Spiegel gets teachers union nod in race for District 3 Montgomery County Council seat

February 12

Ryan Spiegel has won the endorsement of the Montgomery County Education Association for the District 3 County Council seat.

Spiegel, who serves on the Gaithersburg City Council, is one of four Democratic primary contenders for the seat being vacated by County Council member Phil Andrews (D-Rockville-Gaithersburg). Andrews is running for county executive.

The teachers union endorsement is a boost for Spiegel, who will get a place on the coveted Apple Ballot mailed to Democratic voters and distributed by union members at the polls.

Spiegel, the son of a public school teacher, had labor support in 2007 when he ran for the Gaithersburg council on the One Gaithersburg slate, formed in the wake of a bruising fight over the location of a day labor center in the city. That apparently resonated with the union committee that screens candidates.

“Our folks felt that spoke highly of his values, and they appreciated a politician who was willing to speak out against that kind of anti-immigrant bashing,” MCEA executive director Tom Israel said in an e-mail Wednesday.

The other District 3 candidates are Gaithersburg Mayor Sid Katz, Rockville City Council member Tom Moore and Derwood activist Guled Kassim.

There are no endorsements in other County Council contests so far. Israel said the union would wait until later in the annual budget process before looking at council incumbents. He also said the teachers would wait “a little longer” to see who else enters the District 5 race for Valerie Ervin’s seat. Israel didn’t mention specific names, but it’s a good bet that the “who” is Del. Tom Hucker (D-Montgomery), the founder of Progressive Maryland, the grass-roots advocacy group with strong ties to labor.

The teachers union has worked closely with another District 5 candidate, Board of Education member Christopher Barclay. But Hucker and Israel, a former Progressive Maryland board member, go back a long way.

Bill Turque, who covers Montgomery County government and politics, has spent more than thirty years as a reporter and editor for The Washington Post, Newsweek, the Dallas Times Herald and The Kansas City Star.
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