May 10, 2024

Message from the County Executive Marc Elrich


Dear Friends,

Greetings from South Korea. I am traveling to South Korea this week and China next week on an economic development trade mission. We are having meetings with economic development prospects and leaders from businesses, universities and government. We are focused on business growth, innovation and workforce development and expect this trip to be as successful as our previous economic trade missions to Taiwan, India and Vietnam.

We have been in (almost) nonstop meetings, recruiting business prospects in South Korea at the BIO Korea conference and in separate meetings in Osong and Daejeon. This week, I signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the CEO of Rapigen, a Korea diagnostics company with an office at the County’s Rockville Innovation Center. The MOU covers Rapigen’s pending expansion to lab and more office space in the Germantown innovation center. It also covers a commitment to manufacture the diagnostic tests they are working on getting through the FDA process while in Germantown. I also signed a partnership renewal agreement strengthening cultural and economic ties with our sister city, Daejeon.

Here is a video we made about Montgomery County’s economy that we are sharing with those we meet this week. Next week, I will be making similar pitches to business leaders in China.

Our goals on this mission are to attract organizations and jobs to the County, find companies interested in expanding operations to the County and to support County companies seeking customers, partners and suppliers in Korea or China.

I look forward to updating you more from my travels when I return.

2024 State of County Address

Just before I left for Korea and China, I delivered my fourth “State of the County” address at the Executive Office Building in Rockville. Above you will find a link to last week’s speech. The full transcript can be found here.

I discussed the work we have done, and are doing, over the last five years to help make Montgomery County a better place for all.

When I took office as your County Executive in December 2018, I believed we needed to transform our government into a more inclusive and effective institution. Little did we know the challenges that would be ahead, especially the global pandemic that turned everything upside down.

But you know what? Those difficulties only strengthened our resolve to innovate and adapt our services to meet the evolving needs of our community. Our initial struggles with COVID-19 pointed to the need to work more with our community partners who had a deeper reach in their communities than did our government agencies.

Our approach has become more bottom-up, valuing the experiences of our residents and seeking more input from stakeholders to improve services. As a result, we have cut through bureaucratic red tape, embraced technology, and most importantly, kept our focus on the human aspect of governance.

We are not just recovering from the pandemic. We are seizing this moment to drive forward a more responsive and resilient government. I hope you take a few minutes to watch this speech.

Thanking Mothers

WHUR radio this week hosted its 12th annual lunch in Downtown Silver Spring to honor mothers in uniform. Among those being honored as Mother’s Day approaches were County public safety staff.

I enjoy having a chance to join the hosts on WHUR’s “Daily Drum” and I want to thank the station for honoring hard-working mothers in Montgomery County and those who serve our country.

You can view a short video of that event here.

It is a good reminder that we should all thank and celebrate mothers on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 12. I am a proud father and grandfather and know just how important mothers and mother-like role models are in providing stability, guidance and strength—not just while kids are growing up, but for a lifetime.

MCPS Board President Goes Before Congress

Montgomery County Public Schools Board President Karla Silvestre this week went before Congress to discuss the district’s response to a rise in antisemitic activity in our schools.

I want to thank Board President Silvestre for representing our County so well on a national stage. We are united in our commitment to speak out against antisemitism and all hate speech wherever we see it. Every resident and visitor s should feel welcomed and safe in Montgomery County, especially in school. To get help with bullying or find 24/7 mental health support, text HOME to 741741. You can also report harassment, intimidation and bullying to MCPS by filling out this form.

May is ‘Go MoCo Month’

As we approach summer, I encourage you to participate in Visit Montgomery's "Go MoCo Month" as a way to take advantage of special promotions and to find new ways to explore the County. Go Shop is just wrapping up, but as you can see in the graphic above, there is plenty to take advantage through the Go Eat, Go Stay and Go Play promotions.

Discounts could help you save money on live music, entertainment and more. You can browse through the options on, but to take advantage of the savings, you have to download the Visit Moco app on Apple or Google. Downloading the app also qualifies you for an end-of-the-month giveaway courtesy of Visit Montgomery, valued at $1,000.

Tourism has a $1.8 billion impact on our local economy through hotel stays, food and beverage, retail, recreation and transportation. GoMoco highlights many of the great things to do in Montgomery County and provides word-of-mouth advertising for the area’s businesses. Around 60 restaurants will be part of the Go Eat promotion from May 10-19.

“Go MoCo Month” is a great opportunity to explore all the County has to offer and save money while doing it. This promotion will allow you to have fun getting to know the County in new ways.

MCPD Honors Fallen Heroes

I would like to extend my gratitude to everyone who attended the Montgomery County Police Department’s “Fallen Officer Memorial Service” this week. The annual ceremony is always a solemn reminder that allows us to come together and honor the sacrifices made by our law enforcement officers. The Law Enforcement Candlelight Vigil, held the night before, was a poignant reminder of the dedication and bravery displayed by those who serve and protect us every day.

We must never forget the sacrifices made by our enforcement officers, some of whom have given their lives in the line of duty. We honored 21 officers, including our police K-9, whose courage and commitment will forever be remembered. These ceremonies pay tribute to our fallen heroes and acknowledge the families and friends who have supported them through the challenges of shift work and irregular hours, sometimes missing important events and celebrations.

In Montgomery County, we are fortunate to have a dedicated team of public safety personnel who work tirelessly to adapt to the ever-changing demands of our world. They are not only brave protectors, but we also expect them to be compassionate problem solvers and attentive listeners. The Public Safety Appreciation Day event, coming up from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. on Sunday, May 19, at the Agriculture Fairgrounds in Gaithersburg, will celebrate the more than 4,000 individuals who serve in various capacities to keep our community safe.

The event is a collaboration between MCPD, Maryland State Police, Rockville City Police, Gaithersburg City Police, Chevy Chase Police, Takoma Park Police, Montgomery County Park Police, the Sheriff’s Department and Fire and Rescue Services. The event is free and open to all. You can expect police and fire displays, activities, food trucks and more. Most importantly, it is an opportunity to get to meet and interact with the people who respond to emergencies in our area.

National Correctional Officers Week

We also acknowledged National Correctional Officers Week with a well-deserved, “Thank you.” I commend the leadership of Ben Stevenson and his staff at the Department of Correction and Rehabilitation for their dedication to serving returning citizens. The perfect score received on the American Correctional Association's reaccreditation standards is a testament to their professionalism and commitment to excellence.

The Department of Correction and Rehabilitation consists of more than 500 employees. This dedicated group of public servants also assist with pre-trial services as well as medical and behavioral health needs at the detention center.

Within the last year, we have renewed our focus on helping people learn new skills while serving time at the detention facility. The Sweet Release program (which I featured earlier this year in this video) is a great example of giving participants a way to earn a paycheck once they are released and helps deter recidivism.

We have some work to do on employee recruitment and retention, but the department is working with our Innovation Team to come up with new solutions to a national problem. If you or anyone you know may be interested in a job in this department, click here.

Last year marked 50 years of the County’s pre-release center, which has served more than 20,000 returning citizens.

I want to single out correctional officer Cpl. Eric Griffith, who recently retired, but was honored as Montgomery County’s DOCR Employee of the Year for 2024.

Cpl. Griffith started with the County in 1993. In addition to being a leader—training others as a subject matter expert on the Correctional and Rehabilitation Information System—Cpl. Griffith forged important relationships with Montgomery County courts, the County police fugitive section and the County Sheriff's Office.

His work was invaluable in having a well-run facility that complies with all State and Federal mandates for correctional standards. Governor Wes Moore called Cpl. Griffith this week to congratulate him on his award and his career. This call meant so much to Cpl. Griffith and we thank Gov. Moore for taking the time to reach out to him.

Thank you to everyone who makes up our Department of Correction and Rehabilitation.

National Nurses Week

We also recognize the invaluable contributions of nurses, especially during the ongoing challenges posed by the pandemic. Montgomery County employs many nurses across our departments and agencies including Correction and Rehabilitation, Health and Human Services (HHS) and Montgomery County Public Schools. Between Correction and Rehabilitation and HHS, the County employs close to 300 nurses.

Nurses play a crucial role in our healthcare system, and it is essential that we support and appreciate their efforts every day. A registered nurse in Montgomery County earns, on average, $42 per hour, which is slightly below the nationwide average of $44 per hour.

A 2022 report commissioned by the Maryland Hospital Association found an estimated 5,000 more registered nurses were needed immediately after the pandemic to meet national demands. That gap is expected to grow by 13,800 registered nurses by 2035.

We are grateful for their work and dedication.

Be sure to thank a nurse and help support them every day.

If you or someone you know is interested in nursing as a career, here are some websites that could help:
Teacher Appreciation Day and Week

Teacher Appreciation Day and Week provide an opportunity to express gratitude to the educators who shape the minds and futures of our youth. As a former teacher, I appreciate their work and the tremendous impact they have on our communities.

Montgomery County Public Schools is the largest school district in Maryland with 211 schools. In the 2022-23 school year, MCPS employed around 14,000 teachers.

According to US News and World Report, more than 80 percent of MCPS teachers have been on the job at least three years. That is a good sign, but work must continue to retain our best teachers and school staff and recruit the best candidates. Our communities are stronger because of the work teachers do. They impact our youth educationally and emotionally. I hope teachers get the love and praise they deserve each and every week.

I am grateful and appreciative to all County teachers for their dedication and commitment to the education of our students.

Sign Up for Resilience Hub Workshop

As the impacts of climate change intensify across our communities, Montgomery County is taking proactive steps to address these challenges head-on. That is why, later this month, the County is hosting a free Resilience Hub Workshop. 

Resilience hubs are more than just physical structures. They are trusted community spaces equipped with solar microgrids and energy-efficient technologies. These hubs can serve as focal points for residents, offering resources, support and a sense of solidarity during emergencies.

Montgomery County has created resilience hubs at recreation centers and at our animal services headquarters. They can also be created at faith-based institutions or multi-family housing complexes. Resilience hubs are designed to keep their power on during disruptions to the power grid and provide vital assistance before, during and after crises.  

Montgomery County's upcoming workshop will delve into the critical role that resilience hubs play in building adaptive communities. Organized by the Office of Emergency Management and Homeland Security in collaboration with the Maryland-National Capital Region Emergency Response System, the free workshop will aim to foster collaboration and innovation in resilience planning.  

The workshop agenda is packed with insightful discussions and practical sessions aimed at equipping participants with the knowledge and tools needed to develop effective resilience hubs. From exploring the core concepts of resilience to navigating logistical and financial challenges, attendees will gain valuable insights from experts and local practitioners.  

This event on Tuesday, May 21, at the Silver Spring Civic Building is for everyone invested in creating a more resilient future. Nonprofit organizations, faith-based groups and community leaders are encouraged to attend and contribute their perspectives. Our goal is to foster partnerships of all kinds to ensure that no community is left behind. 

Climate change is not a distant threat—it is a threat now already impacting us. With marginalized communities often bearing the brunt of its consequences due to historical disinvestment and systemic inequalities, Together, let's build a future where our communities are empowered and prepared for the worst. Learn more and sign up for the workshop here

  As always, my appreciation for all of you,

Marc Elrich
County Executive