We asked local candidates in contested primary elections to write a sub-750 word essay describing why residents should vote for them on June 24.
Next up is Roger Berliner, who is running for the Democratic nomination in the District 1 County Council race. Below is Berliner’s unedited response:
It has been my privilege to serve the residents of District 1 on the County Council for the past 7 and a half years. I was drawn to this work because I have an abiding faith that government can make a positive difference in our lives.
I had the honor of serving some of the most progressive members of Congress in history — Senator Howard Metzenbaum and Congressman Henry Waxman. I have also worked for the California state legislature as a Senior Policy Advisor. Those past experiences in government shaped me into the public servant I aspire to be each and every day — faithful, active, and effective.
And now after serving two terms as your Councilmember, I can say this unequivocally — local government matters most. It touches our lives most directly every day.
We are blessed in Montgomery County with a good government. Not a perfect government. But a good, honest, decent government.
My work on your behalf has been focused on one fundamental goal — preserving and enhancing our quality of life. How? By getting real results that make a real difference. By focusing on the fundamentals:
Like when our quality of life was seriously threatened by Pepco’s unacceptably poor service, I used the full force of my office to get Pepco’s attention, and then drafted what became our state law that holds them accountable. And lo and behold, the lights are staying on longer and things are finally getting better;
By leading the fight against development where it doesn’t belong, like in the headwaters of Ten Mile Creek, and for it where it does belong, like in White Flint;
By leading our County to adopt a Transit First philosophy, pushing to get BikeShare in our county, and adding money to our budget to develop a traffic signal system that could move us 15 percent faster;
By voting to fully fund our school system in a way that protects our taxpayers and leading the fight to reduce our tax burden;
By working hard to preserve the quality of our wonderful residential neighborhoods and leading our county to a more sustainable future
And by taking care of the most vulnerable among us. We are a compassionate community. It is part of our DNA.
That is just some of what I have done as a legislator. But I have also served you in other ways that are even more direct. Making sure the potholes get fixed; helping to get a sidewalk built so our children get to school safely; or getting a street light installed. Working on the essential and nitty gritty things that affect the daily quality of life of you and your family. My office is most proud that the Washington Post, in its endorsement of my candidacy, called our work on behalf of constituents “superb.”
Finally, I am one of those who believe it isn’t just what you do, it is how you do it. And here is how I have tried to do it. With a good, positive spirit. With integrity. Seeking common ground without sacrificing principle.
I believe my record and temperament are why I have earned the support of an extraordinarily broad coalition of organizations and community leaders — the Sierra Club, teachers, the National Organization of Women, the Washington Post, the Gazette, realtors, progressive labor organizations like SEIU, neighborhood and transit leaders, and organizations representing the vast diversity of our community like CASA and the African-American Democratic Club. And the list goes on.
But it shouldn’t surprise you that there are some special interests that aren’t happy with me. The people who wanted to pave over Ten Mile Creek want me out and are supporting my opponent. The people who want to overturn the will of two-thirds of District 1 voters and the judgment of our police chief in how our police department should be managed want me out and are supporting my opponent.
I see this job as not catering to special interests, but to stand up for the larger public interest. And I have done that to the very best of my ability.
So if you want someone who can bring people together, listen to your concerns, stand up to the special interests, and get the kind of real results that I have produced to enhance the quality of our lives, then I hope I can count on your support. We have more work to do together. I humbly ask for your vote on June 24.