Chamber of Commerce Weighs in on MoCo Planning Board Finalists

    With the Montgomery County Council set to interview the seven finalists for the two vacancies on the county planning board this week, the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce has decided to weigh in with its preferences.

    The chamber is backing Casey Anderson for another term as chair of the planning board. In a statement, chamber President and CEO Gigi Godwin praised Anderson’s “thoughtful, steady, and creative leadership over the past four years.”

    Anderson is being opposed for the job by progressive activist and former County Council candidate Brandy Brooks.

    For the second vacancy, the chamber has offered two endorsements, conferring its blessing on Jennifer Russel, director of planning at Rodgers Consulting Inc., who is also chair of the Suburban Maryland Transportation Alliance; and Partap Verma, an attorney with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security who is land use chair of the Mid-County Citizens Advisory Board.

    In a letter to the Council, obtained by Maryland Matters, Godwin said Russel and Verma “bring positive experiences in community building and working collaboratively with disparate interests to achieve this county’s land use, housing, and transportation goals.”

    Godwin said the chamber interviewed all seven candidates for the vacancies — though not all of them made it to the final round — and reviewed the finalists’ application materials.

    Also seeking to fill the seat held by outgoing planning board member Norman Dreyfuss: Brooks; attorney and former candidate for the legislature Julian Haffner; Charles Kauffman, a Bethesda attorney who was a board member of the organization Visit Montgomery; and William Kirwan, a Bethesda architect and former chair of the Montgomery County Historic Preservation Commission.

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    Josh Kurtz
    Co-founder and Editor Josh Kurtz is the leading chronicler of Maryland politics and government. He began covering the State House in 1995 for The Gazette newspapers, and has been writing about state and local politics ever since. He later became an editor at Roll Call, the Capitol Hill newspaper, and spent eight years at E&E News, an online subscription-only publisher of news websites covering energy and environmental issues. For seven of those years, he led a staff of 20 reporters at E&E Daily, which covers energy and environmental policy on Capitol Hill and in national politics. For 6 1/2 years he wrote a weekly column on state politics for Center Maryland and has written for several other Maryland publications as well. Kurtz has given speeches and appeared on TV and radio shows about Maryland politics through the years.