We continue with our County Executive questionnaires today with Councilmember Marc Elrich (D-At Large).
What was your most important achievement in your current or past office? How do you think it demonstrates your leadership ability?
My most important achievement has been increasing the minimum wage in Montgomery County, and helping to increase it in Prince George’s County and Washington, DC as well. Opponents of minimum wage increases often try to pit neighboring cities and counties against each other, inaccurately arguing that raising wages in one area will cause employers to flee to surrounding lower-wage localities. I helped convince lawmakers in these three jurisdictions that joining forces and pushing for higher minimum wages together would defeat this erroneous argument while delivering a real economic win for hundreds of thousands of people.
While I pushed hard for Montgomery County’s minimum wage to increase automatically with inflation, I ultimately accepted a bill without that provision, and with a slower phase-in than I had wanted, to secure the votes necessary for it to pass the Council. I didn’t give up, however, and have continued to fight for a living wage for county residents, sponsoring a $15 minimum wage bill that earned the support of a majority of my colleagues last year. Though that bill was vetoed, I am confident that we will soon succeed in passing a version of the legislation I reintroduced.
I believe this achievement demonstrates both my recognition that our residents’ needs demand urgent action and my ability to produce tangible changes through the political process. I begin by listening to and working with affected communities. Whether you’re a full-time worker living in poverty or a resident who loves your community and wants to be certain that, as we grow, the county provides the schools, transportation, and other infrastructure necessary to handle that growth without harming the environment, I am committed to getting results for you. Master planning must include residents; transportation solutions must be affordable and appropriate; and protecting green spaces and water quality, preserving existing affordable housing, and encouraging the use of alternative energy must be priorities.
As County Executive, I know how to build the coalitions with our residents, businesses, and organizations to continue to help this county work for all of us.