Leggett Still Declines to Endorse Jealous

Leggett Still Declines to Endorse Jealous

Outgoing county executive cites policy differences with Democratic gubernatorial candidate on taxes, education and Amazon

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Ike Leggett, left, and Ben Jealous

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Montgomery County Executive Ike Leggett Thursday wasn’t shy about drawing a distinction between himself and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ben Jealous, who is challenging Republican incumbent Gov. Larry Hogan. The comments came during Leggett’s final online chat session before he leaves office at the end of the year.

Leggett has so far declined to endorse his party’s nominee in the governor’s race. During Thursday’s virtual town hall, Kensington resident Kathleen Holmay urged the county executive to get behind Jealous.

“Dear Ike, As a lifelong Dem I’m appalled that my county executive has some kind of distance thing going with the current Democratic candidate for governor of our state. Please just give it up and get 100% enthusiastically behind the Jealous campaign,” she wrote.

Leggett first responded that it was inappropriate for him to discuss political issues in the forum, but then proceeded to outline the main area where he and Jealous disagree.

Leggett wrote that Jealous’s income tax plan would result in 40 percent of state tax revenue coming from Montgomery County (Jealous has said he would raise taxes on the wealthiest 1 percent). Leggett added that he was worried that Jealous’ endorsement of the report from the Maryland Commission on Innovation and Excellence in Education, or Kirwan Commission, would negatively impact Montgomery County’s share of state education funds. One of the commission’s recommendations is to change the school funding formula in a way that prioritizes school districts with less money and resources. County spokesman Patrick Lacefield said that Leggett was overall supportive of the Kirwan Commission, but not that particular recommendation because it would result in a redistribution of wealth to less affluent jurisdictions in the state, resulting in less money for Montgomery County Public Schools.

Leggett also said he was concerned about Jealous’ lack of enthusiasm for Amazon potentially locating it’s second headquarters in the county.

But the county executive didn’t totally throw Jealous under the bus.

“I am optimistic, however, as Mr. Jealous and I continue to discuss these issues honestly and thoroughly we can find common ground,” he wrote.

Dan Schere can be reached at Daniel.schere@bethesdamagazine.com

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