Montgomery council member Ervin to leave seat in January -- Gazette.Net







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Calling it one of the most difficult decisions she’s ever had to make, Montgomery County Councilwoman Valerie Ervin will leave her seat in early January to take over a New York-based nonprofit that advocates for working families. Ervin (D-Dist. 5) of Silver Spring said Tuesday that she would resign her seat on Jan. 3 to become executive director of the Center for Working Families.

“I want to continue to make a difference, in a new way,” Ervin said.

No one has been a stronger voice against inequality than Ervin has, County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) said Tuesday at a press conference at the Council Office Building in Rockville.

Along with several other speakers, Leggett referenced Ervin’s direct way of dealing with issues.

Ervin has been a friend and political supporter, but also one of his most vocal critics when they disagreed, he said.

State Sen. Jamie Raskin (D-Dist. 20) of Silver Spring said he’s also been on both sides of conflicts with Ervin. But he praised her Tuesday for her passion, as well as her dedication to justice and solidarity.

“Valerie Ervin is a justice politician,” Raskin said.

Council President Craig Rice (D-Dist. 2) of Germantown said Ervin has been like a mother to him since he joined the council in 2010.

Rice said he can’t thank her enough for all of the ways she’s helped him be a stronger council member.

Councilwoman Nancy Navarro (D-Dist. 4) of Silver Spring, who served with Ervin on the council and on the county’s Board of Education before that, said it was Ervin who first encouraged her to run for the school board.

She said she’s happy that Ervin will be going on to another level with the new job.

“I cannot think of anyone better than you to lead,” she said.

Since the vacancy caused by Ervin’s departure is occurring after Dec. 1 of the year before an election, no special election will be held, County Attorney Marc Hansen said Tuesday.

The council will have 30 days to appoint a new member approved by a majority of the remaining members to serve out the rest of Ervin’s term, Hansen said.

The new member will have to be a Democrat who lives in District 5, the same as Ervin, he said.

If the council fails to act within 30 days, Leggett will appoint a candidate from a list provided by the county’s Democratic Central Committee, he said.

Silver Spring Democrat Evan Glass announced in November that he intends to run for the District 5 council seat.

Ervin has been on the council since 2006, and served as president for the 2010-11 term.

She serves as chairwoman of the Education Committee and as a member of the Government Operations and Fiscal Policy Committee.

She also served on the Board of Education from 2004 until 2006.

She has been a strong advocate over the years for the poor, and was instrumental in making Montgomery the first in the country to have a countywide food recovery network.

She called the food recovery network as one of her biggest achievements during her time on the council, as well as a program to provide meals over the summer for low-income children.

Earlier this session, Ervin was a co-sponsor on a bill that will increase the county’s minimum wage to $11.50 an hour by 2017.