Although the current terms of the Montgomery County Council will not expire until noon on December 3, 2018, candidates are beginning to share their intentions.
In the Rockville/Gaithersburg District 3, Councilmember Sidney Katz (D) admits everyone is always asking him whether he will run for reelection after this, his first term. This week he emphatically confirmed to Rockville View that he will. Katz explained that some people are wondering if he will run for another office, but he wants to serve representing Rockville and Gaithersburg in the same seat.
Ben Shnider has organized a campaign for the seat as a progressive Democrat for District 3. In a campaign email he stated, he will “fight to raise our minimum wage to $15 for all workers, ensure our laws prevent local resources from being used to enforce inhumane immigration policies, and make certain that the cost of tuition prevents no MCPS graduate from enrolling in Montgomery College.”
Katz was one of the four County Councilmembers voting against the $15 minimum wage bill, which was passed then vetoed by County Executive Ike Leggett. At the time, Katz stated, “I sincerely believe that the best path forward for this complex discussion would have been to get more information based on Montgomery County’s unique situation. I am very concerned that we do not know the full scope of the impact on the County budget and I am worried that there will be some businesses that will close and others will be forced to decrease the hours of some employees. I think the best way to have avoided this would have been to base our decision on more information—this would not have delayed implementation at all.”
Shnider is known around Rockville for starting a petition in February to urge the Rockville Mayor and Council to swiftly enact a strong law defining the role of law-enforcement officials in regards to immigration.
On this topic Katz spoke of his personal reason for supporting all immigrants when the County Council unanimously adopted a resolution in November “reaffirming community safety and trust and denouncing anti-immigrant activity, hate speech, hate crimes and harassment in Montgomery County”. Katz explained that he was a grandson of immigrants who came to Montgomery County close to 100 years ago to prosper, and this is the same reason immigrants come to live in the County today.
With 18 months until the general election for Montgomery County Council, many more debates, forums, and opportunities will offer the opportunity to discuss these and many other issues.