GAITHERSBURG – After an unsuccessful run in the Democratic primary for a state delegate seat last year, Laurie-Anne Sayles is seeking to win a seat on the Gaithersburg City Council this fall.
“The city is ready for new leadership,” Sayles said. “I feel like the council can be divided at times, and I think a new, fresh perspective could change the dynamic.”
Sayles, a lifelong Maryland resident, said her activism began when she served on Montgomery County’s Community Action Board, where she advocated for restoring funding for Head Start after sequestration cuts jeopardized an entire class.
“My first priority would be to meet with our state delegation and see how we could better advocate for school construction funding,” said Sayles, who also serves on the city’s Education and Enrichment Committee and the Gaithersburg High School Parent-Teacher Association.
“Parents are concerned about the environment their children grow up in.” Sayles said she would also move to launch a program to help high school students find summer jobs.
Sayles has testified before the mayor and council in favor of stricter regulations on smoking in public places in order to protect public health and said she would attempt to implement such regulations if elected.
“I’m really surprised that we’re still having this conversation in 2015,” Sayles said. “We should not prioritize a smoker’s rights over the health and safety of our children and most vulnerable citizens. I would support an ordinance banning smoking within 25 feet of public parks.”
Sayles said she would seek public input with regard to the construction of the Corridor Cities Transitway and that she would try to make sure that all transportation projects are carried out in an environmentally conscious manner.
“Development has to be smart; it has to involve the community,” Sayles said. “We all want to mitigate traffic and get cars off the road, and it has to done in a smart way.”
Sayles received a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland School of Public Health and a master’s in public administration from the University of Baltimore. While attending the University of Baltimore, she served as a fellow at the Schaefer Center for Public Policy.
Sayles currently works at the National Institutes of Health and lives in Gaithersburg with her husband, Julian Haffner, and their daughter, Mikaylah, a rising junior at Gaithersburg High School.