I’m proud to once again help present Silver Screens, AFI Silver’s annual terrific series of free outdoor family movies this summer. This year’s screenings kick off with 1993’s “Jurassic Park” on Friday, July 13, and continue on Friday evenings through Aug. 31. Movies start at sundown, between 8 and 8:30 p.m. There’s a new venue this year: Sonny’s Green at The Blairs District, 1401 Blair Mill Road in downtown Silver Spring. The Blairs is also a co-presenter, along with the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center. Other films this summer include “Moana” (July 20) and “Jumanji” (July 27). More information and the schedule are here: https://bit.ly/2xIFZYM.
Last month, the County Council unanimously approved my bill that will create a clean-energy jobs apprenticeship readiness program through Worksource Montgomery, which provides jobtraining and other employment services around the county.
This program will help meet two critical needs in our county:
- It will give our jobless and underemployed residents a great opportunity to train for a well-paying career and climb up the economic ladder.
- It will help provide the skilled workers that our construction companies need, as the industry increasingly incorporates greener technologies. And the need for these workers will only grow, with significant development scheduled in County buildings, schools, neighborhoods near the Purple Line, downtown Wheaton and White Oak, all of which will have a major focus on using renewable-energy sources.
On top of that, promoting more green building technologies is good for the environment and will help the County meet its goal of zero carbon emissions by 2035.
The program will focus on training unemployed and underemployed youth and transitioning adults. The goal is to set them up for success in apprenticeship programs registered with the Maryland Apprenticeship Training Council and for eventual long-term employment in the cleanenergy construction industry.
The program will help prepare participants to work in jobs related to solar systems, green roofs, geothermal systems, rainwater catchments, pervious pavement, thermal walls, wind, natural gas, sewage treatment and other environmental technologies.
The program is not expected to cost taxpayers anything, according to a fiscal analysis by the County’s Office of Management and Budget. The program is anticipated to cost from $10,000 to $17,500 annually, with Worksource Montgomery seeking grants or sponsorships to cover expenses. More information on the bill is here: https://bit.ly/2K81CXO.
This excerpt is from an article in the Sentinel. Read the full article here.
COUNTY COUNCIL INCUMBENTS AMONG DEMOCRAT WINNERS IN PRIMARY
Written by Suzanne Pollak
“Democrat County Council members Tom Hucker, Craig Rice, Nancy Navarro and Sidney Katz won their party’s support again and will be joined by Andrew Friedson on the Democratic ticket in November to represent their districts.
Hucker celebrated his victory in District 5 over fellow Democrats Kevin Harris and Kenge Malikidogo-Fludd at Kaldi’s Social House in Silver Spring. Hucker was elected to the Council in 2014 after serving as a state delegate for almost 10 years.
Proud of his efforts this term to help shrink class sizes in County schools and bring the Purple Line to fruition, Hucker said he planned more work on the same issues for his next term, if elected in November.
Claiming to have worked to bring the Purple Line to fruition “for at least 15 years,” Hucker said he will continue to make sure it gets done “on time and on budget” and with minimal impact to area businesses and homeowners.
It’s important to help the small business owners, he said, adding, “Democrats need to get focused on helping businesses succeed.”
This information has been reposted from the County Council News site. For the original post, please click here.
For Immediate Release: Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Apprenticeship program will help fill industry demand,
give workers needed skills
ROCKVILLE, Md., June 19, 2018 — With green jobs playing an ever-greater role in our economy, a steady supply of skilled workers is essential. With that in mind, the Montgomery County Council on Tuesday approved a bill introduced by Councilmember Tom Hucker, who serves as the Council’s Lead for Environment on the Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee, that will establish a clean energy apprenticeship readiness program within Worksource Montgomery.
“This program will meet two critical needs in our County,” Hucker said. “It will help provide the skilled workers that our construction companies need, as the industry increasingly incorporates greener technologies.
“And it will give our jobless and underemployed residents a great opportunity to train for a well-paying career and climb up the economic ladder, as the need for these workers will only continue to grow for years to come,” he said.
On top of that, promoting more green building technologies is good for the environment and will help the County meet its goal of zero carbon emissions by 2035, Hucker added.
The program will focus on training unemployed and underemployed youth and transitioning adults, including those leaving incarceration. The goal is to set them up for success in Maryland Apprenticeship Training Council-registered apprenticeship programs and eventual long-term employment in the clean-energy construction industry.
The bill defines green jobs as those related to renewable energy, energy efficiency, energy storage, resource conservation, environmental protection and advanced transportation.
For example, program graduates will learn to work on solar systems, green roofs, geothermal systems, rainwater catchments, pervious pavement, building thermal walls, wind, natural gas, sewer treatment and other types of environmental technology
“This is a great program,” said Council President Hans Riemer, a member of the Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee, which voted 3-0 to support the proposal on June 11.
Councilmember George Leventhal, another committee member, agreed with the need for the pre-apprenticeship program, saying SolarCity, a Tesla subsidiary, is “hiring like mad,” according to a relative who works there.
The White House Task Force on the Middle Class said in 2009 that “green jobs have the potential to be quality, family-sustaining jobs that also help improve our environment. They are largely domestic jobs that can’t be offshored. They tend to pay more than other jobs, even controlling for worker characteristics.”
The program is not expected to cost taxpayers anything, according to a fiscal analysis by the County’s Office of Management and Budget. The program is expected to cost from $10,000 to $17,500 annually, with Worksource Montgomery seeking grants or sponsorships to cover expenses, particularly from the State of Maryland’s EARN (Employment Advancement Right Now) program.
“By demonstrating County Council and County Executive support for Green Jobs Apprenticeships, we will put Worksource Montgomery in a stronger position to win competitive grants from the Maryland Department of Labor to train the next generation of skilled workers,” said Hucker.
At a public hearing last month, all four speakers — representing the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission, CASA, the Sierra Club Montgomery County Group and Community Hub for Opportunities in Construction Employment, which works with 28 local building trades unions in the region — enthusiastically supported the proposal.
“This is the right time for this innovative program, with significant development scheduled in the coming years in County buildings, schools, neighborhoods surrounding the Purple Line, downtown Wheaton and White Oak, all of which will have a significant focus on using renewable energy sources,” Hucker said.
More information on the bill is here: bit.ly/2K81CXO
Contact: Robert Rand, 240-777-7937
Release ID: 18-185
Media Contact: Sonya Healy 2407777926
We’re excited to announce the return of our FREE outdoor film series at a new location! Join us each Friday, July 13 – Aug 31, on Sonny’s Green at The Blairs District for a season of big screen favorites under the stars! Films begin at sundown, between 8:00 and 8:30 p.m.
Councilmember Hucker’s office helped launch and secure funding for Silver Screens 2 years ago with the AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center. 2018 Silver Screens is co-presented by AFI Silver Theatre and Cultural Center, The Blairs and Montgomery County Councilmember Tom Hucker.
Sonny’s Green is located at The Blairs District in the center of the property and is accessible from High Park Lane or The Blairs Shopping Center (1290 East West Highway) parking lot.
If you are traveling by car, free parking is available at the Public Parking Lot located at 1317 East West Highway. From the lot exit to your right and walk to the traffic light and cross to The Blairs Shopping Center. The entrance to the park is located at the back of the Giant parking lot.
July 13: Jurassic Park (1993)
July 20: Moana
July 27: Jumanji (1995)
Aug. 3: Isle of Dogs (Dogs are welcome!)
Aug. 10: CatVideoFest 2017
Aug. 17: Game Night
Aug. 24: Clue
Aug. 31: Ghostbusters (1984)
The new operating and capital budgets that the Council signed off on this week have some major wins for District 5 and the rest of the county:
- While holding the line on taxes and starting to reduce our borrowing, we’re fully funding the school board’s operating budget request.
- We’re adding $237 million for additions and renovations at 10 schools in District 5, including $123 million for Northwood High.
- We’re maintaining staffing at Hillandale Fire Station 24 and the Burtonsville station.
- We’re adding a detective to the vice unit to combat human trafficking.
- We’re devoting more resources — $27 million — to curb gang violence, with stronger efforts from the courts, police and community intervention programs.
- We’ve slotted $5.7 million for a long-overdue overhaul of Hillandale Local Park.
- At the Forest Glen Metro station, we’ve allotted $15 million for a second entrance and pedestrian tunnel under Georgia Avenue.
- There’s money for new Bus Rapid Transit projects on U.S. 29 and New Hampshire Avenue.
- And we’re moving ahead with studies for a new student loan finance program, which can make Montgomery County a national leader in helping borrowers refinance their crushing debt loads.
My thanks to my Council colleagues and our staff for their hard work in hammering out a budget that both meets our county’s needs and is fiscally responsible.
See my remarks here:
The wait is finally over. After over 30 years of waiting for a sidewalk on Good Hope Road – the time has finally arrived. Good Hope Estates will finally get its long-awaited sidewalk. A warm and sincere thank you to all the advocates, past and present who supported this monumental moment for our community.
Tom said, “This project has the potential to create a truly walkable and transit-accessible community by connecting residents in an area of the county where many residents share one vehicle. The project will accomplish this by connecting residents to transit along Briggs Chaney Road and to the new Good Hope Neighborhood Recreation Center that will open later this year. Our Council staff recommended delaying this project by two years, but I fought against that recommendation, and I’m pleased to report that the full Council agreed with my recommendation and voted to fund the sidewalk.”
In partnership with One Montgomery Green, Tom Hucker organizes a quarterly briefing and discussion with local business owners, advocates and experts on a variety of topics important to the green business community. Tom’s opening remarks from this quarter’s event are below:
It was great to see the big turnout at the Montgomery County MD Council‘s town hall meeting in White Oak.
Issues on residents’ minds included: transportation (including BRT and station design, buses, senior bus service and road paving); public schools, including their physical condition and how we can close the student achievement gap; development, especially concerns and hopes about Viva White Oak, the possibility of Amazon coming to the county and more consumer choices in Silver Spring; and DACA and immigration, including advocacy for providing legal assistance to immigrants.
You can watch the meeting here:https://www.facebook.com/CountyCableMoCo/videos/1728216513904036/ And if you have concerns or ideas about these or other issues, feel free to contact my office at 240-777-7960 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
ROCKVILLE, Md., Feb. 13, 2018 — Montgomery County Councilmember Tom Hucker has introduced a zoning change that would authorize solar energy projects that could power up to 200 homes in neighborhoods.
Councilmember Hucker, who is the Council’s Lead for Environment on the Council’s Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Committee, introduced a zoning text amendment that will allow solar energy installations with a capacity of up to 2 megawatts. The co-lead sponsor is George Leventhal and co-sponsors are Councilmembers Marc Elrich, Sidney Katz, Roger Berliner and Council Vice President Nancy Navarro.
“For years, Montgomery County has been a leader on green energy and other environmental issues,” Councilmember Hucker said. “Maryland has an average of 213 days of sunshine each year. That’s an important resource that we must take full advantage of. Allowing community solar projects will create jobs and help us meet our renewable energy and greenhouse gas reduction goals.”
In December, the Council passed a resolution setting the goal of eliminating greenhouse gas emissions entirely by 2035.
Stephanie Riddick of the Sierra Club Montgomery County Group said her group was “especially appreciative” of the proposal because it will benefit low- and moderate-income residents.
“We hope that the ZTA will be an opportunity to continue the discussion on how Montgomery County can study our energy situation and work towards creating a 100 percent clean energy future for all county residents,” Riddick said.
While solar power is a reliable, low-cost renewable energy source, many residents cannot take advantage of it for a number of reasons. For example, many homeowners have rooftops shaded by the tree canopy, own a condominium or can’t afford the initial outlay. Other residents can’t install their own solar panels because they rent their homes.
To help address this issue, the General Assembly in 2015 passed a law creating the community solar program, allowing electricity consumers to subscribe to larger, shared solar projects in their service area. Last year, the Maryland Public Service Commission released its long-anticipated regulations on community solar projects.
Other counties, such as Prince George’s, Baltimore and Anne Arundel, already allow such community projects, with 38 such projects approved around the state.
However, Montgomery County’s Zoning Code restricts solar projects to a limited use in nearly all zones and limits solar energy production to 120 percent of on-site energy consumption. These outdated restrictions make it difficult, if not impossible, to establish community solar projects because very little excess energy is allowed to be produced to support other subscribers.
The proposed ZTA allows solar projects in zones other than the agricultural reserve. It raises the generating limit to 2 megawatts, enough to power up to 200 homes.
It’s estimated that each 2-megawatt project would represent the equivalent of getting 310 passenger vehicles off the road and preventing more than 5 million pounds of carbon from entering the atmosphere annually.
Furthermore, each project would generate about $300,000 in personal property tax, 75 to 100 temporary and permanent jobs, and up to $4 million in private investment.
Councilmember Hucker said the county must do its part to curb climate change.
“From devastating hurricanes, wildfires and mudslides to rising sea levels in the Chesapeake Bay, we’re already seeing the disastrous consequences of global climate change, which threaten to only get worse,” Councilmember Hucker said. “Community solar projects, here and around the country, will help reduce our growing carbon footprint and mitigate its impact on our planet.”
The proposed ZTA is on the County Council’s website, montgomerycountymd.gov/council/.
A public hearing on the ZTA is scheduled for April 3 at 1:30 p.m.
Media contact: Robert Rand, 240-777-7937
I’ve been working to set up the county’s own student loan finance program. Under this program, county residents could refinance their college loans at lower interest rates, shaving hundreds of dollars off their monthly payments and saving thousands over the term of their loan.
Those who are saddled with college debt – the average borrower in the county owes upward of $31,000 – knows what a drain it can be, crippling their ability to get a home mortgage, start a business or get a graduate degree. The county’s program could really ease that heavy burden.
The County Council has been generally supportive of the plan (a video of the July 20 committee meeting on the proposal is here). The next step will be conducting a market demand study and cost analysis, which will help us tailor the program to the county’s needs.
Here’s an online petition supporting the proposal, which you can sign and share.