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Brooks Makes Montgomery County Council Bid Official

Progressive community organizer Brandy Brooks made her bid for an at-large seat on the Montgomery County Council official.

Brooks, an educator and Montgomery County Renters Alliance board member, announced her campaign in February but officially filed to run for an at-large seat Tuesday.

Brooks finished seventh in the 33-candidate primary for Montgomery County’s four at-large council seats in 2018. Since then, her key issues — like combating racial injustice, ensuring housing security and fighting income inequality — have only become more salient with the COVID-19 pandemic.

And although the primary is more than a year away, Brooks has already launched an intense campaign. Her website shows scheduled meet-and-greets, door-knocking events and other campaign activities.

“We are building an incredible movement of engaged community leaders ready to shape the policy decisions that impact our lives,” Brooks said in a statement. “We are centering the voices of people of color, poor and working people, immigrants, young people, and TLGBQ+ people — voices that have been marginalized for too long in the halls of power.”

Brooks said she was encouraged by the fact that the majority of county council candidates thus far are women, and that she hopes the county council will eventually better reflect the county’s diversity.

Nancy Navarro (D) became the lone woman on the county council after the 2018 election.

“The disparity in representation on our Council is on the hearts and minds of many people,” Brooks said. “I’m excited about all the women who are ready to run, and I hope to see a significant transformation on our Council to better reflect a county that is majority women and majority people of color.”

Navarro previously told Maryland Matters that she hopes the 2022 election will see more women elected to the county council. She, along with Councilmembers Hans Riemer, who holds an at-large seat, and Craig Rice (D), who represents northern parts of the county, are term limited. The council is gaining two new district seats for the upcoming election, meaning there will be five vacant seats.

“There are times when I have encountered erasure, which is something that women face not just in politics, but in the boardroom, in the private and corporate sectors,” Navarro said in March. “It is something that we need to address as a whole. It is illustrative of the society we live in, in general. It’s not a secret.”

Brooks, who is Afro-Latina, said she wants to make running for office for accessible to all county residents, including women, working class candidates and nonbinary people.

Four candidates, all Democratic women, have filed official candidacies for the council race: Brooks, Natali Fani-González, Kim Kellerman, and Christa Tichy. Kristin Mink has also announced that she will run.

Strong fundraising

Brooks plans to file for Montgomery County’s public campaign financing program, which provides match funding for candidates who commit to only accept contributions from individuals of no more than $250 per person. She’ll need to collect at least $20,000 from at least 250 county residents to qualify for public financing – a goal she has already passed, according to the statement.

Michelle C. Whittaker, Brooks’ campaign manager, said the campaign has raised more than $45,000 from more than 500 contributors, more than two-thirds of whom are county residents.

“By June of this year, we will surpass our fundraising from the entire 2018 cycle, when Brandy ran a highly competitive campaign as a first-time candidate,” Whittaker said. “It’s amazing to see how fair elections and our ongoing people-centered platform is shifting the way neighbors participate in local elections.”