The Glass Gazette: April 2019

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Holding Them Accountable: Beltway/270 Widening & Purple Line Construction

Montgomery County continues making investments in our infrastructure by prioritizing reliable and innovative transportation systems. But those investments must include assurances that every project is subject to proper oversight and accountability.

The Council recently held a hearing to discuss Governor Larry Hogan’s plans to widen I-495 and I-270. At the hearing I asked Maryland Transportation Secretary Pete Rahn if he could uphold the governor’s commitment to protect the homes, businesses and parks along the highways and that none of them would be taken or destroyed in the process. Rahn was unable to uphold the governor’s promise. His inability to adequately answer my questions showcase why legislative oversight is sorely needed for this project. You can watch my line of questioning here

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While Governor Hogan continues laying the groundwork for expanding the Capital Beltway and I-270, work actively continues on the construction of the Purple Line. During a recent Transportation & Environment Committee hearing I asked the company building the Purple Line to explain the millions of dollars in cost overruns. Unable to detail their expenses, I responded to the transportation executives with the following:

“You’re businessmen running a very sophisticated project and to tell me that you don’t know where the budget numbers are, I personally don’t believe that.”

As the Purple Line continues being constructed and Governor Hogan moves forward with his plans for the Capital Beltway and I-270, I will continue fighting for your right to know how your taxpayer dollars are being spent and how these projects will impact our communities.You can read about the hearing here.


Transgender Day of Visibility

As Montgomery County’s first LGBTQ Councilmember, I was proud to host the council’s inaugural International Transgender Day of Visibility. Prior to presenting the council proclamation, I held a breakfast discussion with parents, students and allies to provide a forum in which individuals could raise personal issues that impact their daily lives. In this safe space I was moved by their stories and look forward to working on more equitable and inclusive policies throughout Montgomery County.


Hearing on Homelessness

I chaired a joint Health and Human Services (HHS) and Planning, Housing, Economic Development (PHED) committee discussion to receive an update on the work we have done, and still need to do, to combat homelessness in Montgomery County. We have gained significant momentum in being one of the first communities in the country to reach “functional zero” for veteran homelessness, and to date, we have placed over 400 individuals experiencing chronic homelessness into permanent housing. Just recently, our County's Health and Human Services launched a 24/7 homeless information line, which will help ensure that community members experiencing homelessness have a direct connection to life-saving resources. You can read more about the 24/7 homeless information line here

Building on this success, the next initiative is toward ending homelessness for youth and families. I look forward to working with our county’s agencies, nonprofits and other service providers to expand the number of beds and safe spaces for individuals and families facing homelessness.


Our Next Police Chief

More than 49 LGBTQ individuals have been victims of hate crimes and incidents since 2015. With the recent retirement of Thomas Manger as police chief, I sent County Executive Marc Elrich a letter asking that he keep the LGBTQ community at the forefront as he searches for the Montgomery County Police Department’s next leader. 

Gender-based hate crimes, as well as hate crimes involving sexual orientation in Montgomery County have gone up since 2015. The next police chief needs to ensure that all communities, regardless of race, gender, and socioeconomic status feel safe and secure. This is especially pertinent for transgender women of color, who are more likely to be victims of hate crimes, and are sometimes mistreated or revictimized by police. We need mandatory police training on responding to LGBTQ hate crimes, same-sex domestic violence and using preferred pronouns when addressing transgender people. 




As an strong environmentalist, I am excited that Montgomery County is combining its annual Earth Day Festival with Greenfest, one of the premiere environmental events in the region. The celebration will be held at Brookside Gardens on Sunday, April 28 from 11:00am - 4:00pm. The event is free and offers something for everyone; a green craft fair, plant sale, community art project, and lectures by industry experts. The event features family activities from kids tree climbing and an interactive electric car display to live music and food trucks. Free parking is available at Glenmont Metro including free shuttles to Brookside Gardens. Learn more by visiting this link.