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Marilyn Balcombe is perhaps one of the hardest working and dedicated public servants in Montgomery County, MD, whose name you likely didn’t  know until your read her recent endorsement by The Washington Post.  There isn’t a candidate running for the County Council who has given more to her community than Marilyn. Her resume could be a civics lesson on how to make a difference where you live.

Few people who choose to focus their professional lives on helping their communities also possess a degree in Accounting and a PhD in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. Fewer still are President and CEO of their local Chamber of Commerce for over a decade, promoting local businesses and taking steps to grow the community through its economy. Marilyn, however, does all of this and more, without fanfare or ego. Her story is an important one and a great starting place for understanding why MoCo voters should choose her in the next Council election.

Marilyn shared her personal story with the public at a round table meet and greet a few weeks ago. She grew up in Florida – the 3rd of 6 children – and is part of a larger family that had never sent a single person to college. She worked for a time as a bookkeeper for a CPA who would constantly check her work for accuracy. He never found a problem. Marilyn, however, became dismayed by having to cut him checks for one day’s worth of work that paid him more than she made in one week. This realization propelled her to visit the University of Florida in order to figure out how to better her professional situation. Her drive, confidence, and unwillingness to compromise became the forces behind her advanced degrees and professional successes.

As her career built momentum and she drew high praise for her work at the US Department of Energy, Marilyn’s attention turned her to what she could do to improve her community. In 2002 she became the Executive Director of the BlackRock Center for the Arts, a cultural and performing arts center in Germantown, MD. Marilyn guided the Center through its construction and grand opening, making it a centerpiece of the community, and views her time there as one of the highlights of her career. Perhaps that’s why she continued to invest her energies in local councils and boards, such as the Germantown Alliance and Leadership Montgomery, and raised her voice to advocate for projects she felt passionate about, such as construction of the Germantown and Gaithersburg libraries and transportation projects that affect how safely and easily residents can travel around the county.

All of this is to say that Marilyn has a story to tell and she’s sharing it in order to make herself a living example of how one’s dreams are never completely out of reach. Her willingness to be open and vulnerable at the meet and greet had every person at that event smiling, and they actually put down their cell phones in order to really pay attention to her. They could see how refreshing it would be to have a Council member who is a CPA review the budget; who is invested in the success of the school system because she’s a parent; and who will fight every day for the community she lives in.

The people of Montgomery County have a real opportunity to elect a Council member with the well-rounded skills to address fiduciary and community needs from within the government itself.  If you’d like to learn more about Marilyn and her plans for MoCo, you can visit her website, and if you like what you see then we hope you will consider donating to her campaign and voting for her in the primary on June 26th.

image 774rebecca linder