By Charlie Maier, (’93)
May 16, 2003
Once you’ve been honored by the humane society as a humanitarian, it’s clear that even cats and dogs love you.
Humanitarian of the Year is just one of the many accolades that have been bestowed on Isiah “Ike” Leggett, chairman of the Maryland Democratic Party and former member of the Montgomery County Council. To his many honors, he can now add the title of recipient of Leadership Montgomery’s 2003 Outstanding Leader Award.
“If you are looking for a nominee that has exemplified leadership at its best,” said Sol Graham (’03), “Ike Leggett is your man.” Graham, president of Quality Biological, Inc., of Rockville, nominated Leggett for the annual honor, citing his “commitment to the citizens of Montgomery County,” and to ethnic groups in particular.
“I have known Ike Leggett since 1985,” Graham said. “He has always been a person of integrity.”
The award is sponsored again this year by Sandy Spring Bank. The award will presented on Saturday, June 28 at the Celebration of Leadership at Indian Spring Country Club. This event is the commencement of the 2003 Class and the biggest fundraiser of the organization. If you’d like to attend or are interested in becoming a sponsor, please visit www.Leadership-MontgomeryMD.org.
Along with his recognition by Leadership Montgomery, Leggett’s list of honors runs long and deep. The American Lung Association, the Boy Scouts of America, the American Bar Association, and the Metropolitan Washington Public Health Association have all honored Ike Leggett’s contributions to their organizations and to the community.
Ike Leggett, 57, emerged quietly on the local civic scene in 1981, as an appointee to the Montgomery County Human Relations Commission. His leadership abilities were soon acknowledged and he was elected as commission chair two years later. In 1986 he made his first run for public office and was elected to the Montgomery County Council. He ran three more times and was elected each time, serving as council president three times.
During his 16 years on the county council, Leggett became known as a skilled negotiator, often brokering compromises between opposing views. He championed a ban on smoking in restaurants and pushed for progressive “living wage” laws. During the mid-1990s, he was a strong advocate for tax cuts during tight economic times.
“Ike Leggett is an individual who has made extraordinary contributions to our community in so many ways,” said Council President Michael Subin (’00), who served on the council with Leggett during his years in office. Subin noted that a recent farewell tribute to Leggett raised money to fund two scholarships in Leggett’s name at Montgomery College, cementing Leggett’s legacy “in a very fitting and lasting way of paying tribute to one of our great public servants.”
Although he is now logging hundreds of miles from Oakland to Ocean City as chairman of the Democratic Party, Ike Leggett still lives in Burtonsville with his wife, Catherine. He’s still an active member of the Resurrection Baptist Church of Silver Spring, the Board of Directors of Maryland College of Art and Design, the Washington Area Housing Partnership, Montgomery County Boys and Girls Club, and the African American Business Council.
Leggett, who seems to defy the normal turmoil of traffic by turning up promptly at function after function, is also a member of Montgomery County’s NAACP and Urban League, the Vietnam Veteran’s Leadership Forum, the National Bar Association, the American Bar Association, Phi Alpha Delta Legal Fraternity, Southern Christian Leadership Conference, Burtonsville Kiwanis and the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.