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Montgomery County Council Picks New Leadership After A ‘Year Of Firsts’

After a year focused on racial equity and social justice, the Montgomery County Council voted for new leadership Tuesday and signaled a friendlier attitude toward business interests.

The council unanimously voted for Sidney Katz, the councilman and former mayor of Gaithersburg, to replace Nancy Navarro as president. Navarro was the first Latina and female to be elected to the position. Councilman Tom Hucker from the eastern side of the county was elected as vice president.

“2019 was a year of firsts under my presidency,” Navarro said in a video recapping her year as president. “I have set in place actionable and measurable systems to make sure Montgomery County is always moving forward.”

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Navarro led multiple efforts to push for racial equity and social justice in the county. A bill signed by County Executive Marc Elrich Tuesday will require more than 8,000 full-time government employees to complete racial equity training. It also creates an Office of Racial Equity and Social Justice and mandates that every council bill include an impact statement that would describe how it would affect equity among different groups.

Navarro also supported legislation that prohibited discrimination in the workplace, public accommodations and other areas based on the hairstyle worn by some minority communities, including braids, Afros, curls and twists. Under her leadership, the council also unveiled a $7 million funding commitment to make child care and early education for children up to the age of five more readily available and affordable.

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