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"Few county officials are as capable or widely admired, including by his own rivals in the at-large race."

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Our County. Our Future.

Nuestro Condado. Nuestro Futuro.

Gabe Albornoz is a Democrat running for Montgomery County At-Large in Montgomery County, Maryland.

Life Long County Resident • Husband • Father • Public Servant • Community Advocate • Leader



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About Gabe

Gabe is a lifelong resident of Montgomery County and is deeply committed to our County, its people, and, as the son of immigrant parents, its diversity. He grew up here, graduated from Montgomery County Public Schools and has dedicated his career to public service and advocating for just social policies.

With proven experience in the nonprofit sector and local government, Gabe will bring his commitment, perspective and unique skills to the County Council as an at-large member.

Gabe’s father, Marcelo Albornoz, immigrated from Ecuador, and his mother, Marisol, immigrated from Chile. Both attended Montgomery College and instilled in Gabe the importance of education and treating all with dignity and respect. Gabe graduated from Walt Whitman High School, received his Bachelor of Arts in Communication from the University of Maryland, and an MBA from The Johns Hopkins University.

Gabe with his mother and father.

Gabe is truly “at-large,” having lived in Gaithersburg, Silver Spring, Bethesda; and now, Kensington, where he lives with his wife Catherine, also a Montgomery County native, and their four young children.

A record of excellence

As Director of the County’s Recreation Department, Gabe has built a reputation for fairness, steady leadership, innovation, and service to our residents.

Appointed by County Executive Ike Leggett in 2007, Gabe is the youngest cabinet-level appointment in the history of Montgomery County. He oversees a $37 million budget, more than 3,000 employees and 41 recreation facilities, serving hundreds of thousands of County residents.

During the “great recession” of 2009, Gabe was able to maintain excellence in the Recreation Department despite the challenges of an austere fiscal environment.

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

Highlights of his tenure as Director include construction of four new senior centers, six new recreation centers, and major renovations to six others.

Gabe is respected for his ability to forge collaborations with a wide range of stakeholders and for building innovative programs such as Excel Beyond the Bell, TeenWorks, and TechConnect, which helped close the achievement and opportunity gaps for thousands of participants and ensuring vital living for senior citizens.

Among his many accomplishments, Gabe:

Earned the University of Maryland Rawlings Fellowship and is a graduate of Leadership Montgomery

Graduated in 2017 from the national Presidential Leadership Scholars program, a collaboration of the William J. Clinton, George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush and Lyndon B. Johnson Presidential Foundations.

Elected by Maryland District 18 voters to serve on the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee (MCDCC) and was unanimously voted by his colleagues to serve as Chairman, becoming the first Latino to serve in that role. In that capacity, he oversaw the successful reappointment process of a Maryland State Senator and Delegate and worked on expanding the Democratic Party’s reach to new and emerging communities.

Served on 37 boards, commissions and committees, including serving as the Chair of the Board of Directors for the Collaboration Council for Children, Youth and Families, Co-Chair of the County’s Positive Youth Development Initiative as well as the Age Friendly Montgomery Advisory Group and on the County’s Economic Interests Committee. His accomplishments in these roles include expanding evidence based after-school programs and helping to secure the county’s World Health Organization’s Age Friendly Community designation from AARP.

Appointed to serve on Maryland State Boards and Commissions, including as Commissioner of the Maryland State Park System where he helped to develop a system-wide multicultural training initiative for Park Rangers and staff.

Held leadership positions at Children’s National Medical Center and the Latin American Youth Center (LAYC). His accomplishments include chairing a regional gang intervention partnership, establishing a youth civic engagement initiative, producing a city-wide immunization campaign, and beginning LAYC’s operations in Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties.

Why I'm Running

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 serve as a bridge between communities and sectors.

There are challenges ahead and limited fiscal resources. What is not limited is this County’s ability to be imaginative, thoughtful and determined in efforts to address our challenges justly, creatively and effectively. I will bring experienced, inclusive and bold leadership to the next County Council as it carries out its role in charting our county’s future.


Impacting Change

I have always considered my work as Director of the Department of Recreation, Co-Chair of the Senior Sub Cabinet, Chair of the Montgomery County Democratic Central Committee and service in other public-sector roles to be a privilege. Through that work, I have come to realize that elected office offers the best way to impact sustainable change.


Challenges Ahead

Maintaining the greatness and opportunity of our County will require commitment and effort. We are facing difficult challenges, including an aging infrastructure, a widening achievement and opportunity gap among our children and youth, a stretched safety net struggling to keep pace with the needs of our more vulnerable residents, growing economic disparity among communities, difficult traffic challenges and unmet housing needs. These come as financial support from federal and state governments are at significant risk and our local fiscal options to respond are limited. Facing these challenges will take experienced and collaborative leadership.


Collaboration and Partnerships

I intend to work closely with other key public stakeholders including the Board of Education, Planning Board, Executive Branch, State Delegation, Montgomery College and others along with leaders in the non-profit, business, LGBTQ, labor, faith, and civic communities to collaboratively address the known and unknown challenges ahead. I know this can work. We were able to navigate the recession by forging strong alliances that leveraged resources, staff, and more effectively served our community.

Issues

Our County has grown stronger and become more financially sustainable as a result of the changes that we have had to make as we weathered the Great Recession. We are now positioned to make great strides with economic development, affordable housing and smart growth.

The fact that our County is in the top 20 jurisdictions under consideration for Amazon’s second headquarters shows that we have evolved into a County that is a desirable place to live, play and work.

Focus

I will focus heavily on education, including efforts to expand pre-K programs. Strong schools are key to successful economic development and to ensuring that our children are prepared for their future. Transit is another important driver of economic development and social justice. People need to be able to get to work affordably. Also, our seniors should be treated with the dignity and respect they deserve and have the resources they need to live a productive life here.

Future

In the future, I will continue to focus on transit, smart growth and ways that we can continue to grow our three major economic engines – biotechnology, cybersecurity and the hospitality industries.

Quality of Life

Housing Affordability

Affordable housing for people of all economic means essential to future economic growth for Montgomery County and to maintaining our tradition as a just and inclusive community. I am a passionate advocate for affordable housing and will support existing successful approaches including expanding the Housing Initiative Fund, growing partnerships with non-profit and for-profit organizations to preserve and expand units, MPDU laws and zoning ordinances that promote affordable housing especially near transit systems.

Immigration

I have worked to protect and support immigrants documented and undocumented for my entire professional career. First while working with the Latin American Youth Center and for the past 11 years as Recreation director for County Exec Ike Leggett. In the latter role, I lead the Positive Youth Development cluster which developed a wide range of programs and policies aimed at assisting at risk youth and their families. I will bring my experience and conviction to the County Council if elected.

Food Security

As Recreation Director I increased the amount of meals provided to children in the summer. I used several models including expanded access to Ride-On buses and MCPS transportation, expanded summer camp programs, and outreach. I established a working partnership between Recreation and MCPS which should be expanded.

Seniors

I witness the importance and value of older adults remaining active every day. My mother and father are my role models. Both are active in their community and family. They are my most avid campaign volunteers and reliable child care providers. While both are retired from their careers, they both demonstrate that their commitment to community life is stronger than ever.

Environment

By fostering Smart Growth, and creating livable, walkable communities near transit such as Pike and Rose and Viva White Oak we will be better prepared to protect sensitive environmental areas, such as Ten Mile Creek and our Special Protection Areas. Focusing growth near transit reduces impervious surface, reduces stormwater runoff and protects the environment. Smart Growth also reduces greenhouse gases.

Renewable Energy and Zero Waste

I support increasing our use of renewable energy. There is no better way to reduce greenhouse gases, shrink our carbon footprint and create a healthy environment than to use renewable energy. Already, Montgomery County is making significant progress toward energy independence by using solar energy on County facilities. The County estimates that these solar projects will save $15 million in electric bills during the next 20 years while achieving significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

Education

The responsibility of the County Council is to ensure that the school system has the funding to carry out its mission. I will consider the school budget from this perspective as well as from my conviction that an excellent school system is one of our most useful economic development tools. A good school system will attract and retain business, prepare the future workforce, and promote economic justice. In addition to supporting education, I will support the other County agencies and nonprofit organizations that collaborate with the school system in its mission.

Economy

Growing the Economy

Growing our economy must be among our highest priorities. It will provide critical tax revenue and help ensure job opportunities for County residents to work where they live, which will improve quality of life and help ease traffic congestion. It’s important to note that we must take the long view for ensuring economic growth by ensure that we have a workforce that is ready for the jobs of today and tomorrow.

Transportation

Transit must be our highest priority if we are going to maximize our ability to grow our County with livable, walkable communities that will attract businesses and residents alike. More companies and people realize the benefit of living near transit hubs. Not only does it make their commutes more convenient and affordable, but transit-oriented communities typically have many amenities that add to a high quality of life. Also, transit is crucial for those who struggle economically. The ability to get to work in a comfortable, affordable way promotes economic fairness.

County Revenue

We must have a sustainable County Government that ensures that our residents and businesses feel that they are taxed equitably, and that they receive a high quality of life here for the tax dollars they contribute to our economy. This means that we must be efficient and innovative, and we must engage everyone’s voice in our decisions. Only then will our residents be willing to fund the services and programs that will help ensure that we can afford the programs and services that help our most vulnerable residents.

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Thank you for your support!

I am choosing to access the County’s new public finance option for my campaign which matches donations with public funds. To access public funds, candidates may only accept contributions between $5 and $150 from individuals. All can and are encouraged to donate, but only Montgomery County residents’ donations will be matched.

Here is how the public match works for Council races:

  • Donate $5, campaign receives a total of $25
  • Donate $25, campaign receives a total of $125
  • Donate $50, campaign receives a total of $250
  • Donate $100, campaign receives a total of $450
  • Donate $150, campaign receives a total of $600

Contribute Online

Contributing via check? Please fill out this donation form and send your contribution to:

Gabe for Council
P.O. Box 166
Kensington, MD 20895-0166

Endorsements

We greatly appreciate the support of County Executive Ike Leggett and First Lady of Montgomery County, Catherine Leggett.

Organizations

  • The Washington Post
  • SEIU Local 500
  • Montgomery County Career Fire Fighters IAF Local 1664
  • Montgomery County Public Schools Retirees Association
  • Coalition for Equitable Representation in Government 2.0
  • CASA in Action
  • LGBTQ Democrats of Montgomery County
  • SEIU Local 32BJ
  • The Apartment and Office Building Association
  • Association of Black Democrats
  • District 1 Neighbors
  • Jews United For Justice
  • Latino Democratic Club of Montgomery
  • Coalition of Asian Pacific American Democrats
  • Suburban Maryland Transportation Alliance

Individual Current Elected Officials

  • Ike Leggett, County Executive
  • Catherine Leggett, First Lady of Montgomery County
  • John Delaney, Congressman
  • Nancy Navarro, County Councilmember
  • David Frazer-Hidalgo, District 15 Maryland State Delegate
  • Nancy Floreen, County Councilmember
  • John McCarthy, State’s Attorney
  • Nancy King, District 39 Maryland State Senator
  • Cheryl Kagan, District 17 Maryland State Senator
  • Will Smith, District 20 Maryland State Senator
  • Jud Ashman, Mayor of Gaithersburg
  • Michael A. Sesma, Council Member City of Gaithersburg
  • Jim Brown, President of the Poolesville Town Commission
  • Craig Zucker, District 14 Maryland State Senator
  • Charles Stump, Vice President, Poolesville Town Commission
  • Valeree Dickerson, Member, Poolesville Town Commission
  • Martin Radigan, Member, Poolesvlle Town Commission
  • Jerome Klobukowski, Poolesville Town Commission
  • Neil Harris, Gaithersburg Town Coucilmember
  • Anne R. Kaiser, District 14 Maryland State Delegate

Formerly Elected Officials

  • Mike Knapp, former County Council President
  • Bruce Williams, former Mayor of Takoma Park
  • Bruce Adams, former County Councilmember

By Authority: Gabe for Council, Bill Baker, Treasurer

Gabe for Council
P.O. Box 166
Kensington, MD 20895-0166
Gabe.Albornoz@GabeForCouncil.com

Housing Affordability

Affordable housing for people of all economic means essential to future economic growth for Montgomery County and to maintaining our tradition as a just and inclusive community. We know that stability can have a profound effect on children and their performance in school. I am a passionate advocate for affordable housing and will support existing successful approaches including expanding the Housing Initiative Fund, growing partnerships with non-profit and for-profit organizations to preserve and expand units, MPDU laws and zoning ordinances that promote affordable housing especially near transit systems. I will work to reduce the impacts of gentrification, especially along the Purple Line.

I will support utilizing any unneeded County property for affordable housing. I will support reforms in the permitting process which reduce costs and time for construction. I will seek best practices from other parts of the country and welcome their implementation here. I will seek protect the existing stock of affordable housing. At the same time, I will work to protect and strengthen our neighborhoods.

Food Security

As Recreation Director I increased the amount of meals provided to children in the summer. I used several models including expanded access to Ride-On buses and MCPS transportation, expanded summer camp programs, and outreach. I established a working partnership between Recreation and MCPS which should be expanded. I would make it a personal goal as a Council member to reach every child during the summer who qualifies for FARMS by the end of my first four years in office.

Immigration

I have worked to protect and support immigrants documented and undocumented for my entire professional career. First while working with the Latin American Youth Center and for the past 11 years as Recreation director for County Exec Ike Leggett. In the latter role, I lead the Positive Youth Development cluster which developed a wide range of programs and policies aimed at assisting at risk youth and their families. I will bring my experience and conviction to the County Council if elected.

I will support local immigration programs and policies which respect the dreams of immigrants to achieve prosperous families and lives in our community. To the extent legally possible, I will oppose federal activities aimed at diminishing opportunities for immigrants or seeking to deport law abiding people.

I will support funding for ESL, employment training, affordable housing, community and economic development and public education for all immigrants.

Seniors

I witness the importance and value of older adults remaining active every day. My mother and father are my role models. Both are active in their community and family. They are my most avid campaign volunteers and reliable child care providers. While both are retired from their careers, they both demonstrate that their commitment to community life is stronger than ever.

I was honored by County Executive Leggett to serve as the co-chair of his Senior Sub-cabinet, a group of agency directors he assembled to better coordinate services to older adults. In that role, I witnessed many programs which enhance the lives and of seniors by expanding engagement opportunities. In continuing existing programs, I rely heavily upon the advice of our experienced senior advisory groups especially the Commission on Aging and those that advise on enhancing the county as vital and age friendly for seniors. These are comprised of wise stake-holders.

I will also insist on program evaluations. In expanding to meet the needs of a growing senior population, I will promote new and support existing partnerships with nonprofit and faith based organizations and assist in the developing “senior village” movement. Working together, we can make Montgomery County the most senior friendly community in the nation.

Environment

By fostering Smart Growth, and creating livable, walkable communities near transit such as Pike and Rose and Viva White Oak we will be better prepared to protect sensitive environmental areas, such as Ten Mile Creek and our Special Protection Areas. Focusing growth near transit reduces impervious surfaces, reduces stormwater runoff and protects the environment. Smart Growth also reduces greenhouse gases.


The County is almost at full buildout. The greatest challenge for us is how we will redevelop our County to foster smart growth around transit hubs.

Protecting our open spaces and watersheds protects our drinking water and preserves our natural environment. We must limit our impervious surfaces and control storm water through best management practices, removing impervious surfaces and using green infrastructure. We must be diligent in restoring eroded stream valleys and ensure that new development is environmentally sensitive.

Tree preservation is also imperative for a healthy environment. Trees clean the air, cool our environment, and help clean our waterways. Maintaining our County’s parkland and open spaces is crucial to ensuring that our children can learn about the benefits of preserving and enjoying nature. They are important to the well-being of all our residents as a place to play, reflect and re-energize.

Another challenge is reducing our impervious surface in the County so that we can preserve our most environmentally sensitive areas. This will require us to look hard at our current development pattern and plan both our transportation infrastructure and our development in strategically located areas to maximize our density near areas served by transit and allow us to preserve our environmentally sensitive areas and protect our watersheds, tree canopy and green spaces.

Renewable Energy and Zero Waste

I support increasing our use of renewable energy. There is no better way to reduce greenhouse gases, shrink our carbon footprint and create a healthy environment than to use renewable energy. Already, Montgomery County is making significant progress toward energy independence by using solar energy on County facilities. The County estimates that these solar projects will save $15 million in electric bills during the next 20 years while achieving significant reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.

In September 2017 Montgomery County Government became the first county in the U.S. to join the Under2 Coalition, which commits the County to reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions by 80 to 95% below 1990 levels by 2050.

The County’s Climate Protection Plan, adopted in 2008 calls for a 25% reduction in energy use by 50% of homeowners and a 25% reduction in energy use by the entire commercial/multi-family sector by 2020. However, the County is falling short of some of its goals. We need to tailor any initiatives to those goals that are not demonstrating progress. We need to work to lower residential energy use. I would recommend holding an annual Climate Change summit to educate our resident and provide them with resources to reduce their energy usage. Many people want to reduce energy usage and save money but are unaware of how to do so. The County can marshal the resources that can provide our residents with easy, practical solutions for reducing energy use, committing to renewable energy sources and reducing their carbon footprint.

I am proud to live in a County that recently adopted a 70% recycling goal. Our next move is to explore recycling food waste, which we know will require significantly educating the public on not only why it is a good idea, but how to do it. Moving to a zero-waste policy is a laudable goal but there are many challenges. Adopting such a goal would require a rigorous combination of public education, aggressive recycling pricing, and forging public-private partnerships for recycling. I would like to explore this as a goal and look forward to working closely with the environmental organizations to achieve it, as it would reduce our reliance on our waste-to-energy facility in Dickerson.

Growing the Economy

Growing our economy must be among our highest priorities. It will provide critical tax revenue and help ensure job opportunities for County residents to work where they live, which will improve quality of life and help ease traffic congestion. It’s important to note that we must take the long view for ensuring economic growth by ensure that we have a workforce that is ready for the jobs of today and tomorrow. We must also create an environment that encourages entrepreneurship so that we can establish and scale businesses.

We need to explore incentives to help our businesses. If we want to remain a progressive community, we must have healthy revenues, which is only possible with a healthy business community.

Montgomery County is a welcoming community. Our businesses and residents are generous as long as we bring them to the table, hear what they have to say, and engage them in our mission to make sure everyone has a home, opportunity, and the ability to earn a living wage.

One of the most important investments we can make is to ensure that the State continues to fund Universities of Shady Grove (USG). The new science and technology building will house programs that produce graduates with the cyber and bio skills our employers want. Further, the majority of students who graduate from USG stay right here in Montgomery County.

Transportation

Transit must be our highest priority if we are going to maximize our ability to grow our County with livable, walkable communities that will attract businesses and residents alike. More companies and people realize the benefit of living near transit hubs. Not only does it make their commutes more convenient and affordable, but transit-oriented communities typically have many amenities that add to a high quality of life. Also, transit is crucial for those who struggle economically. The ability to get to work in a comfortable, affordable way promotes economic fairness.

We must also focus on certain roads that will help our commuters. While I do not believe the Governor’s proposal to widen the beltway is practical, I look forward to seeing the results of his proposal for I-270 and the American Legion Bridge. I feel that reversible lanes on 270, along with a widened American Legion Bridge will cut commute times for our residents and make our quality of life better.

The Route 29 Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), which will be the County’s first, is planned to operate from Burtonsville all the way to downtown Silver Spring. Already, the express bus service that is the precursor to the Route 29 BRT is exceeding ridership projections. I expect the Route 29 BRT will be a huge success and pave the way for future BRT projects that will greatly enhance our transportation capacity.

The Route 355 BRT is under study currently, and will run from Gaithersburg to points South. It will augment the Metro, and will help reduce congestion on Route 355 and I- 270.

I support the commitments outlined in the County’s Vision Zero two-year action plan, including: establishing a committee to review and revise roadway design standards and develop complete street guidelines utilizing road code and leading practices from groups such as NACTO, ITE, and AASHTO; implementing a road safety audit process for all new County road and facility projects; implementing a road safety audit process for all new County road and facility projects; using the latest technology and standards to implement innovative pedestrian and bicycle signals to provide safe crossings; establishing a multi-disciplinary review team to review each fatal crash to understand how to address safety issues; and increasing the use of automated enforcement to address excessive speeds, red-light, and stopped bus violations.

County Revenue

We must have a sustainable County Government that ensures that our residents and businesses feel that they are taxed equitably, and that they receive a high quality of life here for the tax dollars they contribute to our economy. This means that we must be efficient and innovative, and we must engage everyone’s voice in our decisions. Only then will our residents be willing to fund the services and programs that will help ensure that we can afford the programs and services that help our most vulnerable residents.

We are facing declining revenues. As a top jurisdiction in the nation for education, environmental sustainability, social policies and more, we are facing unprecedented challenges. I believe we need to keep property tax increases at a minimum not only to keep housing affordable for our resident, but to also make our County economically competitive. Encouraging economic development is the only sustainable path forward. The Council must consider innovative ways to welcome new businesses, nurture existing businesses and foster entrepreneurship.

I will protect education, public safety and services to the most vulnerable. I will honor employee contracts negotiated by the County Executive. To achieve savings, I will look to streamline management, delay lower priority programs, and eliminate duplication among departments and agencies. I will push for greater collaboration in areas such as procurement, equipment and building maintenance, employee health benefits and other areas.

Education

The responsibility of the County Council is to ensure that the school system has the funding to carry out its mission. I will consider the school budget from this perspective as well as from my conviction that an excellent school system is one of our most useful economic development tools. A good school system will attract and retain business, prepare the future workforce, and promote economic justice. In addition to supporting education, I will support the other County agencies and nonprofit organizations that collaborate with the school system in its mission. It has been my experience that when these community partners work together, more students excel.

I support making pre-K accessible to all Montgomery County families. I have endorsed Montgomery County Moving Forwards Early Education and Child Care call to Action. Affordability is an issue. I would support a plan which 1) phases in pre-K beginning with Title One schools and expanding each year; 2) partnering with private and faith-based early care providers, especially those already offering pre-K; 3) maximizing State funding opportunities for facilities and programs; and 4) engaging with the business community to seek an appropriate role for business in this issue.

In the past seven years, MCPS has grown by more than 2,500 students per year. This has pushed school overcrowding to intolerable levels. One solution is to reconsider how we renovate schools. Instead of tearing down an entire school, we can use the same model the County has been using with libraries and refresh the school – renovate it to bring it up to modern standards with additional classroom and other needed space – but not tear down the entire school. This way, we can stretch our dollars and provide more classroom space to those schools where it is needed.

That being said, children should not have to attend school in portable buildings. I will support capital budgets at the County and state levels that focus resources on school construction. I will work with our State delegation for more state funding. I will support the principle that new development should be assessed an impact tax to help pay for schools. I will work with business and financial leaders to seek creative means to finance needed school space.

I agree with new school’s test recently adopted by the County Council because I believe it has incentivized MCPS to devise a new forward-thinking policy for school construction projects. Now school construction projects will be prioritized within the context of changing enrollment and adopted County land use policies rather than the decades-old practice of the fixed “queue” of construction projects. Simply put, this new policy will prioritize construction in areas of our County where school population is growing. This new policy is designed to be sufficiently flexible to meet the changing needs of school populations in different parts of the County, and therefore, I am confident that this new approach to planning construction projects will be adequately flexible and responsive to ensure that no shut down of development occurs, as that would cause more damage than it would solve.