By Sonia Boin
Frederick News Post - Montgomery County Edition
January 26, 2005
Four-term Montgomery County Councilman Ike Leggett launched a campaign for County Executive Tuesday with a pledge to "bring business and citizen organizations together as one entity working for the better of Montgomery County."
Citing "a fundamental distrust" between these interests, Mr. Leggett said he wants to "restructure our business and civic organizations in a collaborative way because there is a lot of talent and leadership in both."
He entered the Democratic primary race three weeks after sitting Councilman Steven Silverman sent a mailing announcing he will run for the office. Mr. Leggett said he "would have wanted the race to be kept within normal limits. It's highly unusual and out of character to have an executive race that now rivals the presidential process."
Mr. Leggett, 59, of Burtonsville, resigned as chairman of the Maryland Democratic Party in December, a move that reinforced wide speculation he would run for the executive job.
"I don't think I need to raise as much" money as Mr. Silverman has, "largely from developer contributions," he said. "Developer money doesn't deter me one bit."
Mr. Silverman has criticized Mr. Leggett for "choosing" to recuse himself from taking a position on the controversial Intercounty Connector that would affect his property.
"I will have clear delineations about the ICC by 2006," Mr. Leggett said.
"In an executive position, I can. I will talk to all the people involved in the process."
He said as a party leader, he has "worked with leaders throughout Maryland."
As a council member, he said he "pushed for dedicated funding for affordable housing and a water quality enhancement fund."
Mr. Silverman, who has raised $827,000 for a campaign, said the controversial issues of the Intercounty Connector and the Inner Purple Line most distinguish the two candidates.
"We have similar records on growth and development, but we part company on transportation, and we have a different approach to fiscal issues," he said.
Mr. Silverman, 50, is a second term, at large council member. He said he launched his campaign early this month because "this is the first time in 10 years voters have a chance to choose an executive and this gives them more time" to assess the choices.
Mr. Leggett announced his candidacy in a letter "to thousands of friends."
He cited such "critical issues" as "traffic relief, schools in which every child can learn, far more affordable housing, safer neighborhoods, business expansion and vigilant protection of our environment." Mr. Leggett has served 16 years as an at large member of the County Council.