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Renters Alliance Hosting Candidates Forum To Boost Political Presence

By Aaron Kraut

Tuesday - 10/8/2013, 11:50am  ET

Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler at a Renters Alliance forum last year (file photo)A nonprofit dedicated to issues of renters in Montgomery County will host its first candidates forum on Oct. 21 in Silver Spring.

The Montgomery County Renters Alliance (a BethesdaNow.com advertiser) is expecting a number of candidates running for statewide office in next June’s Democratic primary to talk about renters’ issues and other topics at the Silver Spring Civic Center.

Matt Losak, executive director of the group, said that 16 candidates have committed to speak so far, including candidates for state delegate, state senator, attorney general and governor.

The Renters Alliance, founded in 2011 to address affordability issues and landlord problems cited in a county report, helps tenants form tenant associations, supports tenants in eviction cases and advocates for renters who face drastic rent increases.

The group is attempting to grow its influence among local and state politicians. At a forum last year, a number of county and state officials spoke, including gubernatorial candidate and Attorney General Doug Gansler.

A few state officials told the group that lobbyists for building owners dominate the political conversation in Annapolis.

The Alliance is hoping changing demographics — more than 30 percent of Montgomery County residents rent — can boost its standing.

WTOP reporter Kate Ryan will moderate the forum, which is set to run from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Oct. 21 at the Civic Center (1 Veterans Place, Silver Spring.)