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Press Releases - County Council

Outgoing Council President Evan Glass’ Remarks on 2023 Council Presidency

For Immediate Release: Tuesday, December 5, 2023

From the Office of Outgoing Council President Evan Glass

Today outgoing Montgomery County Council President Evan Glass provided remarks during the election of new Council officers to reflect on his term as Council president.

Outgoing Council President Glass’ complete remarks can be read below:


One of the last items on the agenda today is the Election of Officers, where we elect new Council leadership. I would like to begin with a moment of reflection on the past year and all we’ve accomplished together.

Leading the 20th Council 

This Council made history as the most diverse ever. Three years ago, I led the initiative to amend the County Charter and add two Council districts. My goal was to expand representation for residents and foster more diversity on the Council.

The outcome of that effort has exceeded my expectations in every way. Today, we make up the most racially diverse and representative Council in Montgomery County’s history –– with a female-majority and a majority of our committees being chaired by Black, Latino, women and LGBTQ+ Councilmembers. We should all be proud of that. And I’m particularly grateful to my colleagues for having faith in me to shepherd us through this transition.

It has been my honor to lead this Council.

Since I was elected to the Council in 2018, I have pushed for greater transparency in County government. I was proud to start this year with several reforms to Council processes that will hopefully benefit the public for years to come.

We increased the time allotted to each public hearing speaker from two to three minutes, returning to the pre-pandemic standard. We extended the opportunity for more of our residents to speak during public hearings, with some of our hearings reaching more than 100 speakers during marathon sessions. And we made Planning Board appointments an open, deliberative process from the dais – not behind closed doors.  

We also ramped up our multicultural communications, providing language interpretation during public hearings and town halls, issuing newsletters in multiple languages, and enhancing our social media and community outreach to diverse communities.

I believe that sunshine is always the best policy, which is why we updated our internal procedures by increasing the scrutiny of supplemental appropriations and by allowing more time after committee worksessions for staff analysis and public input.

With all of these reforms, we saw historic levels of public participation from residents of all backgrounds and historic levels of transparency in all areas, particularly throughout our complex budget process.

Council Unity

During one of the most challenging budgets in our County’s history, every member of this Council was united in our shared commitment to fully fund every labor contract while minimizing the impact on taxpayers.

We worked collaboratively to pass a $6.7 billion budget that continues Montgomery County’s ongoing investments in education, strengthens health services, provides resources to expand housing affordability and supports economic development.

We have had spirited debates and received emotional testimony, yet never devolved into an institution where rancor and acrimony have ruled. Unlike other legislative bodies, we have continued working together toward the shared goal of serving our 1.1 million residents.

Personal Achievements

This year, I was proud to advance major initiatives that address economic development, infrastructure and public safety, as work continued to reduce inequities and ensure everyone can thrive in Montgomery County.

My first action as Council president was to create the Economic Development Committee and elevate the issues that had not traditionally received the time or attention they deserved. I formed the Economic Development Committee so we could have more opportunities to focus on job creation, business retention and individual economic opportunity.   

As we attract more jobs to our community, we must continue looking for opportunities to cut red tape, streamline regulatory compliance, and reduce barriers for small and minority-owned businesses.

As chair of the Transportation and Environment Committee, an ongoing priority of mine has been making our roads safer for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers alike.

I’m pleased that the Council recently passed two major initiatives that will make our roadways and neighborhoods safer for everyone. 

The first is the Safe Streets Act, which I introduced at the beginning of this year, and is the County’s largest pedestrian safety initiative since the adoption of Vision Zero.

This law will bring much-needed safety improvements to our roads by enhancing walk times at crosswalks and prohibiting “right turn on red” at busy intersections in downtown areas, among other safety improvements.

The second is the Pedestrian Master Plan, which is the Planning Department’s first comprehensive vision to improve accessibility and safety for people walking and rolling around the County. The passage of these two measures brings us closer to our goals of making our streets safer for everyone.

We’ve also made progress on initiatives that have been many years in the making.

We’re taking steps to help combat climate change with the passage of legislation that bans gas-powered leaf blowers. Moving toward electric leaf blowers is an important step we can take to address environmental, noise and health concerns in our community.

And, like communities across the nation, Montgomery County is working to reduce the gender pay gap. We recently received the first report of the Pay Equity Act, which I introduced in 2019 to ensure gender pay equity for government employees. The report found that we have eliminated the wage gap in base salaries between genders and that the changes we’ve made at the local level have put us ahead of the state and federal government in closing the pay gap.

I’m proud of how far we’ve come in the last few years.

Here in Montgomery County, we have a long tradition of inclusivity and celebrating our differences by encouraging all residents to be their true and authentic selves. It’s one of reasons I – and so many of us – have chosen to call Montgomery County home. As a proud Jewish man and the first openly LGBTQ+ Council president and member of the Council, I understand the importance of having a safe place to live, work and pray without disruption.

That’s why, in response to the disturbing rise in racial, ethnic, religious and LGBTQ+ hate crimes in Montgomery County, I launched the Anti-Hate Task Force, which we heard from earlier today. The task force included a diverse coalition of community and faith leaders who worked for five months to develop policy recommendations that promote safety and combat hate crimes in Montgomery County. The task force was formed because there were 143 reported bias incidents in Montgomery County in 2021 -- the highest number in nearly a decade – with that number only continuing to grow.

Now that the task force has transmitted their final presentation to the Council, I look forward to working with my colleagues to implement their recommendations. 

We are all committed to making Montgomery County a safe and welcoming home for people of all backgrounds. We must continue to stand together to forcefully denounce hate and bigotry.

Collaboration with State & Federal Partners

We’ve also been proactive in working with our state and federal partners to push for enduring investments to our school system, infrastructure and economic development. We’re grateful for the collaboration and support this year from the Moore-Miller Administration and General Assembly, as well as our partners on Capitol Hill, who share common goals on critical issues that impact our residents.

Whether it’s pushing for greater oversight and accountability for education spending or improving state and County roads, we have reliable partners at every level of government who are equally dedicated to the people of Montgomery County.


I was proud to lead this Council and build upon our progress to make Montgomery County a more fair and equitable place where residents of all backgrounds can live, work, worship, raise a family and age in place. But it would not have been possible without support from the people here in this room.

I want to first thank my husband Jason for his patience and encouragement. From being supportive and understanding of long work hours, which included nearly every night and weekend this year, Jason has continued to support me as my husband and my best friend.

To my work family –– David Lorenzo-Botello, Joy Champaloux, Hope Klein, Hannah Wilcove, my senior fellow Dorie Hightower, and our interns, Bryan Soto-Hernandez and Molly Liberman –– all of whom have gone above and beyond the call to public service. This team has met the demanding responsibilities that come with serving in the Council president’s office, doing it all with dignity, grace and compassion. I thank you for your hard work and your deep dedication to serving our residents. 

I am especially grateful to my chief of staff, Valeria Carranza, who led with grace, dedication and determination – she made this role look easy and seamless – and most importantly, kept us united even during difficult policy debates. Not only did she help keep this Council running, she also trained for and ran her first marathon during this year. She is one fierce chief. 

Thank you to all my Council colleagues for your partnership, passion and collaboration as we navigated this new chapter in the Council’s history. 

And thank you to Council Vice President Andrew Friedson for being a friend and a good representative for his district. I’m confident Vice President Friedson will continue to foster an environment in which good government and transparency are central to our work.  

I want to thank the Council’s outgoing Executive Director, Marlene Michaelson, who has been pivotal in keeping us moving forward and bringing countless positive changes to the Council during her 35-year tenure at the Council. My thanks also goes to the Director of the Office of Legislative Oversight Chris Cihlar and his team for providing the Council with critical in-depth analysis that continues to help shape our policy work. 

I want to also recognize Deputy Director Craig Howard, Senior Attorney Christine Wellons, all our attorneys and analysts, our dedicated Council Clerk Sara Tenenbaum and her staff, our Legislative Information Officer Sonya Healy and her Emmy award winning team, our Racial Equity Manager Selena Mendy Singleton and Multicultural Communications Manager Bertha Cerzosimo for their invaluable contributions to the Anti-Hate Task Force, Administrative Services Manager Sandra Marin and our exceptional Legislative Information Services and administrative staff and IT Manager Michelle Parsons and the information technology team.

We appreciate all their hard work and dedication to the Council and the community.

Lastly, thank you to the thousands of community members, advocates and partner organizations who engage with us and share their meaningful perspectives that continue to guide our policies and decision-making.

It’s been an honor serving as your Council president and I look forward to continuing to serve this amazing County.

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Release ID: 23-404
Media Contact: Valeria Carranza 240-257-6198
Categories: Evan Glass