Category: Media

Councilmember Tom Hucker files for re-election to District 5 Council Seat

Councilmember Tom Hucker files for re-election to District 5 Council Seat

Montgomery County Councilmember Tom Hucker is running for reelection to keep his District 5 County Council seat.

Hucker filed his elections paperwork on Monday at the Board of Elections offices in Gaithersburg.

He is the first candidate to file for the District 5 Council seat, according to the BOE website.

As the District 5 County Councilmember, Hucker represents the communities of Briggs Chaney, Burnt Mills, Burtonsville, Calverton, Cloverly, Colesville, Fairland, Four Corners, Hillandale, Lyttonsville, Silver Spring, Takoma Park and White Oak.

“Montgomery County is making a lot of progress, and I’m very proud we have achieved so much for Silver Spring, Takoma Park and East County,” said Hucker. “During the last two years we’ve shrunk class sizes, invested in efforts to fight the achievement gap, strengthened our transportation network and developed new programs to help working families. But we’re far from finished so I am running for re-election to ensure our community continues the progress we’re making.”

When asked what he is most proud of in his first term, Hucker referred to the County Council’s commitment to education.

“I’m most proud of the historic Council budget that funds the first reduction in class size in many years and attacks the achievement gap, as well as a large increase in funding for school construction,” he said.

The 2018 Gubernatorial Primary Election is just a little over a year away. It takes place on June 26. Early voting takes place on June 14 – 21, 2018.

You can find out more about Hucker’s campaign, here.

 

Early Voting & Student Debt: Bethesda Magazine Coverage

Early Voting & Student Debt: Bethesda Magazine Coverage

Proposed State Laws for Montgomery County Focus on Changes in Alcohol, Election Regulations

One bill would enable the county to set up a student loan authority to help local students finance college educations

By Andrew Metcalf of Bethesda Magazine

Excerpt:

The Maryland General Assembly will return to work in January and Montgomery County’s state representatives are preparing a number of bills pertaining to local issues to introduce in the 2016 session.

2015-11-18 local bills

Among the proposals is the bill already generating a significant amount of controversy—Del. Bill Frick (D-Dist. 16) and five other representatives are sponsoring legislation to enable private distributors to sell alcohol in the county and compete directly with the county’s Department of Liquor Control (DLC).

A number of other bills have been posted on the county delegation’s website for consideration this year. The public will have an opportunity to comment on all the bills at a 7 p.m. Nov. 30 public hearing at the County Council office building in Rockville.

Here is some of the legislation proposed by the county’s delegation this year:

To increase the number of early voting centers – MC 14-16

This bill would increase the number of early voting centers from eight to 10 in the county. The legislation follows controversy surrounding early voting centers after the Board of Elections voted to relocate centers in Burtonsville and Chevy Chase. The Republican majority board later reinstated the voting centers after Democrats vehemently protested the change. However, after the controversy was settled, County Executive Ike Leggett said in a letter he would support state legislation that would add an early voting site in Potomac.

To enable the county to set up a student loan refinancing authority – MC 27-16

More than a dozen county representatives signed on to support this bill, which would enable the county to set up a student loan refinancing authority. The authority could help local students finance the cost of higher education through loans it would offer, according to the bill. Because this is “enabling legislation,” the bill would not automatically set up the authority upon passage; county officials would have to establish the authority and appoint a five-member board to run it. If established, the authority could then raise funds by issuing bonds in order to provide college loans to students.

Hucker Urges School System Against Buying Artificial Turf Fields

Hucker Urges School System Against Buying Artificial Turf Fields Until Other Maintenance Needs Are Met

County Council member testified before Board of Education in opposition to $11 million artificial turf field plan

By Aaron Kraut of Bethesda Magazine

The county school system’s proposal to outfit all high schools with artificial turf playing fields ran into some early opposition this week from County Council member Tom Hucker.

Hucker, who represents Silver Spring, testified at a Board of Education (BOE) public hearing Monday on the recommended six-year capital budgetreleased late last month by Interim Superintendent Larry Bowers.

After testifying in support of the addition projects Bowers proposed for elementary schools in Silver Spring, Hucker spoke out against the interim superintendent’s proposal to include $11 million in the $1.72 billion budget to begin installing the artificial turf fields at the 19 county high schools without one. Six high schools already have artificial turf fields.

Hucker told BOE members that money shouldn’t be spent on artificial turf fields until Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) addresses a backlog of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) upgrades to Goodman brand heating at schools around the county.

“As long as we face huge needs on maintenance, to me we shouldn’t be spending millions on unnecessary luxuries like artificial turf fields until we have a safe classroom and adequate heating and air conditioning for each of our school children,” Hucker said. “We should commit ourselves together not to spend any dollars on luxuries like artificial turf until that day.”

Panorama of the artificial turf field at Walter Johnson High School, via Flickr user WJ Soccer

Hucker and the other eight council members will have final say on the school system’s capital budget when they take up the county’s entire six-year capital budget next spring.

Bowers recommended the $11 million over the next six years to complement any private fundraising from school booster clubs or other organizations that would be put toward paying for artificial turf fields.

The Thomas S. Wootton High School athletics booster club, MCPS and Bethesda Soccer youth soccer league combined to pay for a $1.2 million artificial turf field that now serves as the Rockville school’s main field.

Bowers said constant use of existing grass fields, by school teams and by outside community groups, was contributing to unsafe playing conditions.

“MCPS school fields are constantly used by schools and the community and the artificial turf will provide safe playing conditions for all participants in sporting activities,” Bowers said.

He recommended budgeting $2.5 million toward the program in fiscal year 2017.

His recommendation didn’t detail what kind of artificial turf fields MCPS and partner groups will pursue. Concerns about the possibly carcinogenic chemicals in crumb rubber, which fill traditional turf fields, inspired the County Council to pass a resolution earlier this year pushing for turf fields filled with organic materials only.

In his recommended capital budget, Bowers proposed a substantial increase in funding to address a backlog of about $160 million worth of HVAC projects, according to recommended budget documents.

MCPS says the school system would require $28 million per year for the next 10 years to address the entire backlog of HVAC projects, meaning Bowers’ recommendation of $122 million over the entire six-year budget “only begins to address this problem,” according to Bowers’ budget proposal.