Brooks Files for At-Large County Council Seat

A community organizer has entered the at-large race for the Democratic nomination for Montgomery County Council.

“I’m running because I’m so excited to be working for a Montgomery County that works for all of us,” said Brandy H.M.

Brooks, 40, of Wheaton. She said the county has abundant resources, which should be equitably shared by all.

“I feel like for everyone, we should have safe, clean and wonderful housing that’s close to parks and great schools, and has really good transportation,” Brooks said.

She cited the Aug. 10 Flower Branch Apartments fire in Silver Spring as an example of how housing can break down because of code violations. The explosion and ensuing fire killed seven people and injured 39.

And she cited rising rents; Brooks rents her home.

“How do I make sure I can stay in the county?” she asked. “We need to talk about what makes housing stable.”

She said the county needed to build affordable housing, expand tenants’ rights, and pass laws for rent stabilization laws and just cause eviction.

How will she accomplish this? “I don’t think I’ll do it all by myself,” she said. She said she has a background as a community organizer, including work with Progressive Maryland, whose website says it is a statewide nonprofit advocacy organizing promoting social, economic, and racial justice.

She said the $15-an-hour minimum wage should be treated “not as a ceiling but as a floor.”

She said it was incredibly disheartening to have the Montgomery County Council pass increases to the minimum wage, which would eventually get to $15 an hour, only to have the legislation vetoed by County Executive Ike Leggett.

“We realize we need to organize and build up power even more,” she said. “This has to be a movement-building campaign.”

Brooks said she wasn’t too worried about what’s practical.

“If we limit to only talk about what is practical throughout history, I wouldn’t be here talking to you now about running for office as a black woman,” she said.

A former Virginia resident, Brooks formerly lived in Massachusetts. She has lived in Montgomery County for two years.

She said she and her family moved to Montgomery County in 2015 “because we found a place to live where we could support one another: me, my mom, my sister and brother-in-law, and my little niece,” she said.

“My family and I have made our home and planted roots here — and that’s why it’s important to me to work every day so we, and families like ours, can continue to live and thrive in Montgomery County,” she said.

Brooks is one of at least 11 candidates vying for four at-large seats on the County Council. She and nine other Democrats have filed paperwork with the State Board of Elections to use the county’s new public election fund. The fund caps individual campaign contributions at $150 each; in return candidates can draw from a taxpayer-financed fund for candidates.

The nine other candidates using the fund are Bill Conway of Potomac; Hoan Dang, Evan Glass, Danielle Meitiv and Darwin Romero, all of Silver Spring; Lorna Phillips Forde of Germantown; Richard Gottfried of Rockville; Councilmember Hans Riemer of Takoma Park; and Chris Wilhelm of Chevy Chase.

In addition Green party member Tim Willard of Kensington has also filed to use the fund. And Democrat Ron Colbert of Damascus has filed an at-large candidacy, but he has not filed to use the public election fund.

According to online election records, no Republicans have filed to run in the at-large race.

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Douglas Tallman

About Douglas Tallman

Reporter with 35 years experience throughout Maryland. Reach me at or via Twitter at @MCM-Doug


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