ROCKVILLE — Voters in Rockville re-elected Bridget Donnell Newton on Nov. 5 in the city’s first-ever Vote by Mail Election.
Newton received 7,561 or about 63.7% of the total votes according to the unofficial results announced by the city of Rockville. According to the city, the election votes are unofficial until they are certified. The certified election results will be announced on Nov. 12.
Incumbents Beryl L. Feinberg and Mark Pierzchala were also re-elected with 5,648 and 4,800 votes, respectively.
This will be Feinberg’s third term serving the city of Rockville and Pierzchala’s second consecutive term. However, this will be Pierzchala’s fourth term overall, according to the city. He served two, two-year terms between 2009-2013.
There will be a couple of new faces on the Rockville City Council, however, as Monique Ashton and David Myles were both elected to serve. Ashton received the majority of votes for city council by a slim margin of just 17 votes, which placed her ahead of city council incumbents Feinberg and Pierzchala.
Ashton has been living in Rockville for 15 years and said that while on the council, she wants to support economic development and community engagement.
“I will move Rockville Forward by supporting smart growth, increasing economic opportunity, protecting our schools and services for all ages, advocating for pedestrian and bicycle safety, supporting green spaces and the environment, and increasing inclusive community engagement. I am committed to helping our beloved city continue to be a place where all can thrive and reach their highest potential,” she said in a statement to The Sentinel.
Ashton has served the Rockville Community in other ways over her years as a resident of the city. She has represented local schools by serving as a cluster coordinator, lead community forums and served as a neighborhood captain.
“This election is about the future of Rockville. It is about selecting leaders who will listen, represent you, bring strategic thinking and consensus-building, and chart a path for the future of our city that is vibrant, inclusive, and successful,” she said.
Before running for Rockville City Council, Myles served other communities from rural Maryland to Haiti as a pediatrician. He said in a statement to The Sentinel that he decided to run for the city council so that he could continue to serve his community in a new capacity.
“As the grandson of people who are beginning to experience the challenges associated with aging safely in place, the son of a retired public school teacher who has contemplated relocating to Rockville, the father of an infant who will one day attend local public schools and as a member of the most populous age demographics of this city, my vision for Rockville is that this city should allow all of us to realize our full biological, psychological and social potential. Simply stated, Rockville should be a place where all of us thrive,” Myles said.
“It is clear to me from my time working as a pediatrician that I derive a great deal of gratification from directly addressing the health care needs of individual children and their families. However, it is my goal to improve the lives of all children significantly and, by extension, all people. Serving others is at the core of my professional life and is the primary reason I entered the race to serve you as one of Rockville’s City Councilmembers.”
During an election watch party held at Bar Louie in Rockville, Pierzchala explained that one of the policy areas he plans to continue work on is the development of the Town Center. He said he would like to see more residential density and affordable housing.
Although the city council does not have political parties, the members often vote in slates, and decisions are sometimes met with gridlock. Pierzchala acknowledged this when he said, “I think you have to get rid of Bridget and Beryl to deal with the gridlock,” he said. “It’s not my teammates or me that create that gridlock, which makes it very difficult to have policy debates (but) about 80% of things we pass (are) okay; it’s the other 20% that are contentious.”
The mayor and councilmembers serve the city in four-year terms.
Rockville’s first Vote by Mail election yielded nearly double the number of votes versus the last election in 2015, according to the city the number of votes cast this year increased 88.8%.
The city will hold an inauguration ceremony for the mayor and council on Nov. 17 at 1 p.m., and it is open to the public.