Montgomery County Council Elects Evan Glass as President and Andrew Friedson as Vice President

by Patrick Herron

Per Montgomery County:
President Glass says: “This is the most diverse and representative Council in our County’s history. I am honored by my colleagues’ trust and faith in me to lead us forward.”
The Montgomery County Council today unanimously elected Councilmember Evan Glass as president and Councilmember Andrew Friedson as vice president of the Council. They will serve one-year terms as officers of the Council. Glass just completed a one-year term as Council vice president. He is the first openly LGBTQ+ individual to serve on the Council and in this role.

Council President Glass’ priorities for the coming year include addressing housing affordability, striving toward transit equity and achieving Vision Zero, addressing the climate crisis through meaningful environmental legislation and clean energy initiatives, and ensuring that Montgomery County is economically competitive.

“This is the most diverse and representative Council in our County’s history. I am honored by my colleagues’ trust and faith in me to lead us forward,” Council President Glass said. “When voters approved the charter amendment I introduced expanding the size of the Council to better reflect our County’s beautiful diversity, I didn’t know what the end results would look like. But looking around this dais – the results have exceeded my expectations. I look forward to the new and unique perspectives that each of my colleagues will bring to this body and the work we will do together.”

Glass is an at-large Councilmember who serves on the Economic Development (ECON) Committee and as Chair of the Transportation and Environment (TE) Committee. He has served on the Council since 2018. Since that time, he spearheaded the effort to increase the size of the Council, passed legislation to close the gender pay gap, led the effort to create the COVID-19 rental assistance fund, and provided emergency funding for the nonprofit sector during the pandemic.

As a former member of the Council’s Health & Human Services (HHS) Committee and the lead for Homelessness and Vulnerable Communities, he has been a champion for organizations that provide housing and social services to residents experiencing homelessness in Montgomery County.

Council Vice President Friedson represents District 1 including Bethesda, Chevy Chase and Potomac. He serves as Chair of the Planning, Housing, and Parks (PH) Committee and on the Government Operations and Fiscal Policy (GO) Committee. In 2018, Friedson became the youngest Councilmember ever elected and will now become the youngest Council vice president in County history. Council Vice President Friedson established a $100 million revolving Housing Production Fund and spearheaded legislation to incentivize smart growth housing near transit. He co-authored the County’s largest-ever climate investment with the Montgomery County Green Buildings Now Act and sponsored legislation to provide guaranteed paid parental leave for County employees.

He has been a consistent advocate for transparency in County government and has led efforts to strengthen financial oversight and the County ethics law, improve the budget process, and reform the County’s property tax system. Friedson has received the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce Legislator of the Year, Public Policy Leadership Award from the Center for Nonprofit Advancement and the Glen Echo Park Advocacy Award.

“I’m humbled by the confidence of my colleagues to serve as vice president this coming year and look forward to serving the residents of Montgomery County in this new role with an expanded body of talented and dedicated public servants,” Council Vice President Friedson said.

The complete remarks of Council President Glass on his term as Council president can be read below:  

Good morning. I would first like to thank the Montgomery County voters for electing me to a second term as your at-large Councilmember and honoring me with the privilege to serve this incredible County for another four years. I promise to serve with humility and dedication, while spotlighting the needs of residents from every corner of our community.

Thank you to my husband, Jason, for being by my side, lifting me up and inspiring me every day. I also want to honor my mom, Mona Glass, who raised me as a single mother and instilled in me the courage to pursue my passions and the values that guide my public service.

To my team, Valeria Carranza, Pam Luckett, David Lorenzo-Botello, Joy Champaloux, Josh Lash and Dorie Hightower, I want to express my deepest gratitude and thanks for your commitment to public service and all your hard work.

And thank you to my colleagues for having faith in me to lead this body as Council President over the next year. My priority is to work collaboratively with each of you, County Executive Marc Elrich, Governor-elect Wes Moore, all our colleagues in Annapolis and across the state, our local stakeholders, and residents, to ensure that the Council’s work is focused, productive and meaningful.

As we sit at this crossroads, ushering in a new legislative session, I want to recognize our former Council colleagues, Tom Hucker, Nancy Navarro, Craig Rice and Hans Riemer, for their years of service and dedication to this community.

I’m proud to continue my service on the Council alongside Councilmembers Gabe Albornoz, Andrew Friedson, Will Jawando and Sidney Katz. And I am thrilled to welcome Councilmembers Marilyn Balcombe, Natali Fani-González, Dawn Luedtke, Kristin Mink, Laurie-Anne Sayles and Kate Stewart. I have admired each of you –– your work, your passion and your advocacy –– for many years.

Together, this is the most diverse and representative Council in our County’s history. We should all be proud of that. When voters approved the charter amendment I introduced expanding the size of the Council to better reflect our County’s beautiful diversity, I didn’t know what the end results would look like. But looking around this dais – the results have exceeded my expectations. I look forward to the new and unique perspectives you will each bring to this body and the great work we will do together to move Montgomery County forward.

Reflections on First Term

This year marks the first chapter of the 20th County Council and a transition to new leadership. A new era in leadership gives us an opportunity to reflect on what we’ve achieved and what we envision for our future.

We should all be proud of our recent accomplishments. We survived a global pandemic by having the highest vaccination rates in the country. We worked collaboratively with our nonprofit and community partners to protect tenants and families, assist small businesses, and support our front line County employees. We did all this while prioritizing public health, education, and economic development. We addressed long-standing inequities that were exacerbated by the pandemic. We upheld our status as the only County in the nation to maintain our AAA bond rating for nearly 50 consecutive years. And we also passed historic legislation to address the climate crisis, public safety, and social inequities.

But there is still a lot of work ahead of us to make Montgomery County a fairer and more equitable place.

As I take on the role of Council President, my promise is to push forward social policies that are more just and ensure that the most vulnerable are healthy, safe and housed, while setting us up for long-term success by being a responsible steward of our taxpayer dollars. With collaboration from the executive branch, our state and federal partners, local stakeholders and support from our residents, there is so much we can achieve in the year ahead.

Health and Housing

We must address the County’s persistent health inequities and continue working to resolve them. As the Council’s former lead on Homelessness and Vulnerable Communities, I’m proud of our strong and continued support of the minority health initiatives, and their work to enhance healthcare and access to social services providers for our most vulnerable residents. Having worked in the nonprofit sector, I know all too well the increasing needs and demands in our community. It’s our nonprofit sector that plays a critical role in keeping our social safety net strong. In turn, we must give them the tools and support they need to maintain their critical services.

In Montgomery County, we recognize that shelter is a fundamental right, and we believe that everyone should be able to live comfortably and age in place. In the year ahead, we must redouble our commitment to making the experience of homelessness rare, brief and non-recurring. I am confident this Council will also meet the moment by addressing housing stability and the diverse housing needs of our residents.

Transit Equity

I am also committed to building upon the progress we’ve made toward achieving transit equity. We know that the greatest determination of a person’s economic mobility is their ability to safely travel to school and work. One of my top priorities since joining the Council has been to increase access to our vast bus system. I spearheaded the effort to make buses free for all kids all the time, and last year we reduced all bus fares to $1. Moving forward, I will continue pushing to make buses free for all residents. It’s good for easing traffic congestion, it’s good for those who cannot afford to own a car, and it’s good for the environment.

And for those who take the bus, they often have to walk to the bus stop – which can oftentimes be a dangerous task. We’ve lost too many lives on our roadways, and we need to take urgent action to stop these preventable tragedies. In 2022, we’ve already lost 16 lives in pedestrian and bicycle incidents and 488 people have been injured on our streets. I will make common-sense traffic solutions a priority during my presidency so that every resident can walk, bike and commute safely around our community.

We need generational improvements in our infrastructure that enhance public transportation connections between our region’s job centers, schools and neighborhoods. I look forward to working with the Moore administration and our state and federal partners on transportation projects that will advance modern traffic solutions, make our roads safer and enhance regional connectivity.

Environment

Equally important are the meaningful steps we’re taking to improve our climate resilience, reduce our carbon footprint and mitigate climate change. We know that our frontline communities and communities of color bear the initial burden of our changing climate, and that our children and grandchildren will face the most damaging effects.

This past year, we made significant strides and passed environmental legislation to reduce waste and transition to clean energy sources.

We opened the Brookville Bus Depot, the largest solar bus charging infrastructure project in the United States, which will provide renewable energy to charge up to 70 electric buses by 2026. And we passed several pieces of legislation aimed at addressing the County’s biggest contributors of greenhouse gas emissions — our building sector.

In the year ahead, we will continue taking bold action that moves us closer to reaching our goal of eliminating greenhouse gas emissions by 2035. The climate crisis is real and we must act like it.

Economic Development

I am proud of the work we’ve done over the last few years to assist small business owners and attract companies in emerging industries like biohealth and technology. By supporting local businesses and creating a friendly business environment for aspiring entrepreneurs, we will make Montgomery County a leader in our rapidly-growing and increasingly competitive metropolitan region. We are the fourth largest biohealth cluster in the country and we must build upon this success.

One way I intend to do this is by creating a new Council committee devoted to discussing, analyzing and improving our economic development efforts. I am confident that by creating the Economic Development Committee, we will be able to focus more time and energy on growing our business sector, attracting Fortune 500 companies from around the country, and retaining the businesses that already call Montgomery County home. At the same time, we will address other major economic concerns, like closing the racial wealth gap, wage inequality, and reducing barriers for small and minority businesses.

Closing

In closing, by the end of my tenure as Council President, I hope to build upon all this good work to make Montgomery County a more fair and equitable place where residents of all backgrounds can live, work, worship, raise a family and age in place.

We will also redouble our efforts to ensure that everyone feels welcome, seen and safe in Montgomery County. With the increasing rise in hate and violence against members of the Jewish faith and LGBTQ+ community, and Black trans women in particular, we will make sure that hate has no home here.

There will no doubt be challenges and obstacles ahead, but I believe this Council is up to the task. Each of our unique perspectives and collective lived experiences is exactly what is needed at this time. I look forward to working with each of you here on the dais and each of our 1.1 million residents to move our community forward.

Now let’s get to work.

Thank you.

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1 comment

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A.Elling December 19, 2022 - 1:28 pm

Not enough is being talked about or being done to stand up against antisemitism in our community.
How do I get involved with helping to plan programs to address this issue? Please let me know what I can do to help.

Thank you.

Reply

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