Committee for Montgomery (CfM) is a coalition of leaders representing a broad cross-section of Montgomery County business, labor, education, civic, arts, and community-based organizations. Our mission is to advocate in Annapolis on issues of importance to Montgomery County and the State. Through its membership, CfM represents more than 350,000 Montgomery County voters. CfM shapes its state legislative and budget priorities based on its goal of preserving and strengthening Montgomery County as a place to live, work, and learn.
The Committee for Montgomery Board of Directors requests that the following priorities be viewed through an equity lens, particularly given our ongoing pandemic recovery efforts. The core issues and priorities listed below should be considered as a collaborative approach to addressing top needs in Montgomery County in the short- and long-term.
Montgomery County needs a thriving economy and broadly shared prosperity to support investments in education, public safety, and health and human services. A supportive business climate is necessary to help Montgomery County be competitive with surrounding jurisdictions. Traffic congestion and lack of mass transit service to centers for business and education activities hampers State and County economic growth and hurts the wellbeing of our residents.
CfM Legislative Priorities:
CfM urges state action to grow our local economy and fund comprehensive and multi-faceted solutions to our transportation concerns, including:
· Supporting a strategic, coordinated, regional approach for pandemic and economic recovery. Supporting policies, incentives, and aid packages that support business growth and sustainability for all types of businesses, including small businesses, opportunity zones and incubators.
· Recognizing and supporting the non-profit sector as an essential component of our local economy.
· Supporting funding to help meet the need for high-demand and/or high-skill jobs in the County through strategic partnerships between education, business, labor, and non-profit institutions.
· Promoting multi-modal transportation strategies to increase efficient access to jobs, schools, and commerce, including increasing public transportation and electric vehicle usage.
· Assuring protection and sustainability of the Transportation Trust Fund.
· Increasing daytime capacity for MARC service on the Brunswick Line and eliminating MARC route gaps.
· Supporting State funding for the Corridor Cities Transitway, rapid transit, pedestrian and bike safety programs, and other transportation projects throughout the County.
· Supporting the recovery of the tourism industry to include arts, restaurants, hospitality/hotels, entertainment, museums, and others with specific aid packages for this industry given its lagging recovery due to the pandemic.
Montgomery County is home to the largest and most diverse public school system in Maryland. The county also has a strong public higher education presence with Montgomery College and the Universities at Shady Grove. Our students and educators face widening race- and class-based gaps in outcomes, aging facilities, and uneven access to opportunity, all exacerbated by the pandemic. We should cultivate a strong, creative, and educated workforce through investments in expanded experiential offerings and supports for students of all ages.
CfM Legislative Priorities:
To address the countywide needs of our schools and students, CfM will advocate for:
· Continuing to monitor and support/secure funding for the implementation of the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future, which promises transformational investments in teacher compensation, community schools, career/technical education, early childhood education, and racial/linguistic/income equity. This is especially vital as we work to address learning disruption caused by the pandemic.
· Advocating for capital funding to upgrade Montgomery County’s aging school facilities, including ventilation systems.
· Developing enrichment programs, internships, apprenticeships, and Career and Technical Education programs--including certification and micro-credential programs.
· Supporting capital funding requests for Montgomery College.
· Securing increased state operating funds for Montgomery College (MC), and the Universities at Shady Grove (USG).
Increasing greenhouse gas emissions and the destruction of forests and tree canopy lead to erratic and severe weather patterns, threaten our food and water supply, adversely affect the economy, reduce our quality of life, and disparately affect marginalized communities.
CfM Legislative priorities:
CfM urges aggressive action to mitigate and adapt to climate change by reducing carbon emissions and stewarding Maryland’s precious natural resources, including:
· Reducing the carbon footprint of residential and commercial buildings.
· Closing coal-fired power plants and supporting displaced workers while supporting the transition to zero-carbon energy production.
· Protecting Maryland’s forests, increasing tree canopy, and funding State parks located in Montgomery County.
· Supporting the adoption and use of renewable energies like solar and wind, including educating and training the workforce necessary for those industries.
· Encouraging the adoption of electric vehicles both for personal use and in the public sector.
· Funding improved pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure.
· Supporting new and existing state-wide waste reduction, reuse and recycling programs.
· Supporting public transit infrastructure and adoption.
· Exploring and encouraging remote work incentives.
Every person in Montgomery County and in Maryland deserves to live safely and free from inequitable treatment based on race, ethnicity, gender identity, sexual preference, socioeconomic status, disability, age, or religion.
CfM Legislative priorities:
CfM will advocate for continued attention to issues of employment, criminal justice, social justice, and public safety, including: Improving access to resources needed for members of marginalized communities, including food, healthcare, and housing security.· Legalizing recreational cannabis, setting up an appropriate regulatory scheme, and ameliorating the racialized criminal justice outcomes of the pre-legalization system.· Reforming the criminal justice system to ensure juvenile preventive measures, programming, and sentencing to divert more youthful offenders from going into the adult system.· Studying and proposing innovative solutions to gun violence and other public safety issues, especially those issues that disproportionately affect marginalized communities or that present novel challenges based on new technologies.· Ensuring that the State Board of Elections and local boards of elections are adequately funded to ensure equal voting access to all Maryland voters.
Housing affordability creates vibrant, stable, healthy, diverse communities. Affordable housing makes it possible for Montgomery County to attract young talent, for racially and economically integrated communities to form and prosper, and for entrepreneurs to take risks knowing that they can afford their housing payment.
CM Legislative Priorities:
CfM urges state support for housing affordability initiatives, including:
Pressing the State to distribute federal assistance meant to keep Marylanders in their homes during the pandemic. Funding Maryland's historic renters' right to counsel in eviction proceedings and advancing Marylanders' rights to affordable, stable housing. Urge State incentives, such as tax credits, for development, revitalization, and adaptive reuse to produce housing affordable to the workforce, young families, and seniors.