Democrat Jennie Forehand is seeking her fifth term representing the district that includes Gaithersburg, Rockville and Garrett Park. Challenger Democrat Cheryl Kagan is no stranger to Annapolis. Kagan served eight years in the Maryland House of Delegates as the District 17 delegate.
Both Kagan and Forehand have already begun knocking on doors throughout Gaithersburg looking for votes.
The 73-year-old Forehand has the backing of Gaithersburg Mayor Sidney Katz who is serving as her campaign chairman. Ironically Katz also served as Kagan’s campaign chairman when she ran for her delegate seat.
“Jennie Forehand works well with the leaders of the Senate, and that is necessary to be effective,” Katz said. “It takes longer than one term to solve problems facing the state. I appreciate the continuum of people to solve the issues.”
Forehand said she is a supporter of the Great Seneca Science Corridor, previously known as the Gaithersburg West plan.
“I think that it is our future and that it is smart to develop it slowly so as not to overwhelm things,” she said.
She points to the Corridor Cities Transitway, a public transportation system serving the site, as a key component to the project.
Forehand served as delegate for District 17 from 1978 to 1994. As a member of the Senate, she is chairman of the Joint Committee on Federal Relations and sits on both the Judicial Proceedings Committee, Joint Committee on the Management of Public Funds and the Joint Committee on Children, Youth and Families.
Kagan was elected as the District 17 representative to the Maryland House of Delegates in 1994, where she served for eight years. Following her final term, Kagan ran the nonprofit Carl M. Freeman Foundation.
Kagan served six years as the vice president of the Arts & Humanities Council of Montgomery County and eight years on the Maryland State Arts Council. She currently serves on the boards of the American Jewish Committee and Americans for Democratic Action.
Kagan said the time was right for her to get back into Annapolis politics.“I got increasingly worried about the huge challenges they are facing in Annapolis,” she said. “We are looking at a $2 billion budget shortfall, and in January there will be decisions made about raising revenues and cutting expenses. We need to make sure the state doesn’t look to Montgomery County as its piggybank.”
Holding her own line on expenses, Kagan implemented a voluntary cap on the amount of money she will collect for her campaign. She said it is an effort to restore voter confidence in elected officials.
In her local campaigning, which included a meet-and-greet at former Gaithersburg City Council member John Schlichting’s home in Kentlands in May, Kagan said she is hearing concerns from Kentlands and Lakelands voters about the economy, jobs and education.
“The advantage I have is that I know the players and the processes by which the decisions in Annapolis are going to be made. I can be effective from day one,” she said.
For more information on the candidates, log on to Kagan’s website at www.cherylkagan.org or Forehand’s website at www.jennieforehand.com.
District 17 Candidate Forum – A discussion with the Senate candidates
District 17 Candidate Forum
July 29, 8 – 10 a.m.
The Crowne Plaze Rockville
3 Research Court
Hosted by the Gaithersburg-Germantown and Rockville Chamber of Commerce and open to the public, but advance registration is required.
For more information, www.ggchamber.org.
Sunday, August 8
Debate/Forum with all the Democratic At-Large Candidates for County Council, 3:30 p.m. at Casey Community Center (Casey Barn), 810 S. Frederick Avenue, Gaithersburg. Co-sponsored by District 17 and 39 Democratic Clubs and the Asbury Democratic Club. Free and open to the public.
Tuesday, August 31
Debate between the two Democratic candidates for Maryland Senate from District 17, Sen. Jennie Forehand and Cheryl Kagan, 7:30 p.m. at Rockville Library, 21 Maryland Avenue (on the square in downtown Rockville). Sponsored by the District 17 Democratic Club. Free and open to the public.