ROCKVILLE – At the June 16 Rockville Mayor and Council meeting, the District 17 delegation, whose district includes Rockville, Gaithersburg, and Glen Echo, gave the mayor and council a wrap-up of the 431st session of the Maryland General Assembly.
Delegates Kumar Barve, Luis Simmons, and Jamie Gilchrist and Senator Jamie Forehand gave reports on marijuana decriminalization, economic growth and school construction.
During the 2014 session, the Rockville Science Center received $75,000 in funding. The Twinbrook Library received $379,000 for renovations and the money was given to be shared with the Kensington Library, also in Montgomery County. $14 million in funding was given for the science center at the Rockville Campus of Montgomery College and the Universities of Shady Grove received $4.3 million in funding for the Biomedical Sciences and Engineering Education facility.
“We’ve increased our gas tax and as a result we’ve been able to produce for Rockville and Gaithersburg, the revenue both our municipalities really rely upon and we hope that continues to be the case in the future,” Barve said.
Maryland was able to maintain its Triple A bond rating for the 55th year and the Maryland State Department of Education also maintained its top ranking in education. While the state maintains its top ranking in education and wealth, it ranks last in GDP. The pensions for state workers are only funded 63 percent.
“You can’t go on kicking the can down the road because the road will come to an end,” Simmons said.
Councilmember Tom Moore expressed disappointment over the delay of school construction funds. Moore said the city had plans to build a new elementary school near downtown Rockville and the delay of the funds for a year caused a delay to the downtown revitalization efforts by the city.
“We shouldn’t look at county construction as a discreet one year effort. It’s going to be an ongoing four, five, six year effort because the economy will eventually recover. While it was a disappointment, the fact is as a jurisdiction, we have gotten a great number of our needs met school construction is the one place we have to step up and improve,” Barve said.
Senator Jennie Forehand, who has served in the senate since 1995, is retiring. Forehand was instrumental in the state passing smoke-free regulations.
“Thank you for all of your service, you have been a true stateswoman for us and the city of Rockville, Gaithersburg, and Garrett Park,” Mayor Bridget Newton said.
Forehand endorses former District 17 delegate Cheryl Kagan as her successor. Delegate Simmons and republican Steve Zellers are also running for Forehand’s seat.
In addition to Barve and Gilchrist, District 17 delegate candidates include incumbents Susan Hoffman, Andrew Platt, Laurie-Ann Sayles, and George Zamora. No republicans are running for the delegate seat.
The gubernatorial primary election is on June 24. Early voting is ongoing.