Kathy Gugulis Spotlight
Meet Kathy Gugulis for Delegate
When I moved to Montgomery 40 years ago, it was one of the three wealthiest counties in the nation, with one of the top three school systems. Today, it is not even top in the State.
Student performance is down, crime is up, and the business economy is the slowest in the region. Across Maryland, only one in six students is proficient in math, one in four in English and two out of five in science.
When I retired, I almost didn’t recognize the county that I had lived in for the past 40 years. No longer were we at the top of the class. Montgomery County’s economy was declining while others in the region were growing. There were fewer and less good paying jobs, as well as less tax revenue to support the growing needs in a county where taxes and living expenses all but consume low-and-moderate-income wages.
Crime is rising and getting worse. Homicides doubled between 2020 and 2021, aggravated assaults jumped 20%; non-fatal shootings increased 75%; carjackings doubled; and auto thefts increased from 1,120 to 1,373. Meanwhile, county and State elected officials defunded police forces resulting in record retirements and resignations. School Resource Officers, who often served as mentors and role models, were removed from schools.
Like many, I spent my career commuting to DC working for the Federal government. Weekends were spent catching up on housework, family and friends. I had become an official member of the proverbial rat race.
Background and Experience
As a Fed subject to the Hatch Act, I kept my distance from politics. Besides, I was too busy with my career. I started my Federal career as a student intern while attending the University of Maryland, retiring after 18 years in the Senior Executive Service at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and U.S. Department of Justice. The first dozen years I worked for USDA in Maryland, traveling to farms throughout the State. Over the years, I managed hundreds of employees, scores of departments, and billion-dollar budgets. I was a champion of equality for women and minorities. As Associate Assistant Secretary for Administration at USDA, I led the Department’s landmark Civil Rights Implementation Team, recognized with a Secretary’s Honor Award. I served as President and board member of Executive Women in Government, mentoring and advocating for women in Federal senior leadership positions. I also served on the Board of The International Alliance for Women, which advocates for economic empowerment and advancement for women all over the globe.
I built performance and accountability systems successfully by working across departments and agency lines, cooperating with State and local public and private partners. My work was recognized with the prestigious Presidential Meritorious Rank Award. I continue to serve on Rank Award panels that evaluate and recommend the performance of federal Senior Executives for Presidential recognition. I also serve on the County’s Charter Review Commission.
In other words, I know how government works, and I know how to make government work.
Why I decided to run for Delegate
As a retiree, I started attending county Council and General Assembly meetings. I was shocked at how they operated, focusing more on social issues and spending taxpayer money without much regard for producing results like better student performance, reducing crime, and helping businesses thrive by reducing taxes and regulations. Up-county, where my husband and I live, was ignored since most of the county Council members lived inside the down-county crescent.
Instead of encouraging home ownership as a path to the American dream, county officials were changing zoning to allow anyone to put any kind of dwelling anywhere they wanted. They were encouraging high density rental units with communal living areas, changing the suburban character of the county and destroying moderately priced neighborhoods. Today, 40 percent of county residents rent rather than own their own homes. Fewer people are on the path to building financial security.
Not only did our elected officials ignore citizens who dissented, they ridiculed and ostracized them. I began to understand why so many people were leaving. Over and over people told me their vote didn’t count. They were out-numbered and it was no use fighting city hall. They kept their heads down and their mouths shut for fear of retaliation.
The tipping point was how poorly the county reacted during the pandemic, shutting down schools, small businesses and houses of worship. With our proximity to some of the best medical minds in the country, I had expected a more analytical and measured approach to dealing with the situation. Instead, I saw non-medical politicians on the County Council, acting as the county board of health, making poor decisions, pitting people against each other and against the police. When small business owners were upset about closings, the County Executive sneered that he didn’t have to listen to them. It took the Governor’s intervention to open up schools. That is not how government should work.
Last winter, I decided to step up and run for Delegate in the Maryland General Assembly. I know we can do better. There are so many hard working and intelligent people who live in this county who want to enjoy the fruits of their labor, without government interference, in concert with our wonderfully diverse and vibrant community.
Vote Kathy Gugulis for Delegate
While I sometimes bemoan the fact so many citizens don’t pay attention to local issues, I also realize they shouldn’t have to. They have jobs, and businesses, and families to attend to. They’ve elected representatives who they entrusted to make decisions in their best interest. Unfortunately, those elected officials have failed our county.
Your vote does count, but only if you DO vote. In Legislative District 14, there are only two Republicans running for three positions. If you want a Republican to win, vote for me and Kate Walshe, and discard your third vote, otherwise it will help our opponents and hurt us.
As a first-time candidate, I promise to represent, not rule, county residents. We will focus on goals like improving student performance, reducing crime, and creating good paying jobs. I have faith in our people. I ask that they have faith in me and vote Kathy Gugulis for Delegate! Please visit my website, volunteer, and donate at www.kathygugulisfordelegate.com. Let’s win in November!