Brookeville’s Karen Montgomery digs in for second Senate term -- Gazette.Net


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State Sen. Karen S. Montgomery is seeking another term, hoping to continue her work on the environment, education and transportation issues in Montgomery County.

“We need to protect what we’ve got,” Montgomery said of the environment. “We are fortunate in Montgomery County to have farmers and the farm reserve. Now they grow mostly corn and soybeans, but perhaps in time they can shift to serve the farmers markets that are held all over the county.”

She would like to urge farmers that are tested in hard work and skills to start training future generations.

Montgomery, 78, is wrapping up her first term serving District 14 in the Maryland Senate. She previously served in the House of Delegates from 2003 through 2011.

Before her role as an elected official, the Brookeville Democrat served as the development director for a number of organizations, including the Olney Theatre and National Rehabilitation Hospital. She also was an assistant professor at George Washington University, teaching sculpture and three-dimensional design.

Having taught elementary, middle and high schools and college, Montgomery also is very interested in improving the status of teachers.

“It has almost become a default position, and I’d like to bring it back to a position of pride,” she said. “I think teachers deserve recognition, and at the same time, we also need to increase the knowledge base and skills of our teachers.”

She also wants to look at how the highly educated in Montgomery County can reach people with disabilities, and soldiers returning without adequate education and training, she said.

Montgomery said she would work to help reduce travel time in the county.

“For some, the ICC [Intercounty Connector] has helped, but north-south traffic still is pretty awful” she said. “I am excited about rapid bus transit. We need to get people moving on reliable public transportation so they don’t feel obligated to use their cars.”

District 14 includes the communities of Ashton, Brinklow, Brookeville, Burtonsville, Calverton, Cloverly, Colesville, Damascus, Fairland, Goshen, Laytonsville, Montgomery Village, Olney, Sandy Spring, Silver Spring, Spencerville and Sunshine.

The district also is served by three delegates, all Democrats. Anne R. Kaiser of Calverton, Eric G. Luedtke of Burtonsville and Craig J. Zucker of Brookeville filed for re-election on April 9.

“We filed as a team the day after the [General Assembly] session ended,” she said. “We have all been working together for three years, and generally seem to work comfortably together and often have the same opinions on many things. It seemed to all four of us to be the sensible thing to do.”

As of Monday, no other candidates had filed for Montgomery’s position.

Montgomery also would like to see more people getting involved in their communities.

“People need to get to know their neighbors,” she said. “Olney is very good at this, but some areas of county are not. We need to make the communities closer so that if there is someone in trouble, there is someone to lend a hand.”

Montgomery said that each member of the District 14 team has had their own fundraiser, and they are beginning to pool some money.

“We are essentially prepared to spend as much as it takes,” she said. “I am hoping we can do it for $10,000-15,000, which of course is predicated on whether or not we have opposition. Jobs that pay as little as these do shouldn’t be raising hundreds of thousands of bucks.”

Montgomery said she held one fundraiser at her home, and followed up with a mailing and phone calls.

“That’s about it for this year,” she said. “I am not planning anything else until next May or June.”

The primary election will take place on June 24, with the general election on Nov. 4. Montgomery said that while she voted for the primary to be held earlier than it has in the past, it could hurt her and other incumbents.

“I voted for it because it will allow ballots from soldiers and others overseas to get back here in time,” she said. “Those running against us will be able to raise money while we are in session, but to me it seemed like the fair thing to do.”

Montgomery has been married to her husband, Harry, for 54 years, and they have three children.

thogan@gazette.net