Tag Archives: Seth Grimes

Running Locally? Please Stop with the National Rhetoric

Based on their emails, many Democratic candidates for local office are none too interested in the bread and butter issues of local government. Why talk about snow plowing, property taxes, and sector plans when you can run against Donald Trump?

Roger Berliner is running for Montgomery County Executive to fight for net neutrality and against federal tax legislation:

At-Large Montgomery County Council Candidate Seth Grimes is running on a similar set of themes:

As it turns out, Montgomery County does not regulate the Internet.

Similarly, George Leventhal is running for County Executive to fight for gun control:

Of course, the reason George’s “action” on the issue consists of a resolution that wouldn’t stop a BB gun is that the county cannot do anything on guns any more than it can regulate the Internet.

These three candidates are good examples but they are far from alone in talking non-local issues, so don’t think they’re remotely outliers. Voters are quite naturally fixated on the latest horrendous news to come out of Trump’s cauldron.

Among Democrats, there is no greater motivator than running against Trump and his works. My guess is that it works a lot better at getting people to open up their wallets than talking about the county’s budget shortfall or zoning.

However, as someone who writes about local and state politics (and Trump too), it grates. Democratic candidates agree on all of these issues, so it doesn’t distinguish them. Despite trying to gain points for standing up for “the resistance,” opposing Trump is truly the path of least resistance in scoring Democratic dollars or votes.

It’s all the more problematic because there are many pressing local and state concerns. I just don’t seem to hear much about them from many candidates who are busily trumpeting their opposition to all things Trump.

If you’re running for the Democratic nomination for Montgomery County office, tell voters what you’re going to do here. If you focus on core county issues and concerns, that would be even better. I’m even willing to stipulate that you are a fervent Trump opponent.

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First Impressions, Part Four

By Adam Pagnucco.

Seth Grimes, Takoma Park

Former Takoma Park City Council Member Seth Grimes’s edge is his experience.  Other than incumbent Hans Riemer and Delegate Charles Barkley (D-39), Grimes is the only candidate in the field who has served in elected office so far.  During his two terms in office (2011-2015), Grimes passed legislation allowing 16-year-olds to vote in municipal elections as well as banning environmentally harmful pesticides and polystyrene containers.  The latter two bills were models for similar county legislation.  He also pushed for better management practices in the city both before and after he started serving on the council.

In person, Grimes comes across as studious and tremendously substantive.  Those qualities are present in such abundance that he can struggle to convey ideas in layman’s terms.  He can go into significant detail on his favorite subjects, including affordable housing, food security, reducing poverty and municipal tax duplication.  On many other subjects, Grimes can relate them to his work in the city.  As a provider of many more services than a lot of Maryland municipalities (including a full service police department), the city provides a good laboratory for understanding the functions and problems of county government.

One major plus for your author is that Grimes is a blogger.  (Folks, we bloggers are sorely misunderstood and must stick together in the face of a sometimes unforgiving world!)  His blog shows a person who is fact-oriented, careful, versed in policy and extremely well informed.  It’s obvious that he would be ready to serve on the County Council from day one.  That fact alone makes him worthy of consideration for your vote.

Ashwani Jain, Potomac

Former Obama administration official Ashwani Jain has an inspiring story.  He is a first generation American whose father came here from India years ago with no connections and built a thriving family jewelry business.  He is also a cancer survivor, having contracted the disease at age 13 and undergone chemotherapy.  Jain understands the American dream as well as personal tragedy.  Lots of people will relate to him.

Jain’s claim to fame is his association with President Obama, dating from his volunteering for him ten years ago and ultimately culminating in positions at the White House and the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services and Housing and Urban Development.  He is part of the local Obama network that also includes Council Member Hans Riemer, Delegate Marc Korman, former Maryland Obama Director Jason Waskey, former Delegate candidate Kyle Lierman, former MCDCC Member Oscar Ramirez and fellow at-large council candidate Will Jawando.  But Jain is not just a national-level person – he is also a native of the county and has lived in several parts of it, both east and west.  That gives him a gut-level knowledge of the county that most transplants don’t have.

Jain’s policy views on land use and budgetary issues are not well developed, though he does favor transit projects like the Purple Line and the BRT system, he supports a $15 minimum wage, he believes the county should be a sanctuary jurisdiction and he emphasizes the need for affordable housing.  He also thinks the county should consider ending its liquor monopoly.  But perhaps the biggest reason why voters will like him in addition to his Obama experience is his appealing personality.  Simply put, it is virtually impossible to dislike him.  That’s a major asset for any politician.  Local activists don’t know him yet, but he could really surprise people before this race is over.

That’s it for now, folks.  As we meet more candidates, we may renew this series in the future!

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