You’ll notice that here on Riveting Women we use terms like “game changer” and “trailblazer” to describe our subjects. It might seem as though we throw those terms around casually, but that is most assuredly not the case. In fact, we reserve them for a special kind of woman. It just so happens that, when given a forum to spotlight incredible women, we find so many more than we thought who are living amongst us and doing their best to change our communities for the better. Rose Krasnow is one of those women. And we’d like you to meet her.
The first thing you’ll notice about Rose is that she is petite. The second thing you’ll see is that she doesn’t seek out the headlines or the spotlight. The third thing you’ll find is that she has a public service resume that outshines the majority of our most well-known politicians. Talk to Rose and she’ll blow you away with her knowledge of the county’s infrastructure, people, and needs. She is the epitome of “big things come in little packages”.
Rose is running for County Executive in Montgomery County, MD, and if she wins she’ll be the first woman to hold that position in the county’s history. Did we mention that she’s the first woman we can remember running for the position in the last 30 years? Seriously.
Born in Memphis, TN, Rose was raised in a liberal, Jewish household that bucked the idea of segregation early on. Her family lived outside of the “Jewish” neighborhood in order to be closer to the print shop they owned, which meant that Rose was the only Jewish student in her school. She was also the only one of her friends who had a job at age 10, assembling and stapling catalogues and helping with other tasks at the print shop. Her father instilled in her a strong work ethic and a sense of right and wrong. He was also deeply immersed in the burgeoning civil rights movement, teaching a young Rose about the power your voice can have when you speak out against injustice and effect real change in the world.
Rose went to Washington University on an academic scholarship to study Political Science. When it came time to leave for school, Rose’s parents did not take her because they believed that since she’d earned the scholarship on her merits she was quite capable of getting there on her own as well. (Wow, right?) Resourceful and independent as ever, Rose made it work. She got herself there, paid for room and board by working different jobs including in the cafeteria and at a nursery school, and she would still be at class at 8am on the dot. She met her husband there, and after graduation they both attended the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill where Rose earned her Master’s in Urban Planning.
After graduate school they moved north to New York City, where Rose had hopes of getting a job as a planner, but New York had just declared bankruptcy. The timing was unfortunate, to say the least, so she instead took a job as an administrative assistant at Oppenheimer. She spent six weeks working on Initial Public Offerings, and from there she transferred to the Corporate Bond Department and obtained her Series 7 License, but her boss still wouldn’t let her do any work of substance. After several months, Rose informed her boss that she was quitting, at which point he helped her get a position as a bond trader. Although her boss wouldn’t promote her, he did see her talent and drive, so he got her a job as one of the first few women government bond traders at the company.
In 1980 they moved to New Mark Commons in Montgomery County. Rose became the manager of the homeowners association so she could work from home while she raised her two young children. The job harkened back to her activist roots as she testified before the Rockville City Council and advocated for her association’s interests. She was such a fixture at the Council that the four male incumbents asked her to run for Council on their slate. She did, and she won, but after only two terms she realized that she was the best candidate for Mayor, so she ran for that. And won. Three times. Her tenure gave her sufficient time to accomplish several important projects, which included the redevelopment of downtown Rockville, getting a new state-of-the-art library built which served as the centerpiece of the downtown area, and conceiving the Rockville Economic Development Committee to ensure that a vibrant economy and tax base would continue in perpetuity. In these and so many other instances she has shown us her dedication to her community and her comfort with taking a decisive role on big issues.
After stepping down from elective office, Rose worked for the Montgomery Planning Department for more than 13 years, first as Chief of Development Review and then as its Deputy Director. During this time, she became President of Montgomery Women, an organization created in 2001 to encourage women to seek leadership positions – at work, on corporate or non-profit boards, or in elected office.
Rose is a leader no matter where she goes or what she takes on, which is why her friends and colleagues urged her to run for County Executive. Making good use of the new public financing system, she has raised more money in 100 days than any of her competitors who are using the same system, even though they have each been in County government for 10+ years. It’s a tireless and thankless part of running for office, campaigning is, yet she does it – 12+ hour days, 7 days a week. Rose is out there telling people about her plans to develop a comprehensive, multi-modal transportation package to improve the traffic in the region. She’s talking about the importance of: reducing overcrowding in schools and ways to make our schools more academically equal for all students; making the county a thriving place for businesses and workers alike; turning the county into a shining example of smart development and growth; and advocating for programs that embrace the cultural diversity of the county and support the aging population of its residents.
Rose knows that she can lead Montgomery County to a better place. If you would like to learn more about her story, or get involved in/donate to her campaign, visit www.rosekrasnow.com. You can also find a wonderful interview Kojo Nnamdi did with her on his February 9th show at thekojonnamdishow.org. And if you like what you read and hear about Rose, follow her lead and use your voice to effect real change by voting in the upcoming election.
To ensure that your voice will be heard, you must be a registered to vote. For the June 26th primary, you must register by June 5, 2018. You can find information on voter registration via the board of elections – www.montgomerycountymd.gov