Wednesday, 14 Nov 2018
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Marc Elrich of Montgomery has a huge mandate – but there are divisions to repair


Marc Elrich has some work to do. He was elected on Tuesday with a decisive mandate to lead Montgomery County, one of the most economically and economically most populous jurisdictions in Maryland. But his progressive campaign drew the attacks and harsh criticism from corporate and development leaders of the liberal suburbs, who rallied around Nancy Floreen, a long-time Democrat who dropped out of political affiliation to challenge Elrich as an independent. Floreen said that Elrich, as a veteran member of the county council, would be a "disaster" as a county executive. Now, Elrich needs to reestablish relations with the business world as he prepares to govern a growing county of a million inhabitants, where worries about the growth of the base Taxation and jobs are mixed with concerns about school overcrowding, congestion and poverty. He also needs to build relationships with newly re-elected Governor Larry Hogan (right), whom Elrich had criticized in the past – most recently on Facebook, just days before the elections, when he wrote that the governor was working to thwart the democrats. do enough to distance yourself from President Trump. "In the state of Maryland, the governor's office is a very powerful and powerful office, and you have to find ways to work together," said outgoing county executive Isiah Leggett (D), who supported the democrat Ben Jealous in the governor's race. a close relationship with Hogan and refused to campaign against him. "The county alone can not govern in isolation."
Democrat Marc Elrich, center, chats with Karen Brooks, left, secretary of the Leisure World Democratic Club, and Elrich's driver, Clay Teunis, right, while he was campaigning for Leisure World at Silver Spring on polling day. (Cheryl Diaz Meyer / For the Washington Post) Elrich, who has not heard from the governor's office since the election, said he did not say anything about Hogan that other Democrats did. have not said. "We are both adults," he said in an interview on Thursday. "When the dust settles, you work with everyone. That's exactly what I plan to do. "[[[[Hogan's "tour de force" calls for national ambitions]Elrich, the vitriol of the campaign now, is preparing for the transition – he has already sent 180 invitations to be part of his team – and thinks his term will surprise those who have not supported him. A former teacher supported by progressive organizations and unions, he said his door was open to everyone, including the developers, who proposed to speak. "I hope they will understand better what I want to do and will be less panicky," said Elrich, who won nearly two-thirds of the vote and finished far ahead of Floreen and Republican Robin Ficker. "I think people will realize as soon as I start doing things that I do not have an extreme agenda."
Candidates for Montgomery County Leadership, from left to right: Republican Robin Ficker, Democrat Marc Elrich and Independent Nancy Floreen. (Bill O 'Leary / The Washington Post) Elrich spoke about economic development in his victory speech Tuesday night outlining his program: Bridging the "unacceptable" gap in the county's schools, improving the school's performance. Early childhood education, building rapid transit routes – a system he proposed a decade ago – and examining the business climate in the county, which, he said, insists too much on how to attract large companies. "We are going to focus on small businesses," said Elrich to the cheering crowd, who sometimes broke into chanting "Mark! Mark! Mark! "Because we are all talking about the contribution of small businesses to the construction of the regional economy or any economy," he said. Second, our policies focus on the amount of tens of millions of dollars I can give to the largest companies in Maryland. . Elrich also spoke about the success of public funding – this election cycle was the first to use the county's matching fund system – which allowed him to run a much more ambitious campaign than his previous efforts. And, he promised to use it again for his next campaign. "You usually do not do this during a term," he explained later. Leggett said that Elrich had to fight the "perception" that he was anti-business – an idea exploited by
Floreen and the developers who supported it. "There is a perception, true or otherwise, but a very serious perception that your goal is too narrow and does not include a broader base of people's concerns," Leggett said of Elrich. "You have to find ways to clearly demonstrate to those who do not agree with you, especially in the business world, that you are going to be the county's executive for everyone." [DMV midterms: Key takeaways from the election in Maryland, D.C. and Virginia] Some company heads who approved Floreen have already issued a conciliatory note, stating that his candidacy was an "impossible task" in an extremely democratic county where voters were determined to send a message to Trump. Charlie Nulsen, president of a super PAC who spent thousands of dollars criticizing Elrich, said he believed the new county executive understood that the county's business climate needed to be improved. He also said he was not worried about the political consequences of his opposition to Elrich during the general elections. "I do not think that's the way Marc will behave, his way of acting as a leader," said Nulsen, president of Washington Property Co. in Bethesda. "I think we are happy and that we would be happy to sit at the table to see if there was any ground for solving these problems." "Real growth" of the elected county executive during the campaign. "I think he's become a much better listener," Slavin said. He added that Elrich had always been one of the favorites of the NIMBY crowd during his 30 years of political tenure – first as a city council member of Takoma Park, and then as a county council member for three terms. Now he needs to expand and move his goal as he prepares to be sworn in next month. "I think one of the questions they're asking themselves about is whether he has the skills to go from legislator to executive," Slavin said. "I think people saw a big change at home, even during the campaign, when he realized that the role of a county executive was totally different from that of a member. from the left board. "

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