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County Executive Marc Elrich

Overview

Marc Elrich was elected as Montgomery County Executive on Nov. 6, 2018. He had previously served three terms (12 years) on the Montgomery County Council as an at-large member, being first elected in 2006. He served as a Councilmember on the Takoma Park City Council from 1987-2006. For 17 years, he was a teacher at Rolling Terrace Elementary School in Takoma Park.

As a County Councilmember, he was the chief sponsor of several landmark pieces of legislation and programs. He led the successful effort to increase the Montgomery County minimum wage in coordination with surrounding jurisdictions to $11.50 an hour and subsequent legislation that will eventually increase the minimum wage to $15 an hour. He was the first elected official to propose building a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system throughout the County to address Montgomery's transportation and environmental problems. Ground was broken in Fall 2018 for the first BRT line, which will run along Route 29.

Throughout his political career, he has been a champion of improving tenants' rights and for making developers pay for a greater share of the infrastructure cost to build schools and transportation solutions. He was a leader in the fight to preserve Ten Mile Creek in the Clarksburg area by limiting the proposed development that would have threatened the health of Montgomery County's last best stream which flows into the County's backup water reservoir.

County Executive Elrich's story

Personal Background

Marc was born in Washington, D.C., and moved to Montgomery County at a young age. He attended McKenney Hills Elementary School, Montgomery Hills Junior High School and Einstein High School. After attending the University of Maryland, he and his wife raised their family in Takoma Park: daughter Jamie and sons Josh, Dougie and John. John and Dougie, who they fostered, have Down syndrome. John, now 52, still lives with Marc. Jamie, her husband Victor and their children live around the corner from Marc—in a house he built.

Getting Involved in Politics

Marc says his observation of racial injustice is a large part of what motivated him to get involved in politics. Growing up, he witnessed "blockbusting" firsthand when a real estate agent came to his door to talk to his mother. "The idea that my mother was being told that black families moving into a neighborhood would depress the property values and destroy the neighborhood sounded wrong to me then," said Marc.

By 1958 at the age of 9, Marc said most of his friends were black. He had the growing realization was that they were not treated the same way he was and did not have the same opportunities he had. He participated in Dr. King's March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and got involved in the civil rights movement. As a student at the University of Maryland, he worked to desegregate the campus bookstore, College Park businesses and local apartments. He also got actively involved in the Vietnam anti-war movement.

He started doing community and tenant organizing in Montgomery County around 1980. In the 1990s he was active in numerous resident efforts for more responsible land-use policies, including the fights to prevent three mall projects from being built in downtown Silver Spring. He advocated for the alternative of build street-facing, street activating retail, which essentially was what was finally built there.

"I ran for elected office because I thought I could make more of an impact on these and other issues in more systemic ways than I could ever make given three minutes to testify in front of a microphone," he said.

Achievements as a County Councilmember

Marc was elected to his first term as an at-large member of the Montgomery County Council (representing the entire county) in 2006. He served on the Public Safety Committee (named as committee chair in 2014) and on the Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee from 2006-2014, the on the Education Committee Dec. 2014 to Dec. 2018. He also represented the County Council at the Transportation Planning Board of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments.

Marc's accomplishments on the Council include:

  • Leading two successful efforts to raise the County minimum wage, including the legislation that will eventually increase it to $15 an hour.
  • Developing and advocating for the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system to connect people from where they live to where they work. Ground was broken for the first line in the system (along the Route 29 corridor) in fall 2018.
  • Advocating for developers to pay more for schools and traffic solutions.
  • Taking the lead in the successful fight to save Ten Mile Creek in the Clarksburg area from overdevelopment.
  • Strengthening tenant rights through legislation after serving on the Tenant Work Group.
  • Advancing paid family and sick leave legislation.
  • Saving taxpayers millions of dollars by insisting on more efficient building designs.
  • Restoring small business assistance funding.
  • Shielding the C&O Canal from construction in the viewshed.
  • Fighting for the elimination of cosmetic pesticides and tire waste on playgrounds and fields.
  • Working with residents from Long Branch to Bethesda to Clarksburg to protect neighborhoods by improving master plans.
  • Giving a second chance to people with criminal records by "banning the box" on job applications that asks about convictions and incarceration.
  • Banning investment of County funds in companies doing business in Sudan because of government human rights atrocities.

Experience as an Elected Official and Teacher

Marc was first elected to the Takoma Park City Council in 1987 and served until 2006, when he was first elected to the County Council. As part of the Takoma Park Council, he was involved in immigrant rights, sanctuary legislation, strengthening the city's rent stabilization law, passing a law recognizing domestic partnerships, creating day laborer sites and introducing and passing resolutions opposing both Iraq wars.

From 1989 to 2006, he also taught at Rolling Terrace Elementary School in Takoma Park, one of the highest-poverty public schools in Montgomery County. While teaching, he also attended Johns Hopkins University where he earned a Master's in Teaching. He taught fourth grade for 14 years and fifth grade for three years.

"My experience teaching was what reinforced to me that, if we really want to close the opportunity gap and help kids succeed, we need to address the destabilizing impacts of poverty," said Marc. "Kids experience stress when they don't know where they are going to live the next month, and it is really hard to ask a kid whose stomach hurts on Monday morning because he or she has not eaten a hot meal since Friday lunch to focus on school. I have seen firsthand how helping families economically can have a major impact on kids' lives."

 

 

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