Race for County Executive Might Offer Surprises

by Jack DeGonia ‘19

 The contest for county executive in Montgomery County is usually decided by the democratic primary, but this year it’s different.  Democratic County Councilmember Marc Elrich is running against Republican candidate Robin Ficker and the independent candidate Nancy Floreen.  

 Elrich has the endorsement of the Montgomery County Education Association (MCEA), the influential teachers union,as well as Our Revolution, a group formed in the wake of Bernie Sanders’ 2016 presidential campaign to hold up ideals similar to his, and many others.  The endorsement of Elrich by Our Revolution indicates that he is more progressive than other Democratic Party members, possibly indicating why Floreen decided to run as an independent with more moderate views.

Ficker is a Republican who has been running for political office since the 80s. He has promised to increase the quality of education in MCPS, but has not elaborated on how he plans to do so.  Ficker also promises to end gridlock, but he plans to do so not by implementing any of his own policies, but by carrying out Governor Larry Hogan’s “End Gridlock Plan.”

Floreen is running on expanding job growth, and skills-based learning, and promoting the economy.  The potential job growth and economic growth largely will rely on whether Amazon decides to build its second headquarters in Montgomery County.  Floreen’s emphasis on skills-based learning would mean more programs like the ones offered at Edison High School, preparing students to join the workforce.

The office of county executive is currently held by Ike Leggett and acts as a very localized version of the president, but with less power.  Any veto that the county executive employs can be overturned by six of the nine county council members voting against the veto, and only five are needed for vetoing bills concerning a few select areas, namely funding for Montgomery College, funding for volunteer and career firefighters, and housing budgets.