I grew up in Memphis, Tennessee where I was an active participant in the Civil Rights struggle. I worked in my first political campaign when I was only eleven years old. In high school, I was involved in the fight to prevent the construction of Interstate 40 through Overton Park, the largest park in Memphis. Although the battle went all the way to the Supreme Court, we won! I then attended Washington University in St. Louis, graduating Summa Cum Laude with a degree in Political Science. I completed my Master’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
After graduate school, my husband, Steve, and I moved to New York City. I quickly worked my way up in Wall Street, working for four years as a Government Bond Trader at Oppenheimer and Company. After a brief stint in Indianapolis, Indiana, Steve and I moved to Rockville, where we started a family. Our oldest child, Kevin, lives with his wife in Bethesda, and our daughter, Kim, lives with her husband in Philadelphia.
I soon became active in my community, New Mark Commons, where I still live today. I often testified at Rockville City Hall on issues of interest to my neighborhood, so it was, perhaps, not too surprising when I decided to run for Rockville City Council in 1991. I served two terms on the Council, and then ran successfully for Mayor. During my three terms in office, I worked hard to facilitate the redevelopment of downtown Rockville and to secure the funding needed for the new Rockville Library. I also led a major visioning effort, known as “Imagine Rockville,” which brought residents from all areas of the city together over several months to envision the type of future we all wanted for our city. To strengthen the city’s tax base, I created the Rockville Economic Development Corporation. Working with the Council, I was also able to bring about the annexation of the King Farm into the City and oversaw its development approval, as well as that of Fallsgrove. I particularly enjoyed my work with the Rockville Caregivers Coalition, which enabled me to help the city’s less advantaged population.
After stepping down from politics, I worked as a Smart Growth Policy Analyst at the National Governor’s Association, but I missed being in the County, so I accepted a position as Director of the Montgomery County United Way. In 2004, I became Chief of Development Review at the Maryland National Park & Planning Commission, and in 2013 I became the Deputy Director. In this role I managed the Zoning Code Rewrite team, overseeing an effort that led to the adoption of a new zoning code in October of 2014. I have also worked on Master Plans, development approvals, and other innovative planning studies.
Serving as County Executive will give me an opportunity to put all of this experience to good use!