County Council At-Large Candidate: Hoan Dang

Photo of the candidate courtesy Hoan Dang

Why are you running for County Council?

Montgomery County is a great place to live and work. However, we are facing challenges that demand innovative solutions. Our population has almost doubled in the past 40 years, leading to overcrowded schools, horrible traffic congestion and higher taxes. With the real threat of shrinking resources from the federal government and a slow-growing economy right here at home—we need a leader on the County Council who has a vision for a better Montgomery County.

My vision for our county is an equitable, safe and welcoming community with a booming economy, excellent schools and a fast transportation system, in which residents are engaged and empowered to better their lives and the lives of others.

Our county faces many dynamic challenges ahead, and I believe that thoughtful, engaged, and accountable leaders serving on the County Council is critical. That’s the kind of leadership I will bring as your next Montgomery County Councilmember At-Large, and why I respectfully ask for your support and your vote.

What are your qualifications for the position?

I am a budget expert, community leader and former refugee who has spent the past 30 years serving our community in Montgomery County. As a budget expert, I have spent decades managing multi-million-dollar budgets and solving budget gaps. Montgomery County will operate a $5.6 billion budget in FY 2019, with a projected budget shortfall of $200 million. This will mean less funding for schools, infrastructure and economic development.

As the only Democrat running at-large with more than a decade of experience managing multi-million- dollar budgets, I will find innovative ways to close our budget gaps, while using my experience as a community leader and former refugee to meet the needs of our growing and diverse population.

Are you using public financing, yes or no? a. If yes, have you qualified for matching funds?

Yes, I have qualified for matching funds. I was one of the first three candidates to do so.

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

The single best way to expand the county’s tax base is to create more good paying jobs. As a current board member of the Asian Pacific Chamber of Commerce, I’ve seen how legislation can kindle or kill innovation and job growth. Montgomery County must become more competitive so that small businesses can invest and grow here, while creating good-paying jobs that are accessible to residents regardless of which side of Montgomery County they live in.

Specifically, I would propose to:

  • Collaborate with small businesses to make the county more “business friendly
  • Improve current county regulations by changing how our county departments engage with business for inquires, permits and regulatory compliance. Montgomery County should be a leader in improving interactions with businesses by making procedures less complex and easier to understand.
  • Work with the Montgomery County Economic Development Corporation to ensure that resources and materials are accessible to wide range of small business owners, including minority, women, and veteran-owned small businesses.

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.

Because of term limits, our County Council will be losing a combined experience of 50 years. With a looming budget deficit, increasing opportunity gap and a growing diverse community, it’s critical that we elect candidates who can hit the ground running and do not require a protracted learning curve. I believe I meet those requirements.

As a budget expert working for the federal government, I possess a granular understanding of the budgeting process and know how to ensure we are maximizing every single dollar of revenue that comes in.

As a board member and active participant of the George B. Thomas Sr. Learning academy for the past 14 years, I have worked to close the achievement gap through our flagship Saturday school program that teaches math and writing skills to over 3,000 students every year. And as the former president and chair of the Association of Vietnamese Americans, I have helped resettle and provide services to over 25,000 refugees and immigrants to make sure they become productive and contributing members of our community.

Our county needs leaders who are ready to meet our challenges head on, and that’s why I respectfully ask for your vote.

Hoan Dang is a well-known community organizer, activist, and public servant in Montgomery County, as well as a leading voice within the county’s diverse communities. Hoan and his family were among the thousands of Vietnamese refugees who fled the horrors of the Vietnam War. They escaped less than 48 hours before the fall of Saigon, when communist forces took over on April 30, 1975. After living in refugee camps for eight weeks, his family relocated to Montgomery County, which he has called home for more than 40 years.

Hoan’s background as a trained engineer coincides with his enthusiasm for solving problems and finding solutions to everyday challenges. Hoan currently works as a budget expert for a federal client, managing three multi-million dollar budgets and specializing in procurement services.

Hoan grew up in Bethesda, and is a graduate of Walt Whitman High School. He has lived in Rockville, Derwood, and Silver Spring. Hoan currently resides in Wheaton with his wife Tonia. They enjoy taking walks, trying new restaurants, and watching movies in their spare time. He is also certified by the World Tae Kwon Do Federation as a 3rd degree black belt instructor.

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