Neal Potter (1990-1994)

Neal Potter was elected as the fourth County Executive for Montgomery County on November 6, 1990, and was sworn in on December 3, 1990.

Born on March 22, 1915, in Arlington Virginia, he was raised on a farm in Cabin John, Maryland. A graduate of Bethesda-Chevy Chase High School, Potter later attended Johns Hopkins University and the University of Minnesota, where he received B.A. and M.A. degrees in economics and political science. He also performed graduate work in economics at the University of Chicago.

An economist with the Office of Price Administration from 1941-46, he went on to teach economics at Carnegie Tech (now Carnegie-Mellon) in Pittsburgh from 1946-47 and at Washington State College in Pullman, Washington from 1947-51. Potter served as Western Field Director for the World Federalists organization from 1952-54 before taking a research associate post with Resources for the Future, Inc., where he worked from 1955-74.

Prior to his election to the Montgomery County Council in 1970, Potter was active in a wide variety of civic activities. In 1960, he was the principal organizer of the Citizens Committee for Fair Taxation. He served as president of the Montgomery County Citizens Planning Association from 1965-67 and as editor from 1968-69. Potter also served as co-chairman of the Metropolitan Washington Coalition for Clean Air, as a board member of the Capital Area United Nations Association and as vice president of the World Federalist Association.

Potter began an unprecedented 20-year career on the County Council in 1970. He was reelected to his post in 1974, 1978, 1982 and 1986, serving three times as Council President. During his tenure, Potter played a leading role in Council actions on controlling development, fiscal affairs, tax legislation, sewage and transportation issues, and assessment inequities.

While on the Council, Potter sponsored bills to establish the Office of Public Advocate for Assessments and Taxation and the Montgomery County Conservation Corps. In addition, he authored Council-proposed State legislation on taxation, farmland preservation and farmland assessment. Potter was also instrumental in the formation of the Home Purchase Cost Investigation Committee.

Potter has served as president of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments and as chairman of several committees for both the National Association of Counties and the Maryland Association of Counties. His various group memberships include the Americans for Democratic Action, the Audubon Society, the Chevy Chase United Methodist Church and Common Cause. Potter is also a member of the NAACP, SANE/FREEZE, the United Nations Association and the World Federalist Association.

Honors he received since he has been in public office include the Governor's Citation, the Council of Government's Metropolitan Public Service Award and the Sentinel Newspaper's Citizen of the Year. He also was a recipient of the National Association of Counties' Distinguished Service Award, the Audubon Naturalist Society's Legislator of the Year Award and the Montgomery County Civic Federation's Citation for Distinguished Public Service. In 2009, County Executive Ike Leggett named the County's Path of Achievement Award – honoring County residents 60 years old or better whose accomplishments, enthusiasm, and lifelong commitment to volunteer service make them outstanding role models for those of all ages – after Neal Potter.