Meeting critical health care needs

Dear resident, today the County Council approved a $20 million emergency appropriation to provide grants to small businesses (including nonprofits) affected by the COVID-19 shutdown. We expect the application system to be available soon (i.e. days not weeks). Please reach out to me if you are a business owner with questions.

We also approved $6 million for emergency health and human services needs, such as providing safer housing for the homeless and meeting emergency needs for families.

Following are a few additional updates about my work over the past few weeks. Keep reading >>

Using ABS to help stabilize our restaurant sector

Earlier today, I sent a letter (reprinted below) to County Executive Marc Elrich asking that he direct the County Alcohol Beverage Services (ABS) to help stabilize the restaurant sector, which is experiencing a catastrophic decline in revenue as a result of the COVID-19 shutdown.

My proposal would allow restaurants to defer payments on beer, wine, and liquor purchases from the County warehouse for 12 months. Unlike grants, the money will be repaid (it will be effectively a zero interest loan; businesses that fail can be required to return their inventory to the county). The program will help restaurants with very low cash flow in a very uncertain environment to regain their footing. Keep reading >>

Some useful information on COVID-19

Dear resident, I hope you are as well as you can be in this uncertain moment. Because you are getting many COVID-19 emails, I will be brief.

Here is some information I think you will find useful as we weather this storm together, and weather it we will. Please hang in there and take care of each other.

We are all monitoring the number of COVID-19 cases to see the effectiveness of our public health response. Here is the Governor’s special page that will update the case count at 10:00AM daily.

Keep reading >>

Keeping the Silver Spring Circle on track

Last month I learned that the County Executive has proposed to delay the Fenton St. Cycletrack bikeway, which is a key part of the Silver Spring Circle.

In response, Councilmember Glass and I wrote the following letter to the County Executive urging him to advance this critical project with all due haste. I will fight hard through the Council’s budget process to get this project back on track.

Dear County Executive Elrich:

Like you, we are committed to Vision Zero and achieving zero deaths on our roadways by 2030. We were pleased to see the County’s Vision Zero efforts—in particular the Silver Spring Circle (a network of protected bicycle lanes and intersections)—play such a prominent role in your State of the County Address. We agree that pedestrian and bicyclist safety must be a much higher priority. Keep Reading >>

Jobs: We can do this

Dear resident,

You may have seen the recent Washington Post stories about economic challenges facing Montgomery County. As Northern Virginia’s tech sector booms, our job growth is lagging.

We urgently need a new vision and action to grow our job base. We can do it — by understanding our strengths and investing in them.

Looking at economic powerhouses like Boston or the Bay Area, it is clear that research institutions — usually major universities — are driving innovation and economic growth.

That is why I am so excited about my recent engagements with our Federal research labs, such as the National Cancer Institute of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), and others. Keep reading >>