked them in their overall order of finish. The crescent also voted for Balcombe, Brooks and Chris Wilhelm in their overall order of finish. At least in the 2018 election, the pattern established by downcounty voters applied very closely to the total result.
Now let’s look at where each of the top ten at-large candidates drew their votes from.
The four candidates with the highest percentage of their votes coming from the crescent – Riemer, Jawando, Glass and Albornoz – were the ones who got elected. In fact, each of these four received at least twice as many votes from the crescent as they did from upcounty. Candidates who received a quarter or more of their votes from upcounty (Balcombe, Wilhelm, Brooks and Ashwani Jain) did not win.
Just as in 2004, MoCo voters chose to reject the abolition of the at-large council seats this year. Given the fact that these seats will remain on the ballot, and given the election results above, upcounty voters must increase their turnout to get any respect from county government. If they don’t, the issues described by Delegate Luedtke in his column will continue.
We already know that the Purple Line is going to be massively delayed and way over budget. The Montgomery County Council inadvertently revealed just before the election that it also won’t bring the promised economic or housing benefits.
The Council voted 7-2 to heap new tax incentives on developers in order to make project happen around Grosvenor-Strathmore and other Red Line Metro stations in the County. Metro carries more passengers than the Purple Line and Grosvenor-Strathmore is a desirable location for development, as are several other Red Line locations.
If we need to give developers gobs of money to make development happen at these locations, the same will surely be true at Purple Line stations. Yet the Purple Line wasn’t sold that way. Land has been upzoned around all the Purple Line stations and we were told that development would follow.
No one mentioned the need for massive subsidies once the Purple Line was built. On the contrary, we were promised that development around these stations would help fill the county’s coffers even as it produced more housing and economic development around the stations. Turns out that’s not the case.
The only place where development is planned or underway is at Chevy Chase Lake. Unfortunately, this appears to be the only place where the economics make sense. We’ve paid literally billions to subsidize one economic development. The lobbying by the Chevy Chase Land Company paid off. For them.
So add the cost of huge development subsidies to the Purple Line tab.
The major advocates of the Purple Line have a lot to explain, but perhaps at the top of the list among the current county leadership are County Councilmember Hans Riemer and Planning Board Chair Casey Anderson. Hans Riemer was a former leader of Purple Line Now before joining the Council and has continued to advocate relentlessly for the project, as has his good friend, Casey Anderson, on the Planning Board.
Both present themselves as certain of the solutions to the region’s transit and housing problems. Even ignoring the out-of-control costs and massive delays, and I don’t know why we should, they heavily touted the housing and economic development benefits of the Purple Line. Neither Riemer nor Anderson ever explained that we would need to heap subsidies on top of the transit costs to make the housing and economic benefits happen.
Though they are far from alone in needing to shoulder blame, rather than being an economic cash cow, the Purple Line has now metastasized into the monorail episode from the Simpsons. Only it’s a lot less funny to be living it.
Council Member Andrew “Real Deal” Friedson Friedson authored Question A, which liberalized the county’s property tax system to allow receipts to increase with assessments. Wall Street applauded its passage. Even progressives, who don’t love Friedson but owe him big-time for opening up the county’s revenue stream, have to admit that his Question A was the real deal.
Council Member Evan Glass Glass authored Question C, which added two district council seats and defeated the nine district Question D. Lots of wannabe politicians are going to look at running for the new seats. Every single one of them should kiss Glass’s ring and write a max-out check to his campaign account.
County Democratic Party It’s not a coincidence that MoCo voters adopted the positions of the county Democratic Party on all four ballot questions. With partisan sentiments running high and information on the questions running low, MoCo Democrats went along with their party and dominated the election.
David Blair Blair was the number one contributor to the four ballot issue committees that passed Questions A and C and defeated Questions B and D. By himself, Blair accounted for nearly half the money they raised. Whatever Blair decides to do heading into the next election, he can claim to have done as much to pass the county Democrats’ positions on the ballot questions as anyone. (Disclosure: I have done work for Blair’s non-profit but I was not involved in his ballot question activities.)
Ike Leggett The former county executive was key in leading the fight against Robin Ficker’s anti-tax Question B and the nine county council district Question D. Thousands of MoCo voters still like, respect and trust Ike Leggett.
Jews United for Justice While not having the money and manpower of many other groups who played on the questions, Jews United for Justice played a key role in convening the coalition that ultimately won. They have gained a lot of respect from many influencers in MoCo politics.
Facebook Lord knows how much money they made from all the ballot question ads!
Robin Ficker At the beginning of 2020, MoCo had one of the most restrictive property tax charter limits of any county in Maryland. For many years, Ficker was looking to make it even tighter and petitioned Question B to the ballot to convert it into a near-lock on revenues. But his charter amendment provoked Friedson to write Question A, which ultimately passed while Question B failed and will raise much more money than the current system over time. Instead of tightening the current system, the result is a more liberal system that will achieve the opposite of what Ficker wanted – more revenue for the county. This was one of the biggest backfires in all of MoCo political history.
Republicans The county’s Republican Party did everything they could to pass Ficker’s anti-tax Question B and the nine county council district Question D. In particular, they gave both cash and in-kind contributions to Nine Districts and even raised money for the group on their website. In doing so, the GOP provoked a fierce partisan backlash as the county Democrats rose up to take the opposite positions on the ballot questions and most Democratic-leaning groups combined forces to support them. With President Donald Trump apparently defeated, Governor Larry Hogan leaving office in two years and little prospect of success in MoCo awaiting them, where does the county’s Republican Party go from here?
This tweet by MoCo for Question C from a voting location explains all you need to know about why Question D failed.
Political Outsiders It wasn’t just Republicans who supported the failed Questions B and D; a range of political outsiders supported them too. What they witnessed was a mammoth effort by the Democratic Party, Democratic elected officials and (mostly) progressive interest groups to thwart them. Even the county chamber of commerce and the realtors lined up against them. Whether or not it’s true, this is bound to provoke more talk of a “MoCo Machine.” Machine or not, outsiders have to be wondering how to win when establishment forces combine against them.
MCGEO, Fire Fighters and Police Unions These three unions are frustrated. They have not been treated the way they expected by the administration of County Executive Marc Elrich and they are also upset with the county council for abrogating their contracts (among other things). They wanted to show that they could impose consequences for messing with them and that was one reason why all three made thousands of dollars of in-kind contributions to Nine Districts. On the negative side, the nine districts Question D failed. On the positive side, the passage of Friedson’s Question A will result in a flow of more dollars into the county budget over time, a win for their members. So it’s a push. On to the next election.
The four ballot issue committees who worked on behalf of Questions A and C and against Questions B and D have issued a joint victory statement. The committees and their affiliated organizations had different focuses on the questions but still coordinated their activities when possible. Their statement is reprinted below.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MONTGOMERY COUNTY BALLOT COMMITTEES CELEBRATE SUCCESS AT THE BALLOT BOX
Broad coalition of religious, business, labor, and community groups thanks all the members and partners who worked tirelessly to protect the future of Montgomery County.
MONTGOMERY COUNTY, November 5, 2020 — With a shared vision of a better Montgomery County that works for everyone, we successfully took our message to voters about the County ballot questions. Every vote counts and, as our County’s dedicated election workers complete the count, we take a moment to acknowledge the power of our community working together.
In a time when our country is so divided, Montgomery County showed how broad and diverse coalitions can work side by side to address tough issues. Whether it is tax policy or representation, the politics of lifting people up is more powerful than tearing people down. When we believe changes are needed, we are capable of coming together as a community to make it happen. We are confident in the opportunity ahead to build a better and stronger future for all Montgomery County residents.
Montgomery Neighbors Against Question B Press Contact: Daniel Koroma
Montgomery Countians For A & Against B Press Contact: Scott Goldberg
Residents for More Representation Press Contact: Marilyn Balcombe
Vote No on B&D Press Contact: Susan Heltemes
Ballot committee coalition members: ● Baltimore-Washington Laborers’ District Council, LiUNA ● CASA ● CERG 2.0 ● Greater Capital Area Association of Realtors(R) ● Jews United for Justice ● LGBTQ Democrats of Montgomery County ● MCGEO – UFCW Local 1994 ● MoCoWoMen ● Montgomery Countryside Alliance ● Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce ● Montgomery County Council of PTAs ● Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee ● Montgomery County Democratic Socialists of America ● Montgomery County Education Association ● Montgomery County Hispanic Chamber of Commerce ● Montgomery County Women’s Democratic Club ● Montgomery County Young Democrats ● Nonprofit Montgomery ● Progressive Maryland ● SEIU Local 500 ● Sierra Club ● Takoma Park Mobilization ● The Association of Black Democrats of Montgomery County ● and many other organizations, county leaders, and engaged residents!