Council Member Sidney Katz will succeed Nancy Navarro as president of the Montgomery County Council following a year-long term as vice president.
Council Member Tom Hucker, in turn, will succeed Katz as vice president.
Council members unanimously approved both appointments at a meeting on Tuesday, following a video presentation from Navarro that heralded their achievements in 2019.
“I want to take a moment to thank those in my life who have made this year extremely rewarding,” Navarro said Tuesday, thanking her family first. “… Also, my council colleagues — you guys have all been extraordinary, especially in this very unique and historic year of transition.”
Topping Navarro’s list of accomplishments was the Racial Equity and Social Justice Act of 2019, which the council passed unanimously in November. County Executive Marc Elrich signed it into law on Tuesday afternoon.
Navarro and Elrich began collaborating on the initiative in 2018, but equity initiatives — and passing legislation to codify them into law — have been a priority for Navarro since her tenure on the Montgomery County school board.
Council presidents often use their platform to champion certain legislative priorities. Katz said he would focus on economic development, which has taken on renewed urgency since a 2018 report found that Montgomery County’s economy had been underperforming for years.
The council announced a new economic development platform last month. It requires council committees to come up with work plans for housing, transportation, business development and workforce development.
Katz has attended work groups with local business owners — a collaboration with Elrich — and worked on ways to streamline the county’s procurement process for local contractors.
“We’re working through a lot of those development issues right now,” Katz said in an interview after the vote on Tuesday. “We’re trying to figure out what legislative changes we might need and whether there are regulations the county executive could introduce without legislation.”
As for Hucker, being elected vice president gave him “massive authority,” he joked of the largely ceremonial position. The council’s vice president fills in when the president isn’t available, and both officers frequently work together to push through major legislation. Hucker said he’s already met with Katz to express his support.
Hucker will continue as chair of the council’s Transportation and Environment committee. He also plans stay involved with the Montgomery County delegation; he previously served two terms as a state delegate for District 20.
“It’s still day 1,” he said after Monday’s vote. “I think we’re still deciding what the rest of the year is going to look like.”