2022 Primary Election Endorsements:
Governor: Tom Perez or John King
This year our top priority must be to elect a Democratic Governor. There are a large number of candidates in the race and several of them can be considered progressives. The Steering Committee met with some of the candidates, attended forums and reviewed their websites. A few things were clear from our deliberations. First, we are in the “Anybody But Franchot” camp. His work with Hogan on many issues, including beltway expansion, showed him to be the wrong person for the job. We don’t need Republican-lite. Of the remaining candidates, there were two clear favorites among the Steering Committee: John King and Tom Perez. Both candidates have strengths and weaknesses, but we believe that either one would be a tremendous improvement over the Republicans and would lead Maryland in a progressive direction towards more equity and justice. We encourage you to review their platforms and make an informed decision when you vote next month. We could not reach a consensus among the Steering Committee members, but hopefully we have narrowed the choices down for you.
County Executive: Marc Elrich
Progressive Neighbors endorses Marc Elrich for a second term as County Executive. He is the clear progressive choice in this race. Elrich has led Montgomery County the past 3 ½ years, kept us safe during the pandemic, moved us forward to address climate change, advanced reforms in public safety and policing, preserved and expanded affordable housing (particularly for the lowest income residents), improved our transit problems (without expanding highways by adding Bus Rapid Transit) and kept us fiscally solvent. He does not throw money at developers hoping for better results.
At Large: Brandy Brooks
Progressive Neighbors endorses Brandy Brooks for an at-large seat on the Council as the best candidate to move the county forward towards a fairer, more inclusive and better place to live. We supported Brooks in her run for County Council four years ago, and she came very close to winning. We believed then, and still believe now, that her long record as a community activist, for example as an activist on renters issues, will make her a progressive champion on the Council.
At-Large: Will Jawando
Progressive Neighbors endorses Will Jawando for an At-Large seat on the County Council. Jawando has a demonstrated record as a progressive lawmaker and community leader with a focus on equitably addressing underserved needs of lower income residents before and throughout the pandemic. Jawando supports renters rights and was critical in legislation that extended a cap on rent increases until May 15, 2022. He is passionate about supporting county residents in need of affordable housing and stresses that there is no one size fits all approach to the problem, rather a multi-pronged approach with different elements that need to be implemented. Jawando grew up in Montgomery County and knows it well.
At-Large: Laurie-Ann Sayles
Progressive Neighbors endorses Laurie-Ann Sayles for an At-Large seat on the County Council. Sayles is thoughtful, deliberative, innovative, and active on progressive-oriented issues. She has years of experience as an active councilmember for the diverse City of Gaithersburg. She is a forceful advocate for equity and opportunity for all county residents.
D2: Will Roberts
Progressive Neighbors endorses Will Roberts for the District 2 County Council seat. Roberts serves as legislative director for Congressman Jamie Raskin and chairs the board of the Renter’s Alliance. He will be a progressive champion on the Council.
D4: Kate Stewart
Progressive Neighbors endorses Kate Stewart for the District 4 County Council seat. Stewart has a demonstrated progressive record with a history of innovative advocacy and implementation as Mayor of the City of Takoma Park. Stewart is well-connected and has advocated on issues before the Maryland General Assembly. She currently serves as Board Vice-Chair for the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. Prior to her service as Mayor, she held a leadership position for a community organization focused on youth, family planning, and related matters.
D5: Kristin Mink
Progressive Neighbors endorses Kristin Mink for the District 5 County Council seat. Mink is a former MCPS teacher and graduate, who now serves as the Senior Legislative Organizer for the Center for Popular Democracy. She is vocal and passionate about fighting for causes that improve lives of the underserved and underrepresented. For example, she supports overhauling policing techniques, increased protections for renters, investment in renewable energy, and strengthening and growing labor unions.
D6: Maricé Morales
Progressive Neighbors endorses Maricé Morales for the District 6 County Council seat. We endorse Morales from among a very talented field of candidates because she is a proven progressive leader who has the most experience, the best record of achieving hard-won accomplishments, and a confirmed record of effective advocacy for progressive ideals. Morales is capable of bringing together winning coalitions to prevail on progressive priorities in heated battles, upholding the public interest against entrenched special interests.
State’s Attorney: Bernice Mireku-North
Progressive Neighbors endorses Bernice Mireku-North for Montgomery County State’s Attorney. Mireku-North has the vision, leadership and experience to be a transformative progressive change agent in the criminal justice system. Mireku-North’s work as an Assistant State’s Attorney and in her own law practice widened her understanding of the immense power a prosecutor holds. Her leadership work as chair of the Silver Spring Citizens Advisory Board and Co-Chair of the Montgomery County Reimagining Public Safety Task Force gave her unique and valuable insight to form a fresh vision for the changes needed in the criminal justice system. She is committed to the principles of accountability and transparency in making prosecutorial decisions.
Comptroller: Brooke Lierman
Progressive Neighbors endorses Brooke Lierman for Montgomery County Comptroller. Lierman’s progressive record as a State legislator is excellent and she will bring needed improvements to this role when she is elected.
D3: Scott Joftus
Progressive Neighbors endorses Dr. Scott Joftus for the D3 School Board seat. Joftus is a thoughtful, deliberative, and experienced education leader, with an eye toward best practices for students and innovation. He is a current Board of Education member, and has consulted for a variety of school districts across the country. Dr. Joftus thinks highly of having Community Engagement Officers in the schools and as a good compromise between those who want police officers in the schools and those that don’t want police officers in the schools. He prioritizes mental health support for students and adherence to the Maryland Blueprint legislation. He worked with underserved students for a number of years long before joining the Board of Education.
At-Large: Karla Silvestre
Progressive Neighbors endorses Karla Silvestre for the At-Large School Board seat. Silvestre is an articulate, knowledgeable, and committed education leader. She currently serves as Vice President on the Board of Education. Silvestre has been a strong advocate for the Latino and Immigrant populations in Montgomery County. Her progressive priorities are to improve high school graduation rates for students of color and to provide extra support for at-risk pre-kindergarteners. Silvestre also strongly supports enhanced mental health services for all students.
Judges: No Endorsement
Progressive Neighbors remains troubled by the undemocratic process by which judges are chosen in Montgomery County. Some of our concerns are that judges from certain firms may have preferential treatment for judicial positions, and that the Governor (in this case Larry Hogan, who is no friend of progressives) ultimately makes the final selections, despite the vote results. We plan to conduct a forum this fall on how to change the current system. The election of judges, whatever you may think of it, allows a challenge to this system and we think it’s a healthy alternative. People who are disturbed by the current system should consider a bullet vote for the challengers in protest. But we are not making any endorsements in this race.
Endorsements for MCDCC
The Democratic Central Committee races can be important since about a third of all delegates in the Maryland Legislature were initially appointed by the county central committees to fill vacancies. There are lots of candidates running and you get to vote for one male and one female for your district as well as four males and four females in the At-Large race. While we did not distribute questionnaires or vet all the candidates and there have not been any forums to attend, there are several people running whom we know and trust and can recommend for your votes. They include:
At-Large: Michelle Whittaker
District 16: Teresa Saavedra Woorman
District 18: Edward Fischman
District 39: Bobby Bartlett or Mumin A. Barre
We hope you will support them next month during the primary.
State Legislative Races:
Most State legislative races are uncontested. There are several candidates that we have previously endorsed who are running for reelection and have demonstrated that they are progressive champions on the state level. Progressive Neighbors enthusiastically endorses:
The District 20 Team:
David Moon, Lorig Charkoudian, Jheanelle Wilkins and Will Smith.
Other State Legislators:
Vaughn Stewart (D19), Julie Palakovich-Carr (D17), Gabe Acevero (D39), Emily Shetty (D18)
And one new endorsement: Max Socol (D18)
Max is a long-time progressive activist and organizer. Despite being a relative newcomer to our county, Socol has made a powerful impression on local progressives, first with his advocacy for police accountability and now, in his campaign, in range of issues on which incumbent senators have been getting in the way of strong meaningful action on climate, social justice, police reform and housing. He will be the consistent progressive voice in the Senate which is missing currently in our Montgomery County delegation.
U.S. House of Representatives:
Progressive Neighbors endorses Congressman Jamie Raskin for reelection to Congress in District 8. His record as a Congressman is unparalleled. He has been a tremendous moral and constitutional leader in the House, and a national champion for progressive causes. We are proud to be an early supporter of Raskin and his fight for social justice.
Progressive Neighbors endorses Donna Edwards for Congress in District 4. Donna is a courageous progressive leader with a life time record of achievements across a wide range of issues from ending domestic violence, to fair trade, to protecting people against financial scams, to championing equal and civil rights. She served in Congress with outstanding results, and has been an effective, outspoken voice in the media. We look forward to Donna bringing her leadership and experience back to Congress.
Progressive Neighbors endorses Heather Mizeur for Congress in District 1 against the despicable Congressman Andy Harris. Mizeur has the best opportunity to defeat Harris, despite the failure of redistricting to create a better balance in that District.
U.S. Senate: Chris Van Hollen
Progressive Neighbors endorses Senator Chris Van Hollen for reelection. Van Hollen has been an unfailing progressive during his first term in the Senate. He deserves a second term, and our strong continued support.