County Executive Ike Leggett and County Council at-large candidate Will Jawando Credit: Provided photo

Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett endorsed this week former Obama administration official Will Jawando and community organizer Hoan Dang in the at-large race for County Council.

Leggett’s backing could help the two men further separate themselves from a field of more than 30 Democratic candidates hoping to win one of the four at-large seats up for grabs in the 2018 election.

Leggett is also backing two other men in the race—incumbent at-large council member Hans Riemer and the county’s former recreation director, Gabe Albornoz, who took a leave of absence from his county position to run for the at-large council seat.

Leggett said in a statement he endorsed Dang after serving with him on the board of the community group IMPACT Silver Spring. Leggett later appointed Dang to the County Executive’s Asian Pacific American Advisory Group and the Washington Suburban Transit Commission.

“Hoan’s extensive work serving Montgomery County residents shows that he’s a selfless public servant,” Leggett said. “This is demonstrated by his work to close the achievement gap as a board member of the George B. Thomas Sr. Learning Academy and his previous efforts to eliminate health disparities for our diverse community as co-founder of the Montgomery County Asian American Health Initiative.”

If elected, Dang, 51, of Wheaton, would become the first Asian-American to serve on the council. Dang said he hoped to follow in the footsteps of Leggett, who was the first African-American to serve on the council, before being elected county executive.

Leggett said he’s backing Jawando for his previous work as a public policy attorney on Capitol Hill and for President Barack Obama as well as for Jawando’s local work on the Summer R.I.S.E. career internship program that places high school students into three-week internships at local businesses.

“As an active, progressive community leader, Will understands the needs of Montgomery County and is committed to making our outstanding county even greater,” Leggett said in a statement.

Jawando, a 35-year-old Silver Spring resident, is running for local office for the third time in four years. He ran unsuccessfully for a delegate seat in District 20 in 2014, then for Congress in the 8th District in 2016.

Along with Leggett’s backing, Jawando has received endorsements from the Montgomery County Education Association, the local teachers union; UFCW Local 1994, a union that represents county employees; The Sierra Club; and the immigrant advocacy group CASA in Action. 

Dang served on the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee from 2010 to 2014 and unsuccessfully ran for a delegate seat in District 19 in 2010. He works as a program analyst for the government consulting firm Itility LLC.

Image above left: Hoan Dang and Leggett. Provided photo