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Marc Elrich


Councilmember Marc Elrich

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Youth Town Hall meeting on Oct. 24th, 2018

Elrich with Chloe Apel
Councilmember Elrich with Chloe Appel of Magruder High School

This year’s Youth Town Hall meeting on Oct. 24th was standing room only, with hundreds of students carving out time on a school night to make their voices heard. Our local students had many concerns about bullying, mental health and special education resources, the need for more after-school programming, the achievement gap, the school calendar, climate change, and more.

Before the session began, this year's ten finalists in Councilmember Craig Rice's "Councilmember for a Day" competition were introduced, with Chloe Appel from Magruder High School selected as the winner and Alice Kahkajian, also from Magruder, the second place winner. Chloe will be an honorary member of the Council for a day, learning about local government and sharing the spotlight with the nine members of the Council. She wrote an excellent essay on the need for improved access to mental health services in schools and offered great insights into the problem during the Town Hall Meeting itself. Congratulations to all ten finalists, we look forward to your participation on school and county issues moving forward! You can watch the meeting here: Watch:


Public funds should not be used for synthetic surfaces on playgrounds and athletic fields

Below is testimony I submitted in support of Senator Roger Manno’s bill SB763, which would prohibit the use of state funds to construct or replace playgrounds or athletic fields made from synthetic surfaces. Delegate Aruna Miller has a companion bill, HB505, in the House of Delegates, and I also submitted testimony in support of her bill. Here are links to the bills:


I want to thank Senator Roger Manno for sponsoring SB 763, and I thank all of the supporters of this bill.

As an elected official, I am asked to fund the installation of artificial turf athletic fields and playgrounds made from ground up tires and/or synthetic rubber. Because of these requests, my staff and I have talked extensively with scientists, public health and grass experts, environmentalists, parents, and others regarding the use of these products.

Read more here...

Subdivision Staging Policy – yes, it’s confusing and boring, but it really matters!

Recently, the Council voted 8-1 to pass on the Subdivision Staging Policy. I am writing to explain my no vote.

Overall, the legislation did not do enough to warrant a yes vote, and modifying it now reduces our ability to make more substantive improvements later. The legislation will not accomplish its purpose, which is to insure that appropriate infrastructure is in place in advance of or congruent with future development.

In fact, it moves us toward abandoning any notion of adequate public facilities in the very areas where we’re planning the most intensive residential and commercial development. My colleagues did not support my proposal to extend the existing SSP for 9 months; the extension would have given us time to explore promising replacements for which we do not yet have enough information but will likely be available soon.

Below are some of the details of my concerns and comments about the SSP and why you should care about it. I’ve also included links to two memos I shared with my colleagues during the deliberations.

You can read the full letter here.
Here are the two memos I wrote to my colleagues during the discussion of the Subdivision Staging Policy.
Memo 1, Memo 2

Time to test artificial turf fields for lead and other toxins

My colleagues and I sent a letter to the County Executive asking that the publicly owned artificial turf fields be tested for lead and other toxic chemicals. I have long been concerned about the use of artificial turf but recent developments, including the acknowledgement by an artificial turf manufacturer representative that their artificial turf products do contain lead, has given a new urgency to the situation. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control, there is no safe level of lead for children. These fields potentially contain other materials that could be hazardous, especially for children, whose developing bodies are more vulnerable to toxins.

Below is the letter, which lays out the case for why testing of existing fields is needed. It is time to get the fields tested. I believe we should redirect our focus to the best possible grass fields for our children and our residents.

You can read the full letter here.

Elrich on Westbard Plan: "It is probably one of the worst planning decisions ever made"

Councilmember Elrich discusses his assessment of the Westbard Sector Plan, as approved by the Montgomery Planning Board in December 2015. The plan is now before the Council for its review. For more information about the status of the Council’s review of the Westbard Plan, go to Master Plans.

Have we planned for the growth coming to Montgomery County?

Yes, we have. Do we need to increase density in urban areas and elsewhere to accommodate the growth that’s coming? No. We have already planned for it. You may hear people talk about the forecasted number of new residents coming to Montgomery County in 2030 or 2040 and then talk about the urgency to plan for the projected growth by building more, increasing density and developing more to accommodate the influx.

But we HAVE planned for it. Those forecasts for 2030 and 2040 come from our own planning and zoning numbers. In other words, if we didn’t change a thing, we already have the zoning to accommodate the projected jobs and population.

Listen to this interchange between Councilmember Elrich and Paul Desjardin, the Director of the Office of Community Planning at the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments (MWCOG). The exchange runs from minute 14:57 to 20:44 on the audio below. This conversation occurred as part of the monthly meeting (March 18, 2015) of the regional Transportation Planning Board where Councilmember Elrich is a representative for Montgomery County.

Click to enlarge

Here’s the link to the document that goes with the discussion: item 11, Briefing on the COG Cooperative Forecasting Process The slide is on page 5 of the document.

Latest News

Featured News

Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the MacDonald Knolls Early Childhood Center


Nov. 1, 2018
I was delighted to attend the ribbon cutting ceremony for the MacDonald Knolls Early Childhood Center, which opened earlier this fall. Early childhood education is a critical component of serving our children. Too many of our students start kindergarten two years behind, which has serious long-term consequences for our children. There is a criticial link between brain development and early childhood education, so we need to focus our resources on these critical services.

Bus Rapid Transit Groundbreaking


Oct. 25, 2018
I was pleased to join the County Executive and colleagues at the groundbreaking for the Route 29 Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) route, now referred to as FLASH. Ten years ago, I laid out the routes for a BRT system to connect people from where they live to work; I was motivated by the realization that we could not reach our air quality goals without a commitment to public transit. I also understand that if we want to have development without exacerbating gridlock on our roads, we need a reliable transit system to give residents a viable alternative to their cars. The system is now part of the County’s master plan and the Route 29 route is an integral part of the system; I am hopeful that going forward, we will see quick progress on this and on other routes in the system.

When I included Route 29 on the BRT map ten years ago, people asked why, citing the lack of jobs in the East County. I explained that the purpose of the BRT is not just to solve the problems of the present, but to open up the doors to the future. As new jobs come to the area the residents along Route 29, like people everywhere, need reliable transportation to and from their jobs so they can spend more time with their families and less time in traffic. This is a first step in bringing the vision for BRT to fruition, and I look forward to seeing the entire system rolled out in the coming years. Find more information and hear some of my comments, as well as those of my colleagues.

Taxi Cab Cooperative

Anytime Taxi driver-owners at the business opening with Marc Elrich

I was delighted to attend the grand opening of a new driver-owned taxi cooperative, Anytime Taxi. I was proud to have had a part in helping create a path forward for a cooperatively owned taxi service, which was part of legislation the Council passed in July 2015. The legislation included an opportunity for a driver-owned cooperative that would provide handicapped-accessible vehicles to meet an ongoing unmet need for many individuals in this county. The new taxi service has launched with eight neon green vehicles!

East County Regional Job Fair


October 17th, 2018
I was delighted to attend the annual East County Regional Job Fair, focused on bringing employers together with job seekers. More than 600 people came out looking for employment, connecting with over 65 different employers. Workshops ranging from how to apply for federal jobs to growing your own business were also part of the event.

Kudos to Jewru Bandeh of the East County Regional Services Office for his hard work coordinating a successful event, along with sponsoring partners State Senator Craig Zucker, Delegate Anne Kaiser, Delegate Eric Luedtke, Delegate Pam Queen, Councilmember Tom Hucker, the Office of the County Executive, Montgomery County Recreation, Montgomery County Commission for Women, and Worksource Montgomery. An especially big thanks to the volunteers, including members of the East County Citizens Advisory Board Elisse Barnes, William Bentley, Samantha Blizzard, Chris Bolton, Kristina McConnell, Mark Pharaoh, Jerry Samet, John Smith, and former Chair Peter Myo Khin, as well as staff from the Department of Recreation, and the East County Community Resource Coordinators.

Thank you to everyone who participated and made this job fair a huge success!

Marc Elrich Supports State Minimum Wage Increase


On Thursday, March 8, I went to Annapolis and testified in support of Senator Rich Madeleno's bill SB543, which would raise the state minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2023. Here is a link to the bill:
Bill SB543

Testimony of Councilmember Marc Elrich In Support of Senate Bill 543 Labor and Employment - Payment of the Minimum Wage Required (Fight for Fifteen)

I am here to express my strong support for SB 543, which would raise the minimum wage to $15 by July 2023.

As you may know, I am the sponsor of a similar bill that passed the Montgomery County Council unanimously and was signed into law by the County Executive this past November.

Read more here...

Minimum wage increase - bill signing

Minimum Wage Increased to $15 – big step toward addressing poverty in our County

The Montgomery County Council unanimously passed Bill 28-17, which would raise the minimum wage in the County to $15 an hour. Councilmember Elrich is the lead sponsor of Bill 28-17.

Councilmember Elrich said, “This is huge. What we have done today is express our commitment to raising the wage to $15 for all workers in this county. People who work deserve to earn a decent wage. This bill will help them earn enough to put a roof over their heads, feed their families and not have to choose between food on the table and medical visits. It also includes indexing for inflation, which is essential to ensuring that wages increase at the same rate as our cost of living.

“I taught in a high-poverty school in Montgomery County for 17 years, and I saw up close the effects of poverty. I watched poor children come to school hungry and unable to focus on learning. Poor children live in homes where their parents are highly stressed about how they will be able to continue to afford rent and other basic necessities of life. That stress has an enormous impact on the children, and those impacts have lasting effects. When parents are worrying about keeping a roof over their heads, it is impossible for a child not to feel their parents’ uncertainty.”

Click here to read more on Minimum Wage Increased to $15 – big step toward addressing poverty in our County

Bill 19-15

 Councilmember Elrich's remarks during the bill signing for Bill 19-15, which will improve landlord-tenant issues

Montgomery Councilmember Marc Elrich applauds unanimous approval of Bill 19-15 to improve landlord-tenant issues

He was the lead sponsor of the legislation approved;
Councilmembers Nancy Navarro, Tom Hucker were co-sponsors

Montgomery County Councilmember Marc Elrich applauded his colleagues for unanimously approving Bill 19-15 that will improve landlord-tenant issues in a variety of ways. Councilmember Elrich was the lead sponsor of the legislation. Councilmembers Tom Hucker and Nancy Navarro were co-sponsors.

Councilmember Elrich said, "With passage of this bill, the Council takes a big step toward increasing protections for tenants and moving toward a rigorous housing inspection regime. I especially want to thank my colleagues, Councilmembers Nancy Navarro and Tom Hucker who stepped out at the beginning and co-sponsored this legislation. This bill has been a long time coming, and it is an important step toward helping tenants. Historically, tenant voices have been quiet, if not silent, for many reasons. I was particularly struck that there were no tenants on the affordable housing task force in 2008, even though tenants make up more than one-third of our County’s residents.

"Some of the important provisions in the bill include increased and improved inspections that will result in improved living conditions for many residents. My staff and I have visited units that were in disrepair and had not been inspected for years. In some cases, tenants feared contacting management and the County to address the situation. We also have heard about problems that go unfixed despite County citations directing the owners to make repairs. By expanding the number of units inspected and improving the process, it will relieve some of the pressure on tenants to ‘complain’ about problems in their units and the building. Additionally, tenants will have recourse—based on a clear process—to have repairs made in an efficient manner.

"This law will also give tenants more notice about upcoming rent increases. Too many tenants face unsustainable rent increases, and at least now, they will have 90 days’ notice of a rent increase. The bill requires that tenants be offered the choice of a one-year or two-year lease at each renewal.

"Tenants represent a large segment of our community, and for too long, they have been little noticed. Passage of this legislation is a significant step in acknowledging the need for reforms and improvements for residents in rental housing.

"I want to thank the many people and organizations who have been involved in this process for a long time—the County Executive and his staff, especially the director of the Department of Housing and Community Affairs, Clarence Snuggs; my colleagues on the Council; Council staff; the Renters Alliance; CASA; individual tenants; Board of Education member Jill Ortman-Fouse; State Senator Jamie Raskin; and countless others."

More information on Bill 19-15

Montgomery Council approves package of new protections for tenants - The Washington Post, November 29, 2016, by Bill Turque

News and Initiatives

Councilmember Marc Elrich on Bill 52-14

Legislation to address pesticide exposure is an important step toward protecting public health and the environment.

On October 6, the County Council passed legislation that restricts the use of pesticides on lawns, playgrounds, and children’s facilities. The legislation also puts the Parks Department on a path to pesticide-free athletic playing fields, beginning next year with a pilot program of five fields. In this video, Councilmember Elrich outlines the many public health and environmental reasons for enacting legislation to restrict the use of pesticides. In particular, at minute 9:15, he explains why we cannot rely on the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to protect us. Also, at minute 15:36, he explains one of the crucial reasons why he has come to the decision that pesticide regulation is essential.

You can read a summary of the bill HERE and the text of the bill HERE.

“I believe this legislation is an important step toward protecting our public health and environment,” Councilmember Elrich stated. “This legislation restricts the use of and exposure to pesticides, and it does so based on the scientific evidence,” he explained. “I think as the public understands the science, they will appreciate our action.” Click HERE to read about the public health, environmental and policy reasons for the need for this bill.


Bill 60-14 Human Rights and Civil Liberties Earned Sick and Safe Leave

In this video, Councilmember Elrich discusses the importance of paid sick and safe leave for hard-working families, many of whom are “a paycheck away from homelessness.” He also discusses the impact for smaller businesses, which is why he sponsored the successful amendment to reduce the paid portion of sick leave for the County’s smallest businesses. For more information on the newly-enacted law (identified as bill 60-14), go to Bill 60-14 for the Council packet. Here is the legislation as enacted

To read the news release: Montgomery County Council Unanimously Approves Earned Sick and Safe Leave Bill

Buffers from mega gas stations needed for public health

Councilmember Elrich is pleased to be joined by his colleagues Roger Berliner, Tom Hucker, Sidney Katz, Nancy Navarro and Hans Riemer in sponsoring his zoning text amendment (ZTA 15-07) that would prohibit mega gas stations within 500 feet of schools, residences, parks, day care, and environmentally sensitive areas., “Mega gas stations present a risk to the public health and general welfare of individuals nearby, and our existing law does not reflect the current scientific understanding that indicates a public health concern. Numerous, peer-reviewed, scientific studies document links between vehicle emissions and asthma, impaired lung function, and heart disease.” Read more...

Common-sense remedies for tenants

Councilmember Elrich has introduced bill 19-15 to implement many of the recommendations of the Tenant Work Group, where he represented the Council and worked with the County Executive, State Senator Jamie Raskin and diverse representatives of the tenant community. Councilmembers Nancy Navarro and Tom Hucker are co-sponsors of the legislation to bring “common-sense reforms to tenant laws.

I have long been interested in promoting strategies to preserve affordable housing and provide some security for renters,” Councilmember Elrich said. “These proposed reforms are first steps toward improving the quality of life for tenants, who now are about one-third of the county population.” Read more...

Council passes another fiscal year 2016 budget

The Montgomery County Council adopted a $5.08 billion total County operating budget for Fiscal Year 2016. The budget, which will take effect July 1, reflects a 1.7 percent increase over the approved budget for FY 2015. The Council also approved amendments to the Fiscal Years 2015-20 six-year Capital Improvements Program.

Councilmember Elrich thanked the County Executive “for sending the Council a recommended budget that reflects our collective values.” He also expressed his appreciation that he and his Council colleagues worked together on this “hold-the-line” budget. “While we would have liked to do more, we understand that we have budgetary constraints,” he explained. Read more...

The energy tax and its budgetary impact

Video on Councilmember Marc Elrich on Fuel/Energy Tax Rate

In this video, Councilmember Elrich discusses why the energy tax is an important way to raise money from entities that pay no other taxes to support the work in Montgomery County. He points out that Virginia has a substantial gross receipts tax that targets only the business community, and that the energy tax is progressive, by providing a disincentive to increasing energy use and reducing the need for increased property tax revenues, which only hit businesses and residences.

“Ban the Box”: an important step to level the playing field

Reform of our prison system and putting people to work have been two important themes nationally. In Montgomery County, we have taken a step in the right direction by giving former prisoners a fair chance at job applications through “ban-the-box” legislation. This law delays the point at which most potential employers can ask an applicant about a criminal background so that qualified applicants have an opportunity to make their case. It will not force an employer to hire someone, but will give them a chance to learn about someone they may not have otherwise considered.

This bill is about opportunity. We invest a lot of resources in rehabilitating those who pass through our criminal justice system and it is in all of our best interests for them to succeed,” said Councilmember Elrich. Read more...

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