Are you ready to vote!?!! You can early vote until November 3rd or on November 8th. Since as the old saying goes, all politics is local, we aren’t going to spend much time on races for federal office. You have enough info on the presidential race and if you need some more info on senate or house here is our old post . Here’s the quick shoutout because the top billing is hopefully going to be pretty historic: Clinton/Kaine; Van Hollen; Raskin. Now for the meat:
You get to vote in three races. Full disclosure, we have a big focus on a particular issue: Supporting equity of access for diverse populations through maintaining the sibling preference link for students applying for language immersion schools. Based on interest in this issue Marie has participated in several events (candidate forum, community feedback session, Board of Education meeting) and Seth has watched the kids! So here is what we learned and who we recommend voting for:
Race #1: At Large race: We endorse Jeanette Dixon (running against Phil Kauffman). Kauffman got the WaPo endorsement, basically for being savvy about the budget, but in the candidate forum, Dixon had the clever idea of hiring a budget analyst for the Board of Education (BoE), so we think they're actually pretty equal there. Kauffman has been more measured and less definitive on maintaining the sibling link, though does support grandfathering in current families; Dixon is very vocally supportive of the sibling link, which we think will best support families. At the candidate forum, Marie found Dixon to be very knowledgeable and impressive. As a former principal and teacher, we trust Dixon’s experience.
Race #2: District 2 We endorse Rebecca Smondroski (running against Brandon Rippeon). Our endorsement is based on a comparison of the candidates’ statements and manner at the forum, and Smondroski at the BoE when Marie testified for sibling preference. At the BoE meeting, Smondroski made a motion to put the sibling link back on the table when it was previously no longer a possible policy option, which was a very solid gesture that may have real results. At the forum, Rippeon did not impress Marie as a collaborative person, especially in contrast to Smondroski. Smondroski also has the WaPo endorsement.
Rae #3: District 4 We endorse Shebra Evans (running against Anjali Phukan). At the candidate forum, Evans came off very well and appeared very competent, especially in comparison to her opponent. Phukan did not appear to be ready to be an effective advocate on the Board for anything except her strong position for supporting students in substance abuse rehabilitation. Evans also has the WaPo endorsement.
Question A: Filling vacancies of the comptroller or attorney general. We support voting FOR this measure. In short, if the holder of this office leaves with more two years left in their term then the governor would need to appoint someone of the same political party and voters would be able to vote for a new official in the next election. This seems to make sense as it respects the voters’ preference by maintaining the original official’s political party when the governor temporarily fills the office, and lets voters get the choice of who will replace candidates who leave off with the majority of their term left.
Questions B& C ask about imposing term limits on county council members and county executive. We endorse voting AGAINST both measures. The Washington Post points out that Montgomery County has a good track record of voting poor performing members out of office. Just up the Pike suggest that term limits are being proposed by conservative and anti-development, though they have little chance of moving Montgomery County in that direction. The problems mentioned in the Washington Post article, specifically the lack of experience in PG county where term limits are imposed on their council, seems like the bigger threat than problems with council members serving too long. Also, Ike Leggett has indicated he’s retiring after this term, so this term limit amendment would not affect the current county executive.