Montgomery County Council President Nancy Navarro completed her one-year term as leader of the County’s legislative branch today by addressing the Council on a wide range of issues in reviewing the past year. The following are highlights of her remarks. [EDITOR’S NOTE: A complete list of County Council accomplishments in 2012-13 is attached separately.]
“The theme of my speech when I was elected president last year was ‘One Montgomery.’ I talked about the need for us to confront the social and economic challenges our County was facing head on. I said that now—more than ever before—we must be in this together. That we all share the same need for a government that encourages economic growth, protects our families, educates our children and provides a safety net for those who fall on hard times. . . .
“‘One Montgomery’ means investing in our economic infrastructure so we can continue to strengthen our social infrastructure. It means providing equal opportunity to all of our 1 million plus residents—throughout our 500 square miles . . .
“One of the initiatives I felt most passionately about this year is increasing access to the government for our constituents. Too many of our residents either don’t know how to access government or find it difficult to navigate the system. Last year, we set aside funds for the first time with the goal of increasing communications with our residents. This year, we continued that effort by establishing a new constituent management system, hired full-time bilingual public information support and significantly upgraded our technology infrastructure. We also, for the first time, allowed non-English speakers to testify at public hearings with real-time closed-caption translation. Finally, we held an unprecedented four nights of public hearings, where we heard from hundreds of residents, about the ongoing Zoning Code Rewrite. . . .
“One of my top goals this year was to strengthen our relationship with our delegation in Annapolis. It is powerful when the Montgomery County Government and our State Delegation speak with one voice. This was evident in our advocacy for the successful passage of a transportation financing bill that will provide more than $650 million to Montgomery County to build the Purple Line, the Corridor Cities Transitway and other top transportation priorities. . . .
“The question we ask ourselves each year is this: are we better off today than we were one year ago? Did we accomplish what we sought to? Did we serve the interests of our constituents? Did we make progress for our community? My view is that we will look back on this year as one of transformation. This year, we served our neediest residents, we set the stage to fundamentally reshape our transit infrastructure and we made the investments in our future that will pay dividends for years to come. Montgomery County is stronger today than it was a year ago and I have every bit of confidence that we will continue to make progress and move forward as One Montgomery.”
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