2021 | Government

County selects 11 residents to help draw new council boundaries

Montgomery will expand from five council districts to seven in 2022

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Montgomery County approved two new County Council members in November, which means two more districts.

The county’s five districts will now need to be divided into seven, starting with the 2022 election. The council will expand from 9 to 11 members.

There are currently four at-large members and five district members.

To determine how the boundaries will be drawn for 2022, the County Council appointed an 11-member Redistricting Commission on Tuesday to provide a plan and report by Nov. 15.

The county received 108 applications to serve on the commission. The county picked 32 people to be interviewed and chose 11 for the commission.

The county’s charter requires that the commission include one to four members of each political party that polled at least 15% of the total vote cast for all candidates for the council in the most recent regular election.

The charter also requires that at least one commission member live in each district. No one elected to public office may serve on the commission.

The 11 residents who were appointed, with their political affiliation in parentheses, include:
Imad Aldean “Dean” Ahmad of Bethesda (Libertarian), District 1: president of the Minaret of Freedom Institute and president and chief scientist of Imad-ad-Dean. Ahmad also serves as a member of the North American Association of Islamic and Muslim Studies, Association of Muslim Chaplains, the History of Science Society, International Astronomical Union, and the American Astronomical Society. Ahmad received an A.B. in astronomy from Harvard University and a Ph.D in astrophysics from the University of Arizona.
Laura Ard of Bethesda (unaffiliated), District 1: retired and active in the Lobby Corps Committee with the League of Women Voters. She previously worked as a lead financial sector specialist for the World Bank and received a B.A. in business from Baylor University.
Mariana Cordier of Potomac (unaffiliated), District 3: an attorney and founding member of Cordier Law Office in Rockville. She is also a member of the Maryland Hispanic Bar Association and previously served on the governor’s Commission on Hispanic Affairs and in the Montgomery County Latin American Advisory Group. She received a Juris Doctorate from Washburn University School of Law and a B.A. in political science from American University.
Keshia Desir of Wheaton (unaffliliated), District 4: census and mass incarceration project manager for nonprofit Common Cause in Washington, D.C., and a member of its Redistricting and Representation Team. She received a B.A. in psychology from Florida Gulf Coast University and a M.A. in political science from American University.
Arthur Edmunds of Laytonsville (Democrat), District 2: outgoing chair of the Montgomery County Upcounty Citizens Advisory Board and a member of the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee. He previously served in the Global Business Services group of IBM. He received his B.A. from Benedict College and an MBA from Atlanta University.
Valerie Ervin of Silver Spring (Democrat), District 5: a special assistant at Prince George’s County Public Schools. She previously served as a Montgomery County Council member for seven years and as council president in 2011. She received a Master’s degree in public policy and administration from the University of Baltimore and a B.A. in labor studies from the National Labor College.
Bruce Goldensohn of Gaithersburg (Republican), District 3: a member of the Montgomery County Board of Appeals and a commissioner on the governor’s Commission on Service and Volunteerism. He previously served as a member of the planning commission, and as a council member and mayor for Gaithersburg. He received a B.A. in government and politics from Queens College.
Jason Makstein of North Potomac (unaffiliated), District 2: a software engineer for Leidos focusing on air traffic control for the Federal Aviation Administration. He received a B.S. in computer science from Penn State University and a M.S. in computer science from Johns Hopkins University.
Nilmini Rubin of Chevy Chase (Republican), District 1: co-founder and managing director of Fix the System, a D.C.-based coalition of organizations advocating for election integrity, campaign finance reform and voting rights. She previously served as the executive vice president at Tetra Tech. She received a B.A. in economics and development studies from the University of California, Berkeley, and an MBA from the Haas School of Business.
Samuel “Sam” Statland of Kensington (Democrat), District 1: former president and co-founder of financial services company Statland & Katz in Silver Spring, which advised nonprofit and health care organizations. He serves as a member of the Montgomery County Public Election Finance Committee and a board member of the Greater Silver Spring Chamber of Commerce. He received his B.A. in political science from American University.
David Stein of Silver Spring (Democrat), District 5: a math teacher in the Math, Science and Computer Science Program at Montgomery Blair High School. He also serves as the head Montgomery County Education Association building representative for the school and as the elected faculty representative for the Instructional Leadership Team. He received his Master’s of Education from the University of Maryland and a B.A. in political science from the University of Michigan.

Until the commission elects its own chair and vice chair, the council appointed Edmunds acting chair and Cordier acting vice chair.

County Council President Tom Hucker said during the council’s meeting on Tuesday that he was grateful to everyone who applied for the commission.

“We could only select 11 individuals, but we all know all our applicants would serve the county well and we hope they stay involved in many ways and continue to volunteer in other capacities because we need their talents and energy,” he said.

Council Members Evan Glass and Nancy Navarro said that although the commission is required to provide a plan and report by Nov. 15, earlier is better.

“While they thoughtfully and deliberatively do their work, it would, I think, be helpful to the residents of Montgomery County, the voters of Montgomery County, and those who wish to serve Montgomery County, to provide a map as soon as possible so that campaigns can begin and people can share their visions for a county with as many residents as possible,” he said.

Navarro said time will pass quickly and people will be making plans for running for the council in 2022.

“There isn’t that much time left to figure all those things out,” she said. “I think it would be great for the commission to know this is important, that they can definitely move up that deadline.”

Briana Adhikusuma can be reached at briana.adhikusuma@bethesdamagazine.com.