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Navarro Takes Montgomery County Council's Reins

New council president says she'll emphasize economic development and educational equality in 2013.

Montgomery County's unity as well as its diversity will be the keys to keeping the state's "economic engine" revving next year, said Nancy Navarro, the new Montgomery County Council president.

The council president, which changes hands at the end of each year, sets the agenda and steers the council on broad policy initiatives.

"It is clear that a majority of residents are minority, so it is fitting that the face of our council leadership reflects that change," said Councilman Craig Rice, referring to Navarro, who is the council's first Latina president. Rice was chosen to serve as the council's vice president.

Rice, (D-Dist. 2) of Germantown, Tuesday announced Navarro's nomination in Spanish, spurring a standing ovation and a unanimous vote from the nine-member council.

In her first remarks as president, Navarro (D-Dist. 4) of Silver Spring, emphasized unity within the council and across Montgomery County as a whole.

"To me, 'One Montgomery' means recognizing the differences among us while emphasizing that however different our backgrounds or lifestyles may be, we are connected," she said. "'One Montgomery' also means embracing our diversity. Our county is incredibly diverse by any measure you can think of. … This diversity is indeed our greatest strength."

With federal uncertainty on the horizon, the county's workforce diversity is an asset that must continue to be nurtured, she said.

The council has put tens of millions of dollars in recent years toward incentive programs, economic development grants and public-private partnerships, she said. But those efforts could "grind to a halt" if the state doesn't come up with ways to fund the Purple Line and Corridor Cities Transitway.

"Montgomery County is the economic engine of Maryland," Navarro said. "... Of course we still have much work to do. We have to make sure our master plans encourage the right balance of housing, jobs and amenities in every part of our county. And we need long-term transportation solutions."

"I have heard for too long that Montgomery County is not open for business. Today I want to be absolutely clear: Montgomery County is one of the best places in America to grow a business of any size. When it comes to schools, housing, office space, consumers, workforce and amenities, Montgomery county is the place to be.”

Navarro joined the council in 2009 after twice being the president of the county Board of Education. Working to preserve and improve the Council’s relationship with the school system will be a priority, especially with more than 72,000 county residents live below the poverty line, and nearly one-third of students receiving Free and Reduced Meals.

“One Montgomery also means fairness and opportunity for everyone. Our guiding principle must be that our children’s academic achievement will not be predetermined by their socioeconomic status,” she said.

This year, the council approved $1 million to fund more gang prevention specialists, expanded teen programs and after-school activities; supplied another $500,000 for child-care subsidies; increased subsidies for low-income families to pay their electric bills; and restored some of the library system’s funding cuts.

“We must double down on these efforts,” she said. "... We are One Montgomery. Our future is bright, and our fates are intertwined."

Commentous December 07, 2012 at 04:23 AM
I'd like to see Council president Navarro show an interest in truly redeveloping Wheaton, which she represents, rather than trying to ensure it's a merely palatable place for people to live until they can afford to get out. There aren't many other places in the County where you can get a detached home for less than $230,000. http://www.ziprealty.com/property/11500-GALT-AVE-SILVER-SPRING-MD-20902/34050137/detail The government building will underutilize Lot 13. It will take a long time to construct due to multiple bureaucracies involved. When done, the M-NCPPC employees will largely drive to work, just as they do currently. For people who say that daytime foot traffic is needed, aside from restaurants I don't see how workers help the area anymore than an influx of residents with disposable income. Residents benefit the area by visiting more of Wheaton than most workers and by providing needed nighttime/weekend foot traffic. It concerns me that president Navarro could not make it to redevelopment meetings or seek input from a broad range of her Wheaton constituents before voting on what was best for them. My concerns are intensified when I see that although she could not attend advisory committee meetings, she makes the time to meet and greet people cordially at Wheaton events (like the Taste of Wheaton). Final question for Wheaton residents: How much of a benefit do you foresee from the heralded Purple Line or do you already get from the ICC?
Joe Galvagna December 07, 2012 at 04:28 AM
When did the councel become responsible did I miss this.
Joe Galvagna December 07, 2012 at 04:53 AM
You go Nils Strang you hit the nail on the head. Her name is Navarro who do you think she is for DAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA
Craig December 20, 2012 at 03:17 AM
The collectivist agenda is growing and it is dangerous. "We are One Montgomery." Ms. Nancy says. Scary. Honestly, scary. We don't trust big banks or big business (and rightfully so) but we trust BIG GOVERNMENT? We trust Nancy to enable our liberty? To keep us employed? To make us wealthy and healthy and successful? THIS IS INSANE. I don't care if she is white, black, hispanic, jewish, asian, blasian, red, organic, post-modern, modern-chic, new-age, gentile, muslim, vegetarian...she doesn't speak for me when she makes these quasi-communist statements. "one montgomery"? I WANT POLITICIANS TO PROTECT MY LIBERTY AND KEEP THE PEACE. That's it.
Joe Galvagna December 20, 2012 at 07:13 AM
To all above. This county, this state and possible this country are going down for the third time. I hope all you Dens are happy now. We have gone from the greatest county, state and nation to a place of entitlements and illeagles taking over. Soon the population will only the ones expecting everything for free, and lets see how they pay for all their free s _ _ t when all the honest had working legal people have left. And oh I hope all you dumb asses are happy now this arrogant non US citizen has been reelectped will bankrupt and completely corrupt this country by the end of his second term. He will then ride off into the sunset laughing all the way to the bank. All that will be left is is just a fleeting memory of how it was before you and the Dens ran it in the ground. God help all of us and one day everyone will have to stand before the man and answer for our actions.

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