Ben Wikner has announced his candidacy for Montgomery County’s new Didtrict 7 seat.
The full press release can be seen below:
Montgomery Village, MD: March 15, 2022 — Ben Wikner, a long-time Montgomery Village resident and Director of The Equity Center, a local non-profit, will run for Montgomery County Council’s new Upcounty District 7 seat.
Wikner said that he is running for County Council because he believes “local Montgomery County government needs to be more effective. I’d like to see the county take bold steps to expand quality, affordable housing and increase economic opportunities through job creation and support for entrepreneurs. I believe the residents of the county can and should expect better from our local government.”
“I love Montgomery County. I believe it is one of the best places to live, work, and raise a family in all of America. It is a place of tremendous opportunity with its cultural diversity and record of prosperity. But there is a significant disconnect in accessing that opportunity for so many in the county.”
Through Wikner’s work at The Equity Center, he has seen first-hand how county programs and resources are often not accessible to ordinary residents. “The maze of bureaucracy is preventing hard-working, low-income Montgomery County residents from accessing county, state and federal resources.” In speaking with countless people in the county, his observation is that most ordinary residents feel disconnected and have lost confidence in the county government. “I know we can and we must do better,” said Ben.
Throughout the pandemic, the Equity Center — a community resource and empowerment non-profit located in Lakeforest Mall in Gaithersburg — has helped to meet the needs and the challenges that so many Upcounty residents face, by:
Feeding hundreds of households every week with fresh produce and rescued food that would otherwise have been wasted and thrown in the landfill.
Creating in-person learning centers for low-income families whose children had no safe options when schools first went virtual in 2020.
Launching and organizing one of the first vaccine clinics in the county for front-line and essential workers when Covid-19 vaccines were scarce.
Providing free quality tax preparation for low-income families to ensure local families get all of their tax credits.
In addition to leading the Equity Center, Ben has served as the pastor of Cross Community Church for the past seven years. The County Council recognized Ben and Cross Community on April 27, 2021, for their “remarkable assistance to 5,000+ Montgomery County households to ensure access to resources and equity….”
“I have learned a great deal in serving those who are struggling, especially through this pandemic. I believe that in order to lead, you have to serve. I am prepared to help lead Montgomery County into an even brighter future.
Wikner has outlined seven priorities he intends to focus on as the District 7 Councilmember:
1) Economic Opportunity for All
2) Access to Quality Affordable Housing
3) Education Accountability and Excellence
4) Agile, Responsive Government that Serves the People
5) Transportation Connected to Equity and Environment
6) Community-Engaged Safety and Policing
7) Better Representation for Upcounty residents
Ben has been married to his college sweetheart, Erin, for 27 years, and together they have seven children, all of whom are in or have graduated from Montgomery County schools.