Miss Petra

When I was a classroom teacher for at-risk students, many of whom were immigrants, I had a truly wonderful teacher’s aide who was herself an immigrant from Germany. Miss Petra had married and raised two children, and still had a green card because the immigration system is so convoluted, expensive, and difficult that she had started and stopped the process many times over. We spoke often of our students, and if she was struggling with the immigration system what must they and their families be going through?

Before the 1965 Hart-Cellar Act ended the immigration quota system, immigrants from Europe had a much easier time entering our country and obtaining citizenship than any group has had since. After Federal changes to immigration law in 1996, it has generally become even harder to obtain lawful entry into the United States.

Rockville has taken steps to create a safe, welcoming environment for immigrants, regardless of status, while balancing our relationships with County and Federal law enforcement. In addition to creating a safe and welcoming community, we need to take steps to help our immigrant neighbors without residency documents come forward and let us help them gain proper status. They shouldn’t have to rely on the whims of government for their personal security.

The divisiveness we’ve experienced over this issue makes it clear that we need to pay more attention to supporting our immigrant neighbors. Appointing a city-wide task force to evaluate the need for a Commission on immigration and inclusion of immigrants, and to decide if a staff position is needed, is a first step in meeting the level of commitment we’ve made towards a peaceful, diverse community.

My family moved to Rockville because we wanted more—more diversity, more languages, more friends from different backgrounds, more experiences, and more opportunities. We have not been disappointed. Our immigrant neighbors are an essential part of the diversity we celebrate.

Miss Petra finally obtained citizenship four years ago, with her grandchildren in attendance. It took decades and thousands of dollars.

What I’m reading:

Greenstone, Michael, and Adam Looney. “Ten Economic Facts About Immigration.” Hamilton Project, Brookings Institute, 2010, www.hamiltonproject.org/assets/legacy/files/downloads_and_links/09_immigration.pdf.

Kerr, Juliana, et al. “This Is What Immigration Reform Looks Like.” CityLab, Atlantic Monthly Group, 23 Jan. 2018, https://www.citylab.com/equity/2018/01/want-immigration-reform-look-to-cities/551261/.


The ballots are out! Rockville is making history as the first city in Maryland to launch a vote-by-mail election.

Ballots back in the box same day! #voterockville @rockvilleforward!

I’m proud of our City, and I’m especially proud of my campaign. I had some of the best people I know helping, and we’ve run a very tight, fiscally responsible campaign. I made it clear to my friends and supporters at the beginning that I wanted a super-local, no outside political groups or non-profits with political affiliations campaign that respected people’s hard-earned paychecks and limited time. We did exactly that. We ran a campaign about issues focused on elevating our shared experiences and enhancing our quality of life.

I’m asking that you vote for me so that we can move Rockville forward, together.

Please return your ballots no later than November 5 at 8 p.m! If you haven’t mailed it by October 29, I strongly encourage you to take it to City Hall, 111 Maryland Avenue, and return it to the silver vote-by-mail drop box in the parking lot.

For fun, post a photo of yourself on Facebook and use #voterockville, @suzan4rockville1, @rockvilleforward.

I’ve loved meeting so many of you, and I hope we keep in touch beyond November 5!

King Farm Chronicle Election 2019 Issue, page 16: http://www.kingfarm.org/picture/188october_king_farm_chronicle_2019.pdf

Twinbrook Community Association Questionnaire: https://www.twinbrookcommunity.org/suzan-pitman-2019

City of Rockville Candidate Page: https://rockvillereports.com/suzan-pitman/

We All Walk on the Same Sidewalks

Rockville elections are non-partisan and, when we’re at our best, driven by a sincere desire to serve the City and its people, not by adherence to an ideology.

The National League of Cities lists “Cooperation between elected officials belonging to different parties is more likely,” as a positive thing about non-partisan city councils. While our priorities might be guided by one set of beliefs or another, local governance should be about elevating the daily lives and shared experiences of each of us, and all of us together.

Non-partisan elections require candidates to talk about who they are through sharing a vision and a plan for implementing the needs of the City, rather than just saying, “I’m this party’s candidate” and allowing assumptions to be made based on broad brushstroke definitions.

The number of times I’ve been asked about my political affiliation while talking to voters across the City is notable. Even when I mention that Rockville elections are non-partisan, there seems to be a pressing desire to know. So I answer directly, and try to steer the conversation back to our sidewalks and streets, our parks and our growth.

I heard from a neighbor a couple of weeks ago that one of the county-level political parties has endorsed a City Council candidate. There is also evidence that special interest groups associated with a political party are ready to bring in resources from the county and state to support certain other candidates. The spirit of non-partisanship and cooperation across all divisions for the good of the city we love might be sacrificed in favor of a “win at any cost” approach to our local election. More than any other issue, this strikes at the heart of the question, “Who are we, and who do we want to be?”