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?”

Back to School!

When our son was tiny, my husband and I were both new teachers with more commitment than pay.

We relied heavily on community-based nursery schools, and these positive early experiences were fundamental to Matt’s success. When we moved to Rockville on only one income, the staff at the Twinbrook Community Recreation Center made sure “Matty Ice” felt welcome, did his homework, and honed his cooperation and teamwork skills. Having a safe, supportive place to be after school where he was mentored and held accountable set him up for success in other parts of his life. That it was affordable was a huge relief.

Quality, community-based childhood experiences, especially when rooted in play, are one of the greatest socio-economic levelers at our disposal, and a well-educated city is a catalyst for a healthy economy. Internships and opportunities for experiential learning at City Hall for high school seniors and MCC students is a way to bookend quality early education with immersive leadership training.

These experiences welcome our kids into the broader community, and pave the way for an educated, involved citizenry down the road.

Here’s what we’ll do:

  • Prioritize an Education Commission that includes MCPS and Montgomery College, including student leaders, as our partners.
  • Strengthen and expand our existing city-based early childhood and kids’ programs.
  • Create an ex-officio position on most Boards and Commissions for student leaders.
  • Protect the current school capacity limits included in the Adequate Public Facilities Standards as good partners to MCPS and good stewards of our children’s education.
  • Explore ways to make the City of Rockville more teacher-friendly through tax and housing credits.

Here’s what I’m reading:

Superville, Denisa. “In Some Cities, Closing Achievement Gaps Is Not For Schools To Fix Alone”. Education Week, 2019, https://www.edweek.org/ew/articles/2018/09/12/in-some-cities-closing-achieving-gaps-is.html. Accessed 8 July 2019.

White, Gillian B. “Better Schools, Better Economies.” The Atlantic, Atlantic Media Company, 9 Dec. 2015, www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2015/12/fixing-public-schools-for-a-better-economy/419526/.Accessed June, 2019

Gonzales, Ron. “The New York Times > College > College Specials > Mayors On Education | San José: 10 Ways A Mayor Can Help Improve Public Education”. Archive.Nytimes.Com, 2019, https://archive.nytimes.com/www.nytimes.com/ref/college/collegespecial3/coll_opinion_gonz.html?8bl.

Gross, Betheny. The Future of Education: How Cities Can Leverage Community Assets, Social Networks, and Personal Passions in Extending Their Learning Systems Beyond the Classroom, 2019, www.the74million.org/article/the-future-of-education-how-cities-can-leverage-community-assets-social-networks-and-personal-passions-in-extending-their-learning-systems-beyond-the-classroom/.

Do You Remember the First Time You Voted?

I was a sophomore at LSU in Baton Rouge when I had my first opportunity to vote. That year’s gubernatorial election featured a three-way race between incumbent Buddy Roemer, convicted felon Edwin Edwards, and KKK leader David Duke. Governor Roemer lost in Louisiana’s “jungle primary” and the choice was narrowed to Edwards and Duke, with Edwards, an early civil rights advocate, eventually winning in a landslide. It was an experience I’ll never forget.
 
Later, when Governor Roemer was a regular at the coffee shop I managed, I learned a few things from him that are as unforgettable as the first time I cast a ballot. As we talked about how to get a minor league baseball team to come to Baton Rouge and generally solved all the world’s problems, I noticed how much he cared about the people he had served and, for someone in their twenties who was unsure of what should come next, he gave me a sense of belonging to the broader community. Some of the best lessons I’ve learned over the years began with those conversations—success is measured by what you do for others, dignity stems from humility, and belonging starts with inclusivity. Governor Roemer reached out in a small way, but his welcoming and positive influence has impacted my life for over two decades.
 
The Together for Rockville campaign has one more project to accomplish—mailing a welcome postcard to newly registered voters. It’s a small thing, but by extending a hand to thousands of newly registered voters and including them in this election we make the Rockville community stronger.

Visit the “Join Us” page to learn how to make a difference.

Family date night at the poll. Matt’s been voting with us since he was in a baby carrier.