County Council At-Large Candidate: Hans Riemer

Photo of the candidate courtesy Hans Riemer

Why are you running for County Council?

I am running for re-election to advance our progressive, Montgomery community values:

  • To reduce Montgomery County public schools’ class size, to strengthen pre-k and afterschool programs for low-income children
  • To move towards a smart growth future, protecting our environment while helping to ensure our county is more affordable and attractive to newcomers and empty nesters
  • To stand up for our immigrant communities, and
  • To provide superb representation for our community on all of these great challenges.

What are your qualifications for the position?

Today I serve as County Council president, leading the council’s deliberations through many significant challenges with our finances, budget, education, transportation, and economic development. In the years since I was first elected in 2010, I have gained extensive knowledge of our community’s complex needs as well as how to be a more effective councilmember for our community. With four councilmembers departing the council and a new county executive incoming, we will need effective, experienced leaders on the County Council. Previous to the council, I worked at AARP, for Barack Obama, for Rock the Vote, and in other progressive leadership roles.

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

Yes, and yes. I am proud to have helped enact our public financing law as a councilmember and prouder still to participate in it as a candidate. We must do everything we can to reduce the influence of money in politics.

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

Without a stable and growing base of high-paying jobs, Montgomery County will not be able to fund our schools, parks, and libraries; and more importantly our families will not be able to provide for themselves. I am pleased that today, thanks to changes made by the council, the county’s economic development and workforce development programs, long neglected, are now run by nonprofits bringing together professionals and leaders in the business community. It’s a great start in a new direction.

Montgomery County’s biotech/life sciences industry is strong and growing, with global powerhouses such as GlaxoSmithKline announcing their plans to make Montgomery County the global hub for research on vaccines. While the county has gotten started on programs to build a cybersecurity here industry, we have a lot more to do. And we must do more generally to support local manufacturing and production. I am championing policies in all of these areas.

Our strongest economic development resource and the one that we must continue to invest in, is our workforce, which is highly educated and attractive to great companies. Our work to revolutionize Montgomery County’s approach to workforce development is proceeding successfully but is only in beginning stages.

Thanks to the rise of urbanism, our economic development success in the next decade is increasingly dependent on our thriving downtowns. Innovative and growing companies want to be where they can find a creative workforce, and the workforce wants to be where it has the right quality of life.

I have been the council’s strongest champion for creating thriving urban areas through zoning, transit, liquor reform, historic preservation and cultural amenities, place making, parks, bike and pedestrian infrastructure, food trucks, and super-fast internet.

We have more to do to successfully attract young workers and keep our empty nesters so that companies will find the workforce that they need right here in Montgomery County.

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.

Perhaps my work expanding afterschool programs and pre-k for low-income children doesn’t resonate. Or my work expanding public transportation, promoting walkability and creating housing opportunity. Do you like beer? I am proud of my success in fostering a local brewery scene. From the initial law enabling breweries to bypass a middleman distributor, to zoning changes and economic development incentives, under my leadership the county has worked diligently with entrepreneurs to create what entrepreneurs in the industry now call “the best place in the region” to open a brewery. Just visit our new breweries including Denizens, Seven Locks, Waredaca, Brookeville Beer Farm, True Respite, Saints Row, the soon to open in downtown Silver Spring, AstroLab and Silver Branch to get a taste of why you should vote for me.

Hans Riemer is the Montgomery County Council president and has served as an at-large member since 2010. Riemer has dedicated his career to public service and his dream of creating opportunity for all people to achieve their potential. As a councilmember, he works towards his vision by advocating for public education and public transportation, early childhood programs, libraries, recreation, human services, housing and economic development.

Riemer has a passion for progressive change that comes from his roots in Oakland, California, and the commitment to social justice that he learned from his parents, who were active in the community. His background in public policy and political engagement prepared him well for service as a Montgomery County councilmember. Hans previously served as:

  • Senior Advisor for AARP
  • National Youth Vote Director for Barack Obama
  • Political Director for Rock the Vote, and
  • Director of the Campaign to Protect Social Security from Privatization.

Riemer was born and raised in Oakland and graduated from the University of California at Santa Cruz in 1995. He was elected to the council in 2010 and re-elected in 2014. He and his wife Angela live in Takoma Park, along with their two sons, Henry and Travis, both MCPS students. They love the community life that is available to residents of Montgomery County.

Reimer currently serves as chairman of the Metropolitan Washington Air Quality Committee and one of only two county officials nationally on the FCC Intergovernmental Advisory Committee. In the council, Riemer serves as the lead for digital government as well as on the committees for Planning, Housing, and Economic Development and Government Operations & Fiscal Policy.