Montgomery County Council District 4
Where you live: Colesville
Date of birth: Aug. 15, 1965
Current occupation and employer (may also list up to two other jobs you’ve held); if retired, list your last job and employer: Montgomery County Council member. Previously: Montgomery County Board of Education member. C0-founder, Centro Familia.
Political experience (public offices held and when, as well as unsuccessful campaigns for office and which years): Elected to Montgomery County Board of Education, District 5, 2004. Elected to Montgomery County Board of Education, 2006. Ran unsuccessfully for Montgomery County Council, District 4, 2008 (special election). Elected to Montgomery County Council, District 4, 2009 (special election); re-elected 2010, 2014.
1 – What experience (work, political or other) has prepared you to hold this office? (100 words max)
I was Co-Founder and Co-Executive Director of Centro Familia, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting the economic sufficiency of immigrant women, and the school readiness of children.
In 2004, I was appointed to fill a vacancy on the Board of Education and elected to a full term in 2006. I served as President for two consecutive years.
In 2009, I became the first Latina elected to the Montgomery County Council.
I have served as President, Chair of the Government Operations and Fiscal Policy Committee, and member of the Education Committee. Previously, I served on the HHS committee.
2 – What is the most important issue in this race and what specific plans do you have to address it? (100 words max)
This election is all about change management. Managing growing needs, restricted resources, and abundant opportunities.
Historically, District 4 has had a lack of job opportunities, amenities and infrastructure improvements. I have worked to change that on a large and small scale. From Wheaton’s revitalization project, to the Georgia Avenue/Randolph Road interchange, a grocery store at Plaza del Mercado, Layhill, bike paths in Olney, and refreshed libraries in Aspen Hill and White Oak.
In addition, excellent schools, quality of life issues, and the participation of previously disengaged residents in our decision-making processes will continue to lead my agenda.
3 – What is one major issue the current County Council has handled poorly and what would you have done differently? (100 words max)
In previous years, the Council, Board of Education, and Superintendent did not enjoy a productive working relationship. Disagreements about budgetary decisions led to tensions and difficult communication. I regret not succeeding in improving the tone and trust.
I believe that we have significantly changed course, through robust policy and programmatic discussions, and collaboration. This is pivotal, as we strive to make improvements that lead to optimal educational outcomes for all students.
4 – What measures do you advocate to address what is often referred to as the “achievement gap” in Montgomery County Public Schools? (100 words max)
Closing the opportunity gap in education is an economic imperative. We need a strategic vision with equity at its core as we address how resources should meet the needs of children. Montgomery County has done great work on this, but it is time to take it to the next level.
We must focus resources on the unique needs of the individual child, from cradle to graduation from high school. Agencies must partner with Montgomery County Public Schools to create resource portfolios for each child. We must also create measures that allow our communities to hold adults in our classrooms accountable.
5 – Do you support Gov. Hogan’s plan to ease traffic congestion by widening I-495 and I-270, including the installation of toll lanes? (100 words max)
I support the state’s study of two reversible high-occupancy/toll lanes on I-270 between Shady Grove Road and Frederick County, and one high-occupancy toll lane in each direction on I-495 between the I-270 West Spur and Virginia in order to address traffic congestion.
Also, the study of capacity and operational strategies from I-270 and along I-495 into Virginia (transit, pedestrian and bicycle connections) over the Potomac River. The state should address traffic congestion on I-495 east of the I-270 spur through spot improvements respectful of our natural resources and communities.