2020 | Politics

County residents, officials celebrate Biden’s victory

Officials hope transition will mean more federal assistance to jurisdictions

Oliver Moss of Bethesda waves an American flag during a car rally celebrating President-elect Joe Biden on Saturday afternoon.

Photo by Briana Adhikusuma

People waved American flags, banged tambourines and cheered. Some cars blasted songs such as “America the Beautiful,” “Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye,” and “FDT” — a song title which stands for “f*** Donald Trump.”

About 50 people gathered in a parking lot of Montgomery Mall in Bethesda Saturday afternoon to celebrate Democrat Joe Biden’s victory over President Donald Trump. After about 30 minutes, they formed a car train to drive to the Lord & Taylor parking lot in White Flint and then to Richard Montgomery High School in Rockville.

Lisa Fuller, founder of MoCo Women, said she organized the car rally because the county needs to “scream for joy.”

“I really can’t digest it yet. … We have a few months ahead of us of interesting things that might happen but we’re just delighted,” Fuller said. “We’re delighted for our children and our grandchildren. … We just want what’s best for our country.”

Fuller said she has some concern of potential clashes or violence from residents who aren’t happy about the election results.

“I don’t usually wear my [Biden] shirt but I did today,” she said.

County Executive Marc Elrich told Bethesda Beat in a phone interview Saturday afternoon that the county’s police department is prepared if any violence erupts.

Celebrations also took place in downtown Silver Spring Saturday afternoon. Residents posted videos on Twitter of people dancing and singing in the plaza outside of the Silver Spring Civic Building.

The department has been coordinating with other departments across the region, as well as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, for weeks on what to expect and how to handle any potential unrest, Elrich said.

“I have no idea what [President Donald Trump’s] supporters will do and where they will do it,” Elrich said. “I don’t know if they’re going to absorb this or do ugly things . Hopefully they don’t do ugly things — hopefully nobody does ugly things. There is no point to dragging out the fighting anymore.”

County Council President Sidney Katz said in a phone interview on Saturday afternoon that he hopes there isn’t any sort of violence as well.

“I know that people who wanted President Trump to continue are certainly disappointed as we were in the last election when President Trump was elected,” he said. “I believe that people will do what is right and make certain that democracy continues the way it should. I’m very, very hopeful that there will be no issues associated with it.”

Elrich said Biden’s election is cause for “hope for the first time in four years. … I think he’s going to do OK if we can get Republicans to actually sit down and work with the Democrats,” he said. “They can obstruct for four years or they can try to solve some of the problems out there.”

Elrich also hopes that the transition of power means more federal assistance for the county and other local jurisdictions to help with the response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re struggling because the federal government took itself out of play and left the burden entirely to localities and even the state governments,” he said. “They’ve got the resources to do things that would make a difference. … I’m confident that Biden will approach this as something we’re all in together and hopefully the Republicans will realize that the aid they give will flow to red states as well as blue states.”

Council Member Evan Glass said Saturday morning that he hopes Biden will look to the assistance that local governments need since he previously served as a council member for New Castle County in 1970.

“He knows the importance of local government,” Glass said. “I am hopeful that he will provide financial support and relief to localities across the county as we continue dealing with this COVID crisis.”

Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris’s election will “restore” dignity, honor and inclusive values to the government, he said.

“I hope that the president will respect the will of the voters and allow for the peaceful transition of power,” Glass said.

Council Member Nancy Navarro said that she was feeling relieved and optimistic Saturday morning.

“This has been four very long years. I think particularly for communities of color [and] immigrant communities,” she told Bethesda Beat. “I think that even elected officials of color have had to carry an extraordinary, extra burden during these years.”

Navarro is one of two Hispanic council members and the only female council member.

Harris’s win as the first female vice president, as well as the first woman of color in the position, is thrilling, Navarro said. Harris is Black and South Asian.

“That is just music to my ears on so many levels. It’s extraordinary,” she said. “She embodies so much of what our country has to offer. She reflects and represents this amazing story of the American dream and also, I think she is able to embody the extraordinary value of women in leadership at that level.”

Council Member Gabe Albornoz, the other Hispanic member on the council, said he was holding back tears on Saturday morning and watched as his two daughters gleamed while watching Harris make history.

“We have needed leadership from the federal government on so many issues, especially in response to the pandemic,” he said. “This gives me hope that we get the leadership that we need. I’m confident that we’re going to heal and move forward as a community and a country.”

In a statement released Saturday afternoon, Democratic Sen. Chris Van Hollen of Kensington,praised Biden and Harris’s win.

“Our country faces enormous challenges, but by electing this historic ticket, the American people will have two seasoned leaders at the helm, able and prepared to do the hard work required to lead us forward,” he said.

Other county and state officials also celebrated and remarked on Biden’s win on social media.

County Council Member Will Jawando

Council Vice President Tom Hucker

County Council Member Craig Rice

County Council Member Andrew Friedson

Democratic Rep. David Trone

Democratic Rep. John Sarbanes

Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin

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