Montgomery Co. council member launches bid for 2nd term with all-star cast

This article was republished with permission from WTOP’s news partners at Maryland Matters. Sign up for Maryland Matters’ free email subscription today.

This content was republished with permission from WTOP’s news partners at Maryland Matters. Sign up for Maryland Matters’ free email subscription today.

Ordinarily, the announcement that a county councilmember was going to seek a second term wouldn’t necessarily merit much attention.

But Montgomery County Councilmember William O. Jawando (D) has always been a young man in a hurry, so the fact that he is gearing up to stay put is, in its way, noteworthy. And he announced his plans in attention-grabbing fashion.

Jawando, 38, ran for the House of Delegates in 2014, finishing 400 votes out of the money in the Democratic primary. He tried for Congress in 2016, then considered applying for an appointment to the state Senate. Finally, in 2018, he prevailed, winning an at-large council seat in a field of more than 30 Democrats.

There’s already been speculation about Jawando’s next political move, but for now it involves seeking a second term. To announce his plans via Zoom on Sunday afternoon, Jawando enlisted an all-star cast of political leaders to speak: U.S. Sen. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Rep. Jamie B. Raskin (D-Md.), and author and anti-poverty activist Wes Moore, a potential candidate for governor.

All hailed Jawando for his efforts to tackle police reform, racial and economic inequities, food insecurity and the need for more mental health services in the county.

“As a resident of Montgomery County, I’m really grateful to have Will representing me on the county council,” Van Hollen said. Both he and Raskin described Jawando as a public official willing to challenge the status quo and move bureaucracies.

And Moore told him: “Your leadership has not just been extraordinary, it’s been imperative…Policy matters and leadership matters.”

Jawando’s wife, Michele L. Jawando, herself a political powerhouse who is a top strategist for Google, said working for his community is her husband’s calling.

The councilmember said “it remains the honor of my life to serve the people in Montgomery County.”

Jawando spoke at length about the inequities laid bare by the COVID-19 pandemic, and said his goal for a second term is to ensure “an equitable recovery.”

“We must be bold and not be afraid to do things differently,” he said.

Jawando said he wants to help bring widespread, affordable childcare, basic income, and adequate relief to struggling minority- and women-owned businesses, to the county. He said that such priorities, while expensive to fulfill, are important to pursue after generations of racism and inequality.

“This is not a time to hold back and not tell the truth about where we are and how we got here,” Jawando said.

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