County Council At-Large Candidate: Lorna Phillips Forde

Photo of the candidate courtesy Lorna Phillips Forde

Why are you running for County Council?

I am running to represent the diverse interests of the people who live in Montgomery County. There are a number of areas in which I hope to effect positive change for county residents, including:

  • Universal economic viability (affordable housing and childcare, access to quality healthcare for all, small business development and growth and attracting and retaining business)
  • Public safety and security (police/community engagement, diversity, and use-of-force training, quality mental health care, raising awareness about opioid abuse and providing training and protection for law enforcement in responding to opioid-involved incidents)
  • Transportation infrastructure (dedicated funding for Metro and a 10-year plan for funding, Bus Rapid Transit along the Route 29 and 355 corridors, best practices for good bikeway access to Metro stations, transit-friendly communities)
  • Quality education (improving school climate and school safety, reducing class size, helping teachers meet the social and emotional learning needs of all students, closing the achievement gap, ensuring teacher pay that acknowledges the value of the hard work they perform, equal access for students at all socioeconomic levels and from all racial and ethnic backgrounds to MCPS’ gifted, magnet, and other special programs, and increasing parent engagement).

What are your qualifications for the position?

I have lived in Montgomery County for 30 years and have spent most of those years in advocacy and public service. I am the current president of the Montgomery County Commission for Women and a gubernatorial appointee to the Maryland Commission for Women. In both roles, I have been a fierce advocate for women and girls across the county and state, successfully pushing for legislation such as the “No Means No” law and paid sick and safe leave. I have traveled across the county with fellow commissioners conducting listening tours, testified before the Maryland House of Delegates and Senate, and chaired the county commission’s signature Women’s Legislative Briefing, which grew to almost 800 attendees under my leadership.

I am a board member of the Jewish Council for the Aging and have successfully directed and coordinated a record number of volunteers for their annual 50+ Employment Expo. I am also a steering committee member for the Josiah Henson Project, which raises funds for the historic restoration of Josiah Henson Park.

In addition to the foregoing, I have worked on a wide scope of issues affecting the lives of county residents through leadership roles in a host of other organizations, including Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., a public service organization (immediate past president of the Montgomery County Alumnae Chapter and current Maryland state social action coordinator), the NAACP, the county Board of Elections, and county Sister Cities.

On the professional side, I would bring to the council my experience from a successful corporate career in finance and planning at companies such as IBM, Getronics, University Research Co., LLC, LORAL Federal Systems, and WANG. I have demonstrated expertise in reviewing proposals and managing grants and contracts from $4 million to $30 million, developing pricing strategies for award winning cost proposals, supporting contract negotiation and conducting financial analyses. I would be able to quickly transfer and rely on this knowledge to bring value to the council’s extensive budget process.

Currently, as a small business owner, I operate a missions and leisure travel company that inspires, educates, and motivates members of organizations and groups to visit destinations that radically change lives, increase faith, and build upon passions to help the underserved communities around the world. My company has successfully provided travel services for groups and individuals across the United States and abroad. Through my business, I have gained a global perspective of the needs of diverse populations.

Finally, I am a devoted mom of twin adult daughters whom I raised right here in Montgomery County. They attended county public schools, and their lives were shaped here in this county. They are now college graduates and career women.

I hope to bring all of my experience and enthusiasm to the table to work toward funding, services, and programs that are fair, equitable, and accessible for all Montgomery County residents.

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

Yes, I am using public financing and am working hard toward qualifying for matching funds.

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

I would propose to increase the tax base by diversifying investments to spread the risk and increase opportunities.

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.

My primary motivation for running for council at-large is the residents of Montgomery County and my belief that I have a responsibility to increase my level of advocacy on their behalf. I love this county, and in my 30 years here, I have seen the community grow in population, diversity, and business opportunities. At the same time, I am aware of the challenges that residents face around issues such as affordable housing and childcare, equity in education, livable wages, accessible and efficient transportation, healthcare, and public safety.

There is so much more to do to ensure that all residents of Montgomery County feel safe and secure in their neighborhoods, have access to quality education, childcare, and healthcare, and can afford to live and thrive in their community. My mission is to hear the voices of residents about the issues that keep them up at night and to work toward services, programs, and funding that are fair, equitable, and accessible for all county residents.

I live my life as a collaborator, and I can work well with other members of council, the county executive, the board of education, and most important, the residents of the county, to move Montgomery County forward and to make sure that we are all thriving together countywide from birth to retirement.

Lorna Phillips Forde is a 30-year Montgomery County resident who has been in continuous service to the county and her fellow residents for many years. She is the president of the Montgomery County Commission for Women and a gubernatorial appointee to the Maryland Commission for Women. She also serves in leadership roles on other boards and organizations, including the Jewish Council for the Aging, Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., the Josiah Henson Project, and Montgomery Sister Cities. She has spent countless hours advocating in support of legislation and policies on behalf of women, girls, workers, families, the elderly, and others in the county and state.

Forde is a successful small business owner with a B.S. in Business Administration, an M.B.A. in finance, a certification in contract management, and sound experience in finance and planning. She is the proud mother of young adult twin daughters who attended Montgomery County public schools.

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