This small municipality with a population of about 17,000 nestled along Montgomery County’s eastern border is known for its left-leaning progressive activism.
Labeled by former Republican County Executive candidate Robin Ficker as the “Takoma Park Trapezoid,” all of Takoma Park residents on the ballot for the Nov. 6 general election emerged victorious in their respective bids for federal, state, and county offices.
“I think it means that our community is very engaged in the political process and interested and active in making sure that our community is well represented,” current Takoma Park City Council member Terry Seamens (Ward 4) said. “They really are passionate about public affairs.”
At the federal and state levels, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D), who represents Maryland’s 8th Congressional District, and Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot (D), won re-election to their respective offices.
Lorig Charkoudian will become the second city resident, along with incumbent Del. David Moon (D), in the District 20 delegation to partially represent the city in the Maryland General Assembly.
For county office, former City Council member and current County Council member Marc Elrich (D) is set to succeed Ike Leggett as Montgomery County Executive, while Hans Riemer (D) was re-elected to an at-large seat on the County Council.
“But certainly having people in these various positions from the city can be helpful when we are seeking assistance from the other jurisdictions,” Seamens said.
Seamans, who served alongside Elrich on the Takoma Park City Council from 1999-2006, explained that the election of a county executive with municipal experience will help resolve tax-duplication issues.
Tax duplication refers to the taxes municipal residents pay for county services, such as police and road maintenance, already provided by their municipality.
Although the city “worked well” with Ike Leggett to resolve some of the duplication issues, Seamans added that the interaction involved a “long education process” due to Leggett’s lack of municipal experience.
Echoing Seamans’ comments, Moon added “our area of the world has a large activist bench” but noted that Riemer will be the only County Council member residing in Takoma Park following the departures of Marc Elrich and George Leventhal (D) while incoming Council members Evan Glass (D) and Will Jawando (D) reside in District 20.
Elrich, who will be sworn in Monday, Dec. 3, added, “It just happens that a bunch of people live in Takoma Park who are politically active,” while noting that those elected will not be directly representing the city. “They have messages that if they campaign outside of Takoma Park, people like what they have to say.”
Ficker, who was born in the city but frequently criticized the municipality’s influence on county politics, said residents in other parts of the county have different views than those of Takoma Park residents.
“I admire the people in Takoma Park for their civic activism, but I live in Darnestown, and our view is different from the people that live in Takoma Park,” Ficker said.
“They don’t care about 270 … they’re the pro-tax increase [and] pro-gridlock team,” Ficker added, referring to the election of Glass, Jawando, and Gabe Albornoz (D) to the County Council.