2021 | Politics

Kristin Mink, John Zittrauer announce bids in eastern County Council districts

Mink running in White Oak-based district, Zittrauer in North Bethesda-Silver Spring district

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Kristin Mink (left) and John Zittrauer

Submitted Photos

This story was updated at 12:30 p.m. Friday, Dec. 17, to include another candidate running for District 5.

Kristin Mink, a Silver Spring resident and former MCPS teacher, announced Thursday that she would switch from running an at-large campaign for County Council to run for a district based in East County.

Also on Thursday, John Zittrauer, a downtown Silver Spring resident, announced he would run in a district that spans from Takoma Park and downtown Silver Spring to North Bethesda.

In an interview, Mink, 37, said she was interested in addressing the issues of housing, economic development and public transportation in the newly drawn District 5, which includes White Oak, Burtonsville, Fairland and other eastern parts of the county.

The County Council finalized the new council districts map earlier this month. Voters will elect seven Council members from districts instead of the current five, and another four at-large seats.

Mink said the decision to run in a district instead of an at-large race was based on a “better fit” and not because she felt she would have a better chance of winning a district than a countywide race. She added it was “too early” to make those calculations. 

Like others who have decided to run for District 5, she said there has been a “historical lack of investment” in the region.

“When I saw I had the potential to be a dedicated representative for East County, that made me really excited, because for my entire life, I’ve seen the lack of investment … and the need is so great for someone to be a champion here,” said Mink, who lives in the Four Corners area of Silver Spring.

Others who have announced or are interested in running in District 5 include:

  • Daniel Koroma, the county’s business liaison officer
  • Brian Anleu, chief of staff to the Montgomery County Planning Board
  • William “Chip” Montier, a paralegal for Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and business analyst
  • Fatmata Barrie, a community organizer and attorney
  • Jeremiah Pope, a political fundraiser 

Zittrauer, who lives near the Silver Spring Metro station, said in an interview Thursday he was motivated to enter the race for District 4 — the so-called “bowtie” district covering North Bethesda, downtown Silver Spring and Takoma Park — because of a lack of diversity of “socioeconomic status” in elected officials in county government. 

Zittrauer, 39, works at Denizens Brewing Co. in Silver Spring, and said he lives in a moderately-priced dwelling unit nearby, something a lot of his colleagues can’t afford. Housing — not only affordable housing, but also housing for homeless people — is a key priority for him moving forward, he said.

He said that local government needs to focus more on efforts to reduce poverty, and improve transportation options for people upcounty who need to get downcounty for jobs, and vice versa.

It will be a challenge to represent a district with views that may be different in North Bethesda versus downtown Silver Spring and Takoma Park, Zittrauer said. But he added it “forces you to listen to multiple viewpoints … and build a broad coalition of people from multiple walks of life.” 

Ultimately, if elected, Zittrauer said he would try to be a voice for those lower on the socioeconomic ladder.

“In most local politics, we have been hearing a lot from the most affluent members of our society, and we haven’t been able to hear a lot from those without as much of a platform,” Zittrauer said. 

Others who have filed or have expressed interest in the District 4 seat include:

  • Takoma Park Mayor Kate Stewart
  • Friends of White Flint Executive Director Amy Ginsburg

Neither Mink nor Zittrauer has yet filed in their respective races as of Thursday, according to the state Board of Elections. 

The filing deadline is Feb. 22.

Steve Bohnel can be reached at steve.bohnel@bethesdamagazine.com