SILVER SPRING, Md. (WDVM) — In front of a large crowd at the Silver Spring Civic Center Wednesday, County Executive Marc Elrich delivered his first State of the County address since he took office, marking the first State of the County address by any Montgomery County Executive since 2013.
“We are the economic engine of the state, make no mistake about that. From our northern part of the county to our southeast neighborhoods, there’s no doubt that we continue to offer good opportunities and a great quality of life,” said Elrich.
Economic development was a major theme of his address, along with equity and social justice.
“In the years to come, our challenge is to sustain and improve our quality of life, while growing our economy in a more equitable and inclusive way. Everyone has to be able to share what’s good about Montgomery County,” he said.
Other elected officials echoed the importance of thriving economies throughout the county.
Montgomery County Council President Sidney Katz said, “economic development is certainly on the top of the list because you have to take care of money before you take care of anything else on the list, but everything he touched on is so very, very necessary.”
Affordable housing is a priority of the council and the county executive. Elrich plans to add additional funds towards affordable housing in the capital budget he discussed at Wednesday’s address.
“We have to maintain and expand our stock of affordable housing. We’re taking this critical issue head-on in the capital budget. That’s why I’m recommending $132 million for affordable housing in the capital budget over the next six years,” Elrich said.
The nod to more funding for affordable housing was met with applause throughout the Civic Center.
Other priorities the county executive touched on in the address included transit and transportation, combatting climate change and improving education.