Gaithersburg’s Election Season Begins Today (PHOTOS & VIDEO)

The three incumbents say they are not running as a slate but Gaithersburg Mayor Jud Ashman and City Councilmembers Yvette Monroe and Michael Sesma picked up their election packets at the same time on Friday morning.

All three incumbents arrived at 9 a.m. and they were not the first ones to pick up a candidate packet for the 2017 election at City Hall on June 2nd.

An hour earlier, a city official said, Gaithersburg resident Darline Bell-Zuccarelli picked up her candidate’s packet for the office of mayor. If she runs, it won’t be her first campaign. Bell-Zuccarelli also ran against Ashman and Henry Marraffa for the office of mayor in the 2015 election.

The Gaithersburg city election takes place on Nov. 7 and the offices of mayor and two City Council seats are on the ballot. The winners will serve a term of four years. Candidate packets for the Nov. 7th election are now available online and at City Hall. The documents are due back, with a candidacy petition, by Sept. 22.

In an interview today, Gaithersburg Mayor Jud Ashman said he wants to serve another term to keep the city “great.”

“My goals have been largely the same over the ten years that I have served,” said Ashman. “I think our biggest priorities are sort of revitalizing and redeveloping the east part of the city. I think that we are constantly challenged with questions of growth and how do we grow and how do we continue to serve our growing population in a fiscally responsible manner, as we have done.”

Sesma is running for a fourth term.

“There’s still work to do as far as my role on the City Council,” said Sesma. “I am proud of what I have been able to do in my first three terms. The reasons I ran in 2005 are the reasons I am running again.”

Monroe was recently appointed to the Council following the death of City Councilmember Marraffa.

Monroe, who has called the city home for over two decades, said she’s learned a lot in her new role and wants to continue to serve.

“I am looking forward to continue the work and the revitalization of Olde Towne,” said Monroe, noting that she also wants to encourage residents to get involved in their city.

It appears the Council incumbents will have some competition in the Nov. election.

Gaithersburg resident Laurie Anne Sayles said she will officially announce her candidacy on July 30th. Her campaign manager picked up her packet today. On her campaign website, Sayles identifies economic development, education and public safety as some of the issues she’s concerned about.

Like Bell-Zuccarelli, Sayles is no newcomer to running a campaign. Sayles narrowly lost her bid for City Council, by just 278 votes, in 2015. The mayor’s race was not so close. Bell-Zuccarelli placed third, behind Ashman and Marraffa, in the 2015 election.

Another potential Council candidate is Gaithersburg resident Jim McNulty, who picked up his packet for City Council on Friday. He also posted a message about his plans to run for election on his social media pages.

“While our city is flourishing, there are still many challenges facing Gaithersburg,” McNulty wrote. “Our schools are overcrowded. Our legacy neighborhoods need reinvestment. Our growth — and the growth upcounty — is taxing our transportation system. We need to work in concert with the state, county, school district and transit agencies to anticipate the future needs of our city and get ahead of the curve, not just play catch up. We need to listen to the concerns of our residents and take decisive action. Growth is a good thing, but if we don’t plan for future growth we can smother ourselves, just like a plant that outgrows its planter.”

There is plenty of time for more candidates to come forward over the summer months. You can find more information about the city election on Gaithersburg’s website, here.

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Sonya Burke

About Sonya Burke

Sonya Burke is the Multimedia Manager at Montgomery Community Media (MCM). You can email story ideas at or reach her on Twitter @SonyaNBurke.


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