Rice focuses on unfinished business in Montgomery District 2 council race -- Gazette.Net


Four years ago, Craig Rice left a seat in Annapolis to join the Montgomery County Council. He believed it was the best way to make a difference in the community where he lived.

Now, Rice is seeking four more years to finish some of the work he started.

Rice, of Germantown, is seeking re-election to the District 2 council seat in the June 24 primary against Gaithersburg Democrat Neda Bolourian. The winner will face Republican Dick Jurgena in the Nov. 4 general election.

Rice said he decided to leave his District 15 seat in the House of Delegates in 2010 to run for the council seat because he was convinced the council offered a more satisfying way to develop policy.

In four years in Annapolis, he had three or four bills passed that he was really proud of, he said.

But the council offered a more immediate chance to have an impact.

“We’re in session all the time,” Rice said.

Since joining the council, he said, a bill banning the use of coal tar driveway sealants that could contribute to toxic chemicals in water supplies is one of his biggest achievements. He also cited his push to keep resource officers in the county’s schools and a bill adding stop arms and cameras to school buses.

Rice said he’s also proud of the refurbishing of the North Potomac and Plum Gar community centers and his support for the county’s farming community in the Agricultural Reserve.

As council president for 2014, Rice has made it a priority to collaborate and talk with the county’s neighbors, helping to form a series of meeting of officials from nearby counties and the District of Columbia to discuss local topics.

Rice said he’d like to use that type of collaboration to make sure Montgomery County issues are at the forefront in Annapolis, particularly the need for increased funding for the county’s schools.

He said he’d also like to continue his role as chairman of the council’s Education Committee.

Rice said the council must continue to support small businesses and work on economic development by reforming the county’s procurement process.

As with many candidates, Rice said the county will continue to deal with transportation issues, including bus rapid transit to connect Clarksburg, Germantown and Shady Grove, as well as widening Interstate 270 and adding additional lanes.

Rice said he’d like to increase the amount of contact with Montgomery’s congressional delegation to talk about priorities for the county and the region.

Those relationships and others are why Rice said he’s eager to return for another four years on the council.

“I need to go back to finish what I started,” he said.