Political Roundup: Comptroller Franchot to Seek Re-Election
Plus: Kagan will not run for county executive; at-large council candidate releases video promising not to raise taxes
Comptroller Peter Franchot, right
via Peter Franchot's Facebook page
Comptroller Peter Franchot to seek re-election
Peter Franchot, a Takoma Park resident who has been state comptroller since 2007, announced Thursday he will seek re-election to the post that oversees the state’s taxes and regulates the gas, tobacco and alcohol industries.
“With your support, I’ve worked every day to deliver the best customer service possible to the taxpayers who hired me, protect Maryland families from fraud and identity theft, and save your hard-earned money by fighting wasteful spending and debt,” Franchot wrote on his Facebook page.
Franchot, a Democrat, has warmed up to Republic Gov. Larry Hogan. Last year, Hogan and Franchot held a forum at the Bethesda North Marriot Hotel & Conference Center, where both state leaders criticized Montgomery County’s alcohol monopoly.
Franchot also supported Hogan’s initiative to start school after Labor Day and pushed with the governor for additional air conditioning in Baltimore County Public Schools.
Franchot won the 2014 election for comptroller with 62 percent of the vote. Republican Anjali Reed Phukan, of Ocean City, who unsuccessfully ran for a seat on the Montgomery County Board of Education in 2016, is the only other candidate to have filed to run for comptroller.
Kagan declines to run for county executive
State Sen. Cheryl Kagan (D-Rockville), who was considering entering the race for Montgomery County Executive, announced on Thursday that she will seek re-election to her District 17 senate seat instead.
She wrote on her Facebook page that Montgomery County’s delegation in (?) the state Senate is expected to see significant turnover and she wants to continue supporting progressive policies in the Legislature.
“Should the voters of District 17 elect me to another term, I will continue my work on issues including consumer protection, public safety, educational excellence, environmental protection, progressive social policies, and support for the nonprofit and business communities,” Kagan wrote.
Kagan has said she wanted to see a woman or minority candidate enter the race for the county government’s top job.
So far, Del. Bill Frick (D-Bethesda) and County Council members George Leventhal, Roger Berliner and Marc Elrich make up the Democratic field for county executive.
The only Republican vying for the post so far is Boyds defense attorney Robin Ficker.
At-large County Council candidate promises no increase in property taxes, review of bag tax and speed cameras
Neil Greenberger, the former spokesman for the County Council who was transferred to the county’s public information office after announcing his at-large council campaign, released a YouTube video criticizing the council members for whom he used to work.
“We pay a lot of money in taxes to support our county, but lately, some of our elected officials have been spending our money like we were ATMs,” Greenberger, a Democrat, said.
He promised he would not vote to raise property taxes in the county if elected. He noted that due to a charter amendment, any significant property tax increase requires a unanimous council vote.
“Using that law, I will guarantee that your property taxes do not exceed the charter limit for the next four years,” Greenberger said.
He also said in the video he thinks the county should “review the bag tax problem,” the law that requires shops to charge 5 cents for a plastic bag. He criticized the speed camera program, too.
“Do we really want some of those speed cameras hidden behind bushes or down slopes?,” Greenberger asked. “The Montgomery County I know is better than that.”
Greenberger is running for one of the four at-large seats on the council against 17 other Democrats who have filed. The field is expected to continue to grow before the Feb. 27 filing deadline. The primary election is June 26.