Marilyn Balcombe Plans Run for County Council in 2018 (VIDEO)
Germantown resident Marilyn Balcombe, who is the president and CEO of the Gaithersburg-Germantown Chamber of Commerce, is planning a run for Montgomery County Council in 2018.
In an interview at the studios of Montgomery Community Media (see videos below), Balcombe, a Democrat, said she wants to make sure the County Council has experienced, knowledgeable, and passionate leaders.
She points to the change occurring in Montgomery County during the next election cycle as a result of term limits.
“At this point, four Councilmembers cannot run and so we know there are at least four open seats,” said Balcombe, who believes her experience and knowledge of local issues make her a strong candidate to serve. The four Council seats that are opening up because of term limits are currently represented by Roger Berliner, Marc Elrich, Nancy Floreen and George Leventhal.
When asked why term limits passed, Balcombe said she thinks the property tax increase played a role.
“It was a tough year for the Council,” Balcombe said. “The public generally likes the idea of term limits and the tax increase added to that.”
Balcombe, a 23-year resident of the county, has been president of the chamber for 12 years. She has one daughter, Emily, who was born in Montgomery County and who attended public schools. Over the years, Balcombe has been active in the PTA, her HOA, and other organizations.
Currently, a majority of the County Council lives in the Downcounty. Balcombe said she thinks that may change in 2018 because of population changes in the Upcounty. As for the issues, she said, they are the same across the county: good schools, safe streets, a strong, diverse immigrant community, adequate transportation and good development.
So what happens next?
“At this point, it is a very soft campaign,” said Balcombe. “It is a constant conversation with people”
In fact, Balcombe has not officially decided if she will run at-large or for the District 2 seat currently held by Councilmember Craig Rice. She knows she doesn’t want to run against Rice so it depends on what he decides to do.
“He’s doing a great job,” Balcombe noted.
As for her timing, Balcombe said she comes forward now because there are lots of lists being made and she wants to ensure her name is on those lists as a viable candidate.
“My decision to come forward is to stake my claim. To say, I am a serious candidate and I think I would do a fantastic job for my community,” she said. “There is plenty of time for campaigning down the road.”
When asked if she will take advantage of the new campaign finance fund, she’s not sure and has some questions. “As a new candidate, I am learning a lot of new things about running for office,” she said. “I think the biggest question is whether I would be able to get the donations needed because they are small donations. And … raising money is hard, for anything. So, I think that that is the question I have to look at, look at the numbers and see if it is feasible to do it. ”
As for that growing list of candidates that’s been in the news, Balcombe said she would like to see more women on those lists and more women running for elected office locally and nationally.
“I am hoping that there will be other women who will join me on the list,” she said. “I think it is important that given the rhetoric today, nationally. I think it is just important to have women leaders, and to have women elected officials.”
Asked how she explained the importance of the Election of 2018 to voters, Balcombe describes it as “a sea change” in the Council Office Building and in other leadership roles in the county administration.