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Duchy Trachtenberg: Why You Should Vote For Me

By BethesdaNow.com

Monday - 6/16/2014, 12:10pm  ET

Duchy TrachtenbergWe asked local candidates in contested primary elections to write a sub-750 word essay describing why residents should vote for them on June 24.

Next up is Duchy Trachtenberg, who is running for the Democratic nomination in the District 1 County Council race. Below is Trachtenberg’s unedited response:

I’m running for Montgomery County Council from District 1 because it’s time that politicians quit playing politics and put people first. I bring a solid record of accomplishment as both an activist and a legislator, and I have a passion for public service.

I have lived in District 1 for 25 years and care deeply about this community. I’ve worked here, raised my family here, made wonderful friends, joined with volunteers and activists to defend women’s rights and advocate for the most vulnerable — this is my home, and I want it to thrive.

To me, the test of leadership is whether an elected official has the skill and intuition to make the machinery of government work, not just to deliver core functions but to sustain and strengthen a community’s most deeply held values and beliefs.

My vision for this county is simple: to create a local economy that sustains all families and leaves no one behind. That’s achievable but only if we work together recognizing our strengths while accepting our limitations. Everyone has to be in the room and that’s what this campaign is about. For too long people have lost faith in the process and don’t believe we can change and improve our county. Our campaign is about proving that we can.

Our first priority must be to create jobs — good paying jobs, that offer a path of advancement, that compete with other opportunities in the region. It’s time for a long-term county economic development plan. I will help develop such a plan by working with the Executive branch, the business community, taxpayers and labor.

I’m clear on what we need to address in District 1 — school overcrowding, unacceptable road conditions, better public transportation including the Purple Line, and access to quality health services, especially for our seniors who are aging in place.

I am the only public health professional to ever serve on the Montgomery County Council, and I want to return as the Councilmember from District 1 to continue my record of service. As a Councilmember, I worked closely with the County Executive and the Department of Health and Human Services to secure increased federal grant funding for mental health programming, as well as programs that provided services for victims of domestic violence and women in need of reproductive health care. My Family Justice Center project has successfully helped almost 6,000 individual families touched by violence in just five years.

I’ve proposed the creation of Youth Resource Centers to provide comprehensive services to children, youth and families who are struggling with adolescence, behavioral health needs, substance abuse, academic challenges, family poverty and truancy. I successfully used this kind of private public partnership for domestic violence victims and it’s worked — we have saved lives.

Our schools aren’t keeping up with population growth, leaving our classrooms overcrowded and our children underserved. School buildings that used to be anchors of our communities now languish in disrepair. Unhealthy and unsafe trailers that were supposed to be temporary remain in place.

I’m in a hurry to fix our schools, and finger pointing is a waste of time. That’s why I’m calling for a coordinated community response to modernize our schools and support our children. We need to speak with one voice in Annapolis as a team!

I am also a dedicated and enthusiastic supporter of the arts, and I want to work with the talented and creative individuals and groups here to develop an Arts Plan exclusive to District 1. Let’s embrace our role as the Arts Capitol of Montgomery County and find innovative ways to engage businesses and the community at-large. And most importantly, let’s put arts education back into the classroom. That unique exercise of creativity must become an integral part of every child’s education and development. A vital Arts community is essential in any economic development plan we establish long-term.

Long after today’s elected officials are out of office, the debates that seemed so contentious and sometimes even personal will fade in memory. What will endure are the values we exemplified in the political priorities we set. That is the true legacy we pass on to future generations.

I’m a mother, a social worker, an advocate, and a fighter. I’ll be a progressive champion for District 1 on the County Council.