Andrew in the News

News Archive 2022 - 2018

Symbol of the fight against racial segregation gets historic designation in Montgomery Co.
July 20, 2023 - WTOP

When the council took its vote, Council member Andrew Friedson told his colleagues that preserving the history of what he called the “the architecture of racial segregation” creates a way to “educate the public, provide spaces to deliberate past and modern race relations, and discuss social justice and tolerance.”

Montgomery council torn over 6% rent cap compromise
July 17, 2023 - The Washington Post

“Certain bad actors were charging egregious increases that were incredibly disruptive,” said the council’s vice president, Andrew Friedson (D-District 1), who co-sponsored one of two competing proposals to address the problem. “No one on council thought that was reasonable.”...Although Friedson voted against the compromise bill in committee and said he has grave concerns that the 6 percent cap is too low and will exacerbate the county’s housing shortage, he said he will wait to make a final decision about the legislation until Tuesday, when at least 14 amendments will be debated.

Local leaders show their support for the Jewish community
July 5, 2023 - MoCo360

“Antisemitism is a conspiracy-based hatred, and conspiracy-based hatreds are very difficult to fight because…the response to it can reinforce it at the same time,” Friedson says. “If you don’t call it out, then you are normalizing and allowing antisemitism to fester…but when you call it out, it’s used to prove the conspiracy.”...Friedson notes that, “To a certain extent, what has changed [across the world] is the ability for like-minded people to find each other on social media, for people to be radicalized without leaving their house, without going to a meeting. …There used to be secret meetings where radical people used to get together in the middle of the night…now those radical meetings happen every single second of every single day, and nobody has to move in order to let them happen.”...“We still live in an inclusive and welcoming community where people are not only tolerant but are appreciative of a diversity of faiths and backgrounds and race and language,” Friedson adds, “but it doesn’t take a majority of people to make places feel unsafe.”

Historic Tour Through Montgomery County Takes Guests Back in Time
June 28, 2023 - The Washington Informer

“The story of this place was a story that was born in exclusion, but also emerged a revolution,” said Montgomery County Councilmember Andrew Friedson (D- District 1)...“This was a significant struggle that was occurring in the ‘Summer of Change,’ as it was called in 1960. It was the student-led group at Howard University and allies,” Friedson emphasized.

County Moves Closer to Adding Science Lab Center in North Bethesda
June 22, 2023 - Montgomery Community Media

“This is going to bring high-quality jobs and life-changing research and life-saving techniques to Montgomery County,” declared Council Vice President Andrew Friedson.

Directors Confirmed to Departments of Health and Human Services, Environmental Protection
June 22, 2023 - Montgomery Community Media

“I don’t know if there are three more important areas that the county focuses on than health and human services, environmental protection and housing,” said Council Vice President Andrew Friedson.

Affordable housing and rent control take center stage at Montgomery County town hall

June 21, 2023 - WJLA
“We have a lot more work to do in the affordable housing crisis,” said Montgomery County Councilman Andrew Friedson.“We have a historic crisis, but we have done more in the last five years than we have ever done. We have a lot of catching up to do but we have not built nearly enough to meet the needs of residents,” Friedson added.

Montgomery County Councilmember Mink apologizes for language in 2019 tweets about ‘Zionist jews’
June 15, 2023 - MoCo360
“It really is my hope that these conversations will help build bridges and foster greater understanding so that we can actually bring people together to combat the scourge of antisemitism, Islamophobia, homophobia, and racism and all forms of bigotry,” Friedson said. “I think it’s important to recognize that our words matter, especially those of us in positions of power, that we have to use them to heal, not to harm, and listen to each other rather than label each other.”

Gainey administration seeks to invest tens of millions in affordable housing
June 11, 2023 - Pittsburgh Union Progress
Andrew Friedson, the current vice president of Montgomery County Council, told the Union Progress that the first housing fund went over so well that a new one with $50 million is being spun up to provide similar loans to nonprofit developers for purchases of existing affordable housing units. “I think the biggest thing here is being creative about addressing our housing needs,” he said. “Making sure that we recognize that we’re in a crisis in order to address it.”

Community unites to rebuild Scotland A.M.E. Zion Church
May 26, 2023 - MoCo360

County Councilman Andrew Friedson has championed the project since its inception. “I’m deeply connected to the community and its history. This is about restorative justice and about righting historical wrongs,” says the Democratic representative of District 1, where the church is located. “We have the opportunity to really work together with the community to ensure that this structure that is such an important part of the fabric and history of our community can stand for another 100 years.” 

Montgomery Council Council to raise taxes, boost school funding
May 25, 2023 - The Washington Post

Friedson opposed any tax increase, which he argued could have been avoided by making cuts to the budget and undergoing a significant restructuring of the county government by getting rid of hundreds of vacancies. He also voiced strong opposition to the budget, despite voting to approve it, because of the looming deficit that the council will have to reconcile next year.  “Everything is in jeopardy by taking this approach next year and the years that follow,” he said.

Montgomery County budget compromise raises property taxes, taps reserves
May 25, 2023 - The Washington Post

Council member Andrew Friedson (D-District 1) said in an interview that the council could have balanced the budget without raising taxes if it had been willing to make tough choices, such as cutting new government positions from the budget or repurposing job vacancies instead of adding more than 100 new roles even as nearly 1,500 positions remain vacant after pandemic-era staffing erosion.  “We had a choice, and we continue to have a choice, of whether we live within our means,” Friedson said...  The council approved the use of $159.3 million of one-time funds to balance the budget this year, meeting recurring expenses including expanding the budgets of many county departments by 5 to 20 percent after several years of budgetary stasis or reductions during the pandemic. The budget also adds significant funding for public schools and policing, and it supports affordable-housing options for county residents.  “Next year we have no way to pay for that,” Friedson said. 

Montgomery Co. Council to make final decision on $6.7B budget, including property tax hike
May 24th 2023 - WJLA

Council members Andrew Friedson, Will Jawando, Kristin Mink and Kate Stewart voted against the increase. Several members expressed concerns, saying some hard decisions were avoided by approving a smaller tax increase, but they will be back at the drawing table next year. “The nearly 5% rate under consideration today is far better than what the county executive proposed. However with rising assessments, cost pressures on residents and families, and looming economic certainties, I have deep concerns with a property tax increase especially if this size at this time,” said Council Vice President, Andrew Friedson.

WMATA's new visionary bus network design could add Tysons-to-Bethesda route, among others
May 24, 2023 - WJLA
“Increasingly our workforce used to work either in Montgomery County or downtown D.C. and more and more we are seeing people live in certain parts of this region and work in others,” Friedson said. He added, “Having better alternative for residents to get from Bethesda to northern Virginia or vice versa will be a boon to our businesses.”

Council Vice President Andrew Friedson's Statement On the FY24 Operating Budget and Amended FY23-28 Capital Improvements Program
May 19, 2023 - EIN Presswire

In preliminary budget vote, Montgomery Co. Council OKs nearly 5-cent property tax hike
May 19, 2023 - WTOP News

“This budget funds many critical priorities, but it doesn’t make the type of tough decisions needed to avoid tougher and harder decisions next year and beyond,” Friedson said.

Split straw poll indicates 4.7% property tax increase
May 18, 2023 - MoCo360

“I have deep concerns about this budget that was predicated from the start on a false narrative that a 10% property tax increase was needed to fund education,” Friedson said. He criticized Elrich for pushing for a budget that required a tax increase and leaving the council with the work of sorting it out.

Councilmembers Support 4.7-Cent Property Tax Increase
May 18, 2023 - Montgomery Community Media (

“I have deep concerns about this budget that was predicated from the start on a false narrative that a 10% property tax increase was needed to fund education,” said Friedson, who added the 4.7-cent rate is “far better” than what was proposed by Elrich, but he has deep concerns about an increase.

Bill would eliminate People's Counsel attorney on land-use issues
May 17, 2023 - MoCo360
Friedson said in an interview that he proposed this legislation to still give residents a land use resource in absence of an attorney.  “This would provide a more objective standard to allow for residents to have help and support in understanding the land use process,” Friedson said...  “Land use is an extremely complicated process; it is very difficult to understand even for experts. It is unreasonable to expect everyday residents to understand it enough to engage without resources,” Friedson said.

Artie Harris to serve as Planning Board chair
May 17, 2023 - MoCO360

“I believe that Josh Linden is someone who will help us to seize opportunities and to help us guide them to fruition. As a member of the planning board, Mr. Linden will bring a holistic mindset with significant relevant policy experience regionally and unmatched knowledge of best planning practices from other jurisdictions throughout the country,” Friedson said during his nomination of Linden on Tuesday.

Harris Chosen as Planning Board Chair Over Former Councilmember Riemer
May 16, 2023 - Montgomery Community Media

Council Vice President Andrew Friedson nominated Linden to serve as a commissioner, praising him for his “unmatched knowledge” and “holistic mindset.”

Councilmembers say they will not pass 10% tax increase, will find other ways to fill school budget gaps
May 12, 2023 - MoCo360

During the meeting, councilmembers shared the sentiment that it is a top priority to fund teachers’ salaries.
“I don’t think that’s ever been in question,” said councilmember Andrew Friedson (D-Dist. 1). “I don’t think anyone on this dais has ever suggested otherwise.”

Scotland’s Juneteenth fest aims to be D.C. area’s biggest 
April 22, 2023 - MoCo360

Benefitting the church is an aspect of the festival that Montgomery County councilmember Andrew Friedson (D-Dist. 1) said is important after all that the structure has been through. “We have a historic church across the street nearing its 100th year that cannot stand on its own,” Friedson said. “That was and still is being held up by two-by-fours because of outside forces and here we’re in a community that [persists] despite every obstacle that has been placed in front of it, all those outside forces, the flood of institutional racism, the flood of indifference, the flood of intentional efforts to shut this community off and to shut this community out.” ... “We’re going to stand together with this community … to lift each other up. And that’s what this is about,” Friedson said. “That’s what this Juneteenth Celebration is about. That’s what this project across the street is about when we think of Juneteenth.”

Potomac Library Reopens
April 20, 2023 - The Connection 

Andrew Friedson said he spent a lot of time at the Potomac Library growing up and now he has nieces and nephews who spend a lot of time at the library. “Libraries are community centers, they are enrichment centers,” he said.  Council President Evan Glass thanked Maryland’s District 16 delegation, who also attended the ribbon cutting ceremony, for raising money necessary to “make sure there are places to read, places to learn and places to congregate.”

County creates Friendship Heights urban district
April 18, 2023  - MoCo360
“This is the first of its kind in the region; a bi-jurisdictional effort between Montgomery County and D.C. to fund a joint effort for placemaking, for collaboration and partnerships to strengthen the commercial sector, for the ability to create people-oriented public spaces and support a vibrant business community,” Friedson said... “This is really exciting. I think there are more opportunities to do similar efforts moving forward, creating more venues and opportunities for arts and culture and local entrepreneurship,” Friedson said. “[The goal] is to create synergy across both sides of Western Avenue.”

DC, Montgomery County launch effort to revitalize Friendship Heights area
April 13, 2023 - Fox 5

According to Montgomery County Councilman Andrew Friedson, the goal of the district will be to create a place to "work, play and stay." 

Friendship Heights to get a boost from both sides of DC-Montgomery County border
April 12, 2023 - WTOP News

Friendship Heights straddles the line between Montgomery County and the District, and there are efforts on both sides to make what Montgomery County Council member Andrew Friedson calls “a good place … a lot better”...  “What I hear all the time, and what I agree with personally,” said Friedson, “is that most residents do not really care about and aren’t necessarily looking for a place to buy a $5,000 handbag or a $10,000 piece of jewelry.”  What they really want, “is a place to meet a friend for coffee, a place to go on a date night,” or a store where they can buy  everyday household items for their families, Friedson said.

Councilmembers Vote to Create Urban District in Friendship Heights
April 12, 2023 - Montgomery Community Media

“This is the first of its kind in the region,” Friedson said during a council  meeting Tuesday...  “It’s a central location across D.C. and Montgomery County, at a red line station,” Friedson said. “We know that Friendship Heights is a great place but it could be a much better place.”

Council Enacts Legislation Led by Council Vice President Friedson to Create a New Urban District to Revitalize Friendship Heights
April 11, 2023 - EIN News

“With its central location across D.C. and Montgomery County right at a Red Line Metro station, Friendship Heights has virtually unlimited potential to be a prime location to live and work, play and stay,” Council Vice President Friedson noted. “By bringing together businesses and residents on both sides of Western Avenue through the Friendship Heights Alliance, we can create an attractive and cohesive sense of place that serves the day-to-day needs and desires of both residents and businesses.”

Montgomery Co. gas stations required to post credit card prices under bill OK’d by county council
March 30, 2023 - WTOP News

According to some service station owners, the cost of replacing signs could be around $12,000. To combat that, Council member Andrew Friedson introduced an amendment to allow gas stations to use another sign to list the credit card price as long as it’s visible. “The goal here is to provide information to residents to address this consumer protection issue, but to do it in a way that is not overwhelmingly prohibitive to the business owners,” Friedson said.

Council Votes to Require Gas Stations to Post Credit Card Price
March 29, 2023 - Montgomery Community Media

Councilmember Andrew Friedson estimated that the new requirement could cost a station owner about $12,000. “This is not a modest expense,” he said.

Councilmembers Sayles and Friedson Introduce Legislation to Accelerate Affordable Housing
March 28, 2023 - EIN Presswire 

“We have an affordable housing crisis in Montgomery County that can’t be solved without accelerating the production of housing in the county,” said Council Vice President and Planning, Housing and Parks Committee Chair Friedson. “We need to employ every tool in our toolkit to do this. ZTA 23-02 will green-tape affordable housing projects to move us to closer to our local and regional goals.”

Elrich outlines his plan for MoCo's housing crisis
March 20, 2023 - MoCo360
Council Vice President Andrew Friedson (D, District 1) says he is a “proud” supporter of no-net-loss policies and points to the Thrive 2050 master plan adopted last year, which made note of the issue. Still, he believes that Elrich’s definition of no net loss hinders progress. “Nearly all the ‘naturally-occurring affordable housing’ at risk of redevelopment…[is] not restricted in any way,” Friedson wrote in an email. “So simply preserving older, unrestricted units without adding additional housing supply will never solve the problem alone. Unfortunately, when the County Executive calls for ‘no net loss’ of affordable housing, he often is also effectively advocating for ‘no net gain’ of affordable housing or new housing of any kind. Preservation should be a part of the solution, but we simply can’t come close to meeting our housing needs unless we build significantly more housing at all levels of affordability.”

March 9, 2023 - US States News 

"I was serving as the Councilmember for this area during the planning stages and construction of this project," said Councilmember Friedson. "It is exciting to see something you were so involved in for so long finally complete. Thank you MCDOT for your work on this project. The vision for the area has grown into something we could not have imagined a decade back, and none of it would have been attainable if not for the foresight MCDOT's planners and engineers had. The partnership the department created to pull it together was really something that should be a model with infrastructure builds."

Improving Friendship Heights
March 2, 2023 - Video on Yahoo

Friendship Heights is looking to improve in a post-pandemic world, and the DMV Zone is chatting with Montgomery County Council VP Andrew Friedson on how they're making that happen.

Council Vice President Friedson Introduces Legislation to Create an Urban District to Revitalize Friendship Heights
February 28, 2023 - The MoCo Show

Today, Council Vice President Andrew Friedson introduced Expedited  Bill 13-23, Montgomery County Urban Districts – Friendship Heights Urban District, which would create an urban district located in the Friendship Heights area of the County.“With its central location across D.C. and Montgomery County right at a Red Line Metro station, Friendship Heights has virtually unlimited potential to be a prime location to live and work, play and stay,” Council Vice President Friedson noted. “By bringing together businesses and residents on both sides of Western Avenue through the Friendship Heights Alliance, we can create an attractive and cohesive sense of place that serves the day-to-day needs and desires of both residents and businesses.” 

Montgomery County Traffic Bill Focuses On Safety Near Schools
February 28, 2023 - The DCist

“Nobody in Montgomery County should risk their life just to cross the street,” bill co-sponsor Andrew Friedson added.

Rift over planning reform process frustrates Montgomery County leaders
February 13, 2023 - Washington Post
Friedson, who chairs the council’s planning, housing and parks committee, said the new approach is an improvement from Kramer’s original bills. “Ultimately, I think it is a positive outcome that the ultimate goals of the bill — which was the executive seizing control over park and planning and more or less dismantling the agency as we know it — that is not moving forward,” he said, adding that there is “common ground” between county officials who want to make it easier for businesses and developers to come to Montgomery.

MoCo asks for hundreds of millions from state for transit projects 
February 8, 2023 - MOCO 360

Council Vice President Andrew Friedson (D-District 1) asked county staff to amend a section of the letter concerning MARC commuter rail service. Instead of asking for a study looking into providing more off-peak and midday MARC service in Montgomery County, he said officials should simply ask the state to provide more commuter rail service. Transit advocates have long called for more service to better serve commuters in the region. “I think it is important to specifically talk about. Let’s not get caught up in studies here,” Friedson said. “We’ve been studying this for a while.”

Council Celebrates Black History Month
- Montgomery Community Media

Council Vice President Andrew Friedson noted the celebration was taking place in the county council building, where a jail once stood and where two Black men were held before a mob took and lynched them in the late 1800s. “Not lost on us that we carry on that legacy,” Friedson said, and also the legacy of people like Josiah Henson, county councilmembers and community leaders who continue resistance in the face of “unthinkable adversity and challenge.”

$800,000 Awarded to County Nonprofit and Faith-based Or ganizations
February 5, 2023 - ActiveRain

“In Montgomery County, we have a community of diverse residents who wish to practice our faiths and cultures freely. Schools and places of worship should be sanctuaries of peace and acceptance, not fear and violence,” said County Council Vice President Friedson. “While we regret that this program is so needed at this time, I am proud to have worked with the Executive Branch and community partners to establish this grant program so we can provide added security for our residents.”

Council Wants Affordable Housing Near Libraries, Rec Centers
 - Montgomery Community Media

“We need to view new residents not as a burden, but as a blessing,” Friedson said.  The county needs more housing. Metropolitan Washington Council of Government wants the county to build 47,500 more houses during the next decade. There currently are 37,000 people on the waiting list for housing vouchers, which Friedson said equals a six-and-a-half year wait.

Montgomery County considers using public building projects to solve affordable housing crisis
February 2, 2023 - Fox 5 DC

"We’ve got an opportunity every time we build a recreation center, every time we build a library to build a community in and of itself and we can’t afford to pass up those opportunities because it’s too hard or it’s too challenging," Friedson said. "The key to addressing our housing crisis is to use every single tool that we have at our disposal and we need the county government to be a leader when it comes to this challenge of housing affordability in Montgomery County." 

Friedson affordable housing bill gets OK from council
February 1, 2023 - MOCO 360 

“It’s not the only tool, but it is one of the important tools in our toolkit,” Friedson said before Tuesday’s vote.

MoCo is diverse, but disparities persist, U.S. Census figures show 
January 25, 2023 - Bethesda Beat
“This is not the same county I grew up in, and it’s certainly not the same county my parents grew up in,” Council Vice President Andrew Friedson (D-Dist. 1) said following the presentation... Education level also varies by race, according to the data. Seventy-six percent of white residents have a bachelor’s or advanced degree, above the county average of 61%. Black or African-American residents and Hispanic residents are at 47% and 28%, respectively. Despite this, Friedson said the topic of overall education level of residents—higher than many other jurisdictions in the country—is often lost when discussing the data. It’s a valuable asset as county leaders try to address various issues, he added.

Friedson bill aims to spur affordable housing on county-owned land 
January 23, 2023 - Bethesda Beat

Friedson, now in his second term, said his interest in introducing the bill stems back to early in his first term, when council members were told that co-location of affordable housing wasn’t possible with the White Flint Fire Station, a capital project near North Bethesda. Friedson couldn’t understand why that occurred, given the redevelopment of the area and need for housing.  “Is the reason why we don’t do co-locations [of housing] at certain sites because it could potentially delay a project, or because it could potentially cost more money or add additional complications—is that reason enough not to co-locate housing?” Friedson said. “Because that’s really the threshold question here.”  The legislation is aimed at prompting discussions about whether county land and capital projects can handle the cost and additional impacts of affordable housing, Friedson said.

Montgomery’s health officer role will be split into two positions
January 18, 2023 - Bethesda Beat

The council unanimously approved two amendments on Tuesday—one stated that the chief of public health services is also a deputy health officer. The other, introduced by Council Vice President Andrew Friedson (D-Dist. 1), stated that the health officer, under the current structure, would still need to be a licensed physician: a Doctor of Medicine (M.D.) or Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine (D.O.).  Friedson said during Tuesday’s meeting that although county officials were initially looking at removing the requirement, splitting the health officer job into two positions changed the scope of the issue. That meant that it should remain in place in county and state law, he said .

New Capital Crescent Trail tunnel could be delayed as costs grow
January 18, 2023 - The Washington Post

“A commitment made needs to be a commitment kept,” said Montgomery Council member Andrew Friedson (D-District 1), who represents Bethesda. “We need to bring back this piece of transportation infrastructure that is an essential east-west connection through one of the most vibrant and busiest parts of the county.”

Elrich proposes delay of Capital Crescent trail tunnel in latest capital budget
January 18, 2023 - Bethesda Beat

County Council Member Andrew Friedson (D-Dist. 1), whose district includes Bethesda, has  repeatedly called on project and county officials to keep construction of the trail on schedule and have it open by at least the time the light rail is scheduled to first carry passengers in late 2026. Friedson said in an interview Wednesday that he’s not surprised by Elrich’s decision, given that the county executive has historically not included funding for the trail in prior budgets. He added that Elrich also asked the state to explore single-tracking the Purple Line in Bethesda; state officials  rejected the proposal. The private sector has already funded its improvements to the trail and tunnel, Friedson said. He’s hopeful that he can persuade his colleagues to restore the funding for the project, as has been done in prior budgets with the previous County Council.  On the argument that the money should be used for schools, Friedson said: “This is not new infrastructure. This is returning infrastructure that the community has relied on for many years.  I understand that [schools are] a good talking point, but this is a commitment made, and it should be a commitment kept. And we need to fund schools … but it’s not as if it’s clear that the county executive chose a school instead of this particular project.”

Council Proposes Updated Property Tax Credit Eligibility For Elderly and Retired Military
January 18, 2023 – Invest Money UK

“As we continue our efforts to help residents to move here and to locate here, we want to help them stay here as well,” Council Vice President Andrew Friedson said.

Bill would expand property tax eligibility for MoCo elderly, vets
January 17, 2023 - Bethesda BEAT

“As we continue our efforts to help residents to move here and locate here, we want them to stay here as well,” Council Vice President Andrew Friedson (D-Dist. 1) said Tuesday.

Plans advance for two new parks next to Farm Women's Market in Bethesda
January 13, 2023 - Bethesda BEAT

Council Member Andrew Friedson said in a statement that the Farm Women’s Market project is “a shining example of what can be accomplished when government at every level, the private sector, and residents work together towards a common goal.” Transforming the parking lots “into public amenities and much-needed housing was a central part of the Bethesda Downtown Plan and will ensure significant public open space to serve community needs while preserving and reinvigorating one of Bethesda’s historic treasures,” he said.