As Takoma Park residents head to the polls Tuesday, five candidates for Montgomery County Council will represent their city on the ballot.
Marc Elrich, George Leventhal and Hans Riemer are among six Democrats and four Republicans running for four at-large seats on the council. Christopher Barclay and Terrill North are among five Democrats vying to represent District 5, where Takoma Park is located.
Marc Elrich is in his second term on the council. He previously served on the Takoma Park City Council for 19 years and taught in Montgomery County Public Schools for 17. Elrich was a founding member of the Takoma Park/Silver Spring Co-op and has served on the council’s Planning, Housing, and Economic Development Committee and the Public Safety Committee.
Last fall Elrich introduced a bill that would raise the minimum wage in Montgomery County to $12 per hour. If reelected, Elrich said he will focus on policies that promote housing and job opportunities, social services, libraries, recreation programs and an improved transit system.
“When I first ran for County Council, I promised to improve the quality of life in Montgomery County for all residents,” Elrich’s website reads. “I have been working hard to fulfill that promise.”
Leventhal is serving his third at-large term on the council as chairman of the Health and Human Services Committee. One of his initiatives, Montgomery Cares, provides uninsured county residents access to health services at 28 clinics.
Leventhal, a Takoma Park resident since 1985, wants to promote healthy lifestyles for constituents. He voted to pass legislation requiring calorie labels on menus at fast food and chain restaurants. He co-chairs the Healthy Montgomery Steering Committee and supported multiple laws to ban smoking.
“Healthier and fitter county employees will bring down costs for taxpayers by utilizing less health care, and will be more productive,” Leventhal’s website reads. “The culture of wellness we seek in county government … can be a model for the private sector as well.”
Hans Riemer has been a councilmember since 2010. Riemer has worked for Rock the Vote and AARP. He was youth director for President Barack Obama’s 2008 campaign and founded an organization called 2030 Center which advocated for the protection of social security.
Riemer serves on the Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee, as well as the Government Operations and Fiscal Policy Committee. He also serves as the council’s lead for digital government, a role that he has used to advocate for improved technology resources.
“Over the last four years, I have worked to write and sponsor legislation that moves us toward a better Montgomery County for everybody who lives here,” Riemer’s website reads. “It can be a challenge, but I’m proud of the progress we’ve made.”
Terrill North is seeking his first term on the council. At a June 3 candidate forum in Takoma Park he cited education, programs to support families, environmental protection and economic development as among the most important issues in district 5. North has worked with a number of environmental advocacy groups in the county and has worked on Capitol Hill as a congressional staff member.
North runs two youth organizations in Takoma Park. His organization Making a New United People offers community intervention programs to at-risk children and teenagers. He also participates with a summer program for children at Washington Adventist University.
“I’m doing the work right now for you, in your city, every single day,” North said.
Christopher Barclay is currently serving his second four-year term on the Montgomery County Board of Education. He cites his experience with county-level government and with community organizations such the Takoma Foundation – a charitable organization that awards grants – as credentials that will help him connect to everyone.
Barclay moved his family from Washington, D.C. to Takoma Park in 1996 while looking for a safe place to raise his children. At the Takoma Park candidate forum he said he has long been troubled by the economic disparity that exists in Montgomery County.
“Here in Takoma park, this is a place where you get that sense of community while at the same time we know there are families that are struggling,” Barclay said. “We need to know that there is someone on the council who is really going to fight for them.”