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Press Releases - County Council

Montgomery County Council enacts Racial Equity & Social Justice Act & approves Economic Development Platform spearheaded by Council President Navarro

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Racial equity and social justice work tied to strategic economic

framework that includes growing the county’s tax base,

creating new business opportunities and removing regulatory barriers

 

ROCKVILLE, Md.,—On Nov. 19 the Montgomery County Council unanimously enacted the Racial Equity and Social Justice Act and approved a new county Economic Development Platform. Both legislative measures were spearheaded by Council President Nancy Navarro with full Council support. 

“Addressing issues of racial equity and social justice is a moral obligation, and it’s a socioeconomic imperative, if we are to ensure the continued economic vitality of Montgomery County,” said Council President Navarro, who also serves as chair of the Government Operations and Fiscal Policy Committee and is a member of the Education and Culture Committee. “We stand united as a government that is laser focused on meeting the needs of all residents by looking at our decisions through a racial equity and social justice lens and reinvigorating our county’s economic development efforts to achieve a thriving and diversified economy.” 

The goal of the Racial Equity and Social Justice Act is to institutionalize the norms of racial equity and social justice into the work of county government.  This will be implemented by establishing a racial equity and social justice program and an Office of Racial Equity and Social Justice in the Executive branch.  The Racial Equity and Social Justice Act also requires racial equity and social justice training for all county employees and racial equity and social justice impact statements for budget, legislative and land use decisions.  

The goal of the Economic Development Platform is to establish a strategic economic framework that enables a focused and disciplined implementation of the county’s economic initiatives. It includes a thriving and diversified economy, greater innovation, racial equity and social justice and environmental sustainability as desired outcomes.  This platform is focused on four pillars: business development, housing, transportation and workforce development. These sectors are critical for the long-term success of the county and its community members.

 

“My hope is that these combined efforts send a clear message to businesses of all sizes and entrepreneurs at home and abroad that Montgomery County truly is open for business, and we are committed to changing the way we make our decisions,” said Council President Navarro.  “Working towards the established goals of the Racial Equity and Social Justice Act and the Economic Development Platform will enhance our ability to attract the innovators and business investment necessary to sustain the programs, services and amenities that make our county an extraordinary community.” 

Work on the Racial Equity and Social Justice Act officially began in April 2018 when the Council passed a resolution led by Council President Navarro, to create the framework to develop a racial equity policy.  Since that time Council President Navarro, Councilmembers and County Executive Elrich have met with community members throughout the county on racial equity and social justice issues.  

Formal community conversations on racial equity and social justice, which were co-hosted by Council President Navarro and County Executive Elrich, began in March.  These conversations in Silver Spring, Germantown and White Oak, and a youth meeting at Gaithersburg High School, were attended by more than 750 community members.  Various community groups also hosted individual meetings at nonprofit organizations, religious institutions, community centers and in private homes.   These conversations centered around the fact that decisions are being made by local government on issues like education, housing, health care and transportation without a full picture of how these decisions impact under-represented communities experiencing inequities across the county.  

“I am proud that I was able to formulate and shepherd these overarching foundational legislative measures that will enable the Council to more clearly focus on issues impacting all of our residents in a holistic way for years to come,” said Council President Navarro. “We are committed to breaking down social and economic barriers and taking bold action to expand our tax base, grow good paying jobs and provide our residents with the services and amenities they need to live, work, play and raise a family in our extraordinary community.”  

View Council President Navarro’s remarks on the Racial Equity and Social Justice Act here and on the Economic Development Platform here.  

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Release ID: 19-363
Media Contact: Sonya Healy 240-777-7926 , Juan Jovel 240-777-7931