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Montgomery County Council President Sidney Katz represents Council at Committee for Montgomery’s Annual Legislative Breakfast

For Immediate Release: Friday, December 13, 2019

President Katz says: ‘Montgomery County is a welcoming community, and our highly educated and entrepreneurial workforce is one of our greatest assets.’

ROCKVILLE, December 13, 2019—Today Council President Sidney Katz provided remarks on behalf of the Council at the Committee for Montgomery’s Legislative Breakfast. This event brings together leaders from across Maryland and is considered the unofficial kickoff of the 2020 Legislative Session. Council President Katz’s complete remarks can be read below.

Good Morning Everyone

It is both my honor and pleasure to be here with you today. Thank you to breakfast Co-Chairs Bonnie Casper and Marjorie Goldman and to Committee for Montgomery Board Chair Dave Rodich for your hard work in planning this annual event. I also want to express my appreciation to all the federal, state and local representatives who have come together this morning.

Today, I bring greetings from the entire Montgomery County Council – Council Vice President Hucker, and Councilmembers Albornoz, Friedson, Glass, Jawando, Navarro, Rice and Riemer. I would like each of my colleagues and their staff members to stand for a moment to be recognized.

As I embark upon my year as the president of the Council, I do so striving to be a positive leader. And I need participation from everyone in this room. We need to collaborate, communicate, and challenge the status quo to accomplish our shared goals for the residents of Montgomery County.

I have many priorities, and each of them are dependent upon a strong, healthy economy. Nearly one year ago, I joined County Executive Elrich to kick off a multi-faceted joint initiative called 4Business—Benchmarking to Be the Best for Business. This initiative has already produced positive changes for those who do business in Montgomery County. For example, we have streamlined our application processes, working with our Office of Procurement Director Ash Shetty and his team, and these changes have been applauded by our business partners.

In addition, the extensive and detailed feedback we have received through our online survey has provided the framework for two charrettes. These meetings provided stakeholders with the opportunity to share their concerns and be part of the roadmap that we will use to develop solutions.

As we work to increase our tax base, we must seize every opportunity to demonstrate that we are a great place to do business. We are taking the criticism we hear seriously and are committed to action. I will continue to work with businesses located here, and those that should locate here, so that we can expand and boost our economy.

Montgomery County is a welcoming community, and our highly educated and entrepreneurial workforce is one of our greatest assets. We want to be certain that our regulations and requirements are sensible and comparable to those in surrounding jurisdictions.

Everything we want to accomplish, and yes, I mean everything, requires a strong workforce. We need to equip our young people with the skills necessary to succeed in our 21st century economy.

Quality early learning environments drive educational growth and development which helps children to enter school ready to learn and succeed. And this must begin in the home. Parents are powerful teachers, and I want to make certain that, in addition to enhancing quality childcare and increasing access to pre-kindergarten, we strengthen parents’ ability to positively impact the educational trajectory of their children from day one. This is particularly important for communities affected by opportunity gaps.

Our vibrant and diverse county provides our residents with an outstanding school system. We can build upon this by working collaboratively to meet the educational, health and mental wellness of all students in all schools. I, along with my colleagues, are closely studying the Kirwan Commission’s final policy and funding formula report, so that we are properly prepared to address the implementation of this long-term funding approach.

We also need to encourage our students to explore different pathways to success. I am committed to working with the Board of Education to increase career educational opportunities not only for students connected to the school system but also for young people who have become disconnected. I have begun to explore ways of engaging youth who are transitioning out of the foster care system into holistic employment and life skills programs. I look forward to seeing these efforts come to fruition during the next year.

Our senior population is growing, and this community adds so much to our county, while at the same time presenting issues that we must address. A critical issue that cannot be placed on the back burner is affordable senior housing. We will need to be creative to meet this critical need. I am eager to support upcoming efforts in this arena.

I will continue to work with each of our public safety departments and all our first responders to ensure that they have the personnel, training, and equipment needed to safely serve and protect our residents and guests.

We face both exciting and challenging times ahead. We will maintain our county’s exceptional quality of life. We will innovate. We will make the strategic investments needed for our county to thrive. We also must do more with less, and the county’s almost six-billion-dollar annual budget must be spent judiciously. We also face new and exciting times ahead.

Ideas are easy. It is the implementation that is difficult. I need your assistance. Together, let’s embrace both the excitement and challenges that lie ahead.



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Release ID: 19-395
Media Contact: Lisa Mandel-Trupp 240-777-7906 , Juan Jovel 240-777-7931