Photo of the candidate courtesy Gabe Albornoz

Why are you running for County Council?

I love Montgomery County. I feel a duty to serve my community and work for the common good. I believe that elected office is a noble profession and provides a clear opportunity to impact social change and to serve as a bridge between communities.

There are challenges ahead and limited fiscal resources. Our residents are imaginative, thoughtful and determined. As an inclusive leader, I want to make sure all voices are heard and respected.

What are your qualifications for the position?

For the past 11 years, I served as County Executive Ike Leggett’s recreation director, an executive position that oversees 3,000 employees and a $37 million budget. To tackle the challenges our county faces, there is no better experience than having served during our county’s uncertain, difficult economic times. I am a life-long county resident, a graduate of our county schools, and as the son of immigrant parents, I have learned to value our diversity.

Are you using public financing, yes or no?

Yes

If yes, have you qualified for matching funds?

Yes

What specific policies and/or programs would you propose to expand the county’s tax base?

We are going to need a combination of tax incentives and assurances for businesses that our county will help them by breaking down barriers to their success. We must be proactive in seeking out ways to help our small businesses grow. Nurturing our existing businesses is the best way to grow our tax base.

We should also celebrate our success in making the short list for the Amazon HQ. We have an amazing quality of life here in our county and it is essential that we maintain and build upon that success story so that we can attract businesses that want to come to a place that boasts excellent schools, an abundance of transit-oriented communities rich with amenities and countless opportunities for taking part in rich cultural and recreational activities and in giving back to their community.

I’m an average voter, interested in doing my civic duty but not an avid follower of county politics. Convince me that I should vote for you over all the other candidates.

During the long years of the “great recession,” as the director of recreation, I was able to maintain excellence in the Recreation Department despite the challenges of an austere fiscal environment.

Under my leadership, the department expanded programing to vulnerable populations and, with a dedicated staff and volunteers, it received dozens of awards for programming excellence from organizations such as the National Association of Counties.

In our current fiscal environment, it is vital that we have a leader with proven experience that will bring this type of experience and commitment to the County Council as an at-large member.

I also bring the perspective of someone whose family emigrated from South America, attended Montgomery College and had instilled in me the importance of education and treating everyone with dignity and respect.

Gabe Albornoz is a candidate for the Democratic Party’s nomination for an at-large seat on the Montgomery County Council. Albornoz is also the Director of the Montgomery County Department of Recreation, a role that he was first appointed to in 2007 by County Executive Ike Leggett. In this role, Gabe oversees a $37 million annual budget, with more than 3,000 employees, and 41 recreation facilities that serve hundreds of thousands residents. Gabe is the youngest-ever cabinet level appointment in county history and has overseen the construction of four new senior centers, six new recreation centers, and renovations to others. Albornoz is the son of immigrants, and a life-long county resident who graduated from Walt Whitman High School. Gabe is also a graduate of the Presidential Leaders Scholars program and is the former chair of the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee. Albornoz lives in Kensington with his wife, Catherine, and his four young children.

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County Council At-Large Candidate: Gabe Albornoz

County Council At-Large Candidate: Gabe Albornoz

Mike Diegel

Co-Founder/Editor at Source of the Spring
Mike Diegel, a founding member of Source of the Spring, is a Silver Spring advocate who has been appointed by the county executive to several committees and task forces. He currently is a member of the Silver Spring Arts & Entertainment District Advisory Committee. His background is in journalism and he earned a bachelor of arts in communications from McDaniel College. He is self-employed as a communications consultant and is an active volunteer with Appalachian Great Pyrenees Rescue. He has lived for more than 20 years in Northwood/Four Corners with his wife Trish and multiple Great Pyrenees dogs. He is better known around Silver Spring as the Guy with the Big White Dogs.
County Council At-Large Candidate: Gabe Albornoz
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