By Dr. Tom Ferleman.
[Editor’s note: Seventh State is pleased to present guest blogs from candidates for office. The views here are those of the candidate and not of David Lublin or Adam Pagnucco.]
When I was growing up, Montgomery County was one of the wealthiest counties in the whole country. Many of us remember when Montgomery County’s transportation infrastructure was second to none. Our schools were always ranked number one. We were the envy of the nation. Today, we’re thrilled when we’re in the top ten on any list.
Even Councilmember Craig Rice admitted that the Council no longer holds the County in such high regard.
In March of 2015, it was reported that while stumping in Germantown for more funds for the education budget, Rice told an audience, “We did not want to acknowledge, for a very long time, the fact that we had poor people coming into Montgomery County and that Montgomery County was changing.”
As was reported by the Germantown Pulse on March 19, 2015: [Rice] contends that County leaders waited a long time before we changed the perception of Montgomery County as a being full of millionaires who could afford whatever they wanted. “That was never a reality. We just never acknowledged it.”
It’s as if the County Council doesn’t understand how government works. Montgomery County lags the region in recovering pre-recession job levels. Despite six consecutive years of positive job growth across the region, Montgomery County had 0.6 percent (2,964) fewer jobs in March 2016 compared to the same month in 2006, indicating that job losses sustained during the Great Recession have not been fully recovered. In contrast, the wider Washington, DC metro area added 191,718 new jobs over the decade. Three jurisdictions together accounted for 70 percent of the region’s job expansion: The District of Columbia (82,397), Loudoun County (32,081) and Fairfax County (19,550).
While average may be good enough for some Councilmembers, for me, it’s not a passing grade. We must take active measures to boost our competitive advantage in the region.
If elected to the County Council, I will work to develop the mechanisms to make it easier for businesses to operate in the County (i.e. lower taxes, easier permitting and licensing, less traffic congestion, and a favorable education pipeline). While growing jobs locally contributes to providing a better quality of life, it also creates an entrepreneurial culture that promotes economic development for everyone.
Dr. Tom Ferleman is a Republican candidate for Montgomery County Council in District 2.