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Supporters Embrace Newton in Bid for Rockville Mayor

Marcuccio: ‘How many times can you leave something and feel that you’re leaving it in good hands?’

Rockville City Councilwoman Bridget Donnell Newton kicked of her mayoral campaign Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013 at VisArts. (Credit: Tiffany Arnold | Rockville Patch)
Rockville City Councilwoman Bridget Donnell Newton kicked of her mayoral campaign Thursday, Aug. 1, 2013 at VisArts. (Credit: Tiffany Arnold | Rockville Patch)

Councilwoman Bridget Donnell Newton formally announced her candidacy for mayor Thursday, before a crowded room of supporters at VisArts in Town Square.

“I think it’s just a continuation of my vision for Rockville, my hopes for what we can do,” Newton said. “I feel that in my three and a half years on the council I made a difference. I’ve made some progress and I’d like to continue that.” 

Crowded into the gallery space, supporters sipped pink lemonade and ate cupcakes as they shook hands with the mayoral hopeful. In her speech, Newton joked about reusing old campaign materials—some people wore stickers that said "Newton for Mayor"—though “Mayor” was handwritten beneath “City Council,” which was scratched out.

Among her supporters was Doug Duncan, who served on the Rockville City Council from 1982 to 1987 and was mayor of Rockville from 1987 to 1993. Duncan is running for Montgomery County Executive, a position he held from 1994 to 2006.

Maryland Del. Luiz R. S. Simmons, (D-Dist. 17) of Rockville, also came to support Newton. Councilman John Hall Jr. and council candidate Virginia Onley, who is part of the Team Rockville slate, also attended. 

But one of Newton’s most vocal backers Thursday was Mayor Phyllis Marcuccio, who is not running for re-election this year.

“How many times can you leave something and feel that you’re leaving it in good hands? That is really remarkable,” Marcuccio said.

A Rockville resident since 1981, Newton was elected to the City Council in 2009 and was re-elected in 2011.

Newton said Thursday that much of what she would make a priority as mayor reflected her priorities when she ran in 2011: addressing the city’s Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance, which is meant to ensure the city’s roadways, schools, emergency services and water and sewer services can handle the impact of development. 

Newton is president of the Maryland Municipal League’s Montgomery County Chapter and is serving her third term on the MML legislative committee.

The city has benefited from Newton’s work with MML, Marcuccio said, pointing to the state’s restoration of highway user revenue.

Highway user revenue represents a portion of the city's share of gasoline tax and vehicle registrations collected by the state. The city's share peaked at $3.3 million in fiscal 2007. The fiscal 2014 state budget increased the city’s share to $1.6 million—a stark contrast to the $507,100 the city had expected to receive. 

Newton said she wanted to continue focusing on relationship building, working more with Montgomery County, Montgomery County Public Schools and Montgomery College.

So far, only one other person has filed to run for mayor, second-term Councilman Mark Pierzchala, who’s leading the Team Rockville slate. 

Marcuccio offered a bit of advice for Newton.

“Don’t be any different than what you are,” Marcuccio said. “Listen to your citizens.”

 

Jim Coyle August 03, 2013 at 11:48 AM
I want to wish Bridget well in her campaign. I was disappointed that she allowed Delegate Simmons and Executive Duncan to endorse her. Rockville's Government operates under a non-partisan political system. Historically, Rockville's leaders have honored this system by avoiding partisan activities and endorsements. This directly impacts government employees who are barred from partisan activities.
Dan Cohen August 03, 2013 at 12:39 PM
Wow. That’s some “well wishing.” Incredible, the attacks from the slate start early. Mr. Coyle, it is this type of behavior, where you and the slate launch early attacks, demonize conscientious civil servants and attempt to polarize the process, that will have voters turning out in big numbers for Ms. Newton. I, for one, was impressed that Ms. Newton was able to bring together more than one hundred Rockville citizens at her campaign announcement. What was even more significant was the diversity and differing views of those in attendance. Only Ms. Newton will be able to finally unite our City, listen to ALL parties and return Rockville to functional civility. And if you want to talk about “avoiding partisan activities” and divided loyalties, let’s talk about slate member Beryl Feinberg, who is a senior ‎Budget Manager for the Montgomery County Government. When it comes time to vote on matters, where the interests of Rockville and Montgomery County conflict, what will Ms. Feinberg do? Will she vote against her county superiors and six figure county income or will she be forced to recuse herself?
Dan Cohen August 03, 2013 at 01:46 PM
One more thing, Mr. Coyle, isn’t it the ultimate in hypocrisy that you slam Ms. Newton for her “partisan” supporters and endorsers, when you served as one-term mayor Susan Hoffmann’s Campaign Chair, who had been vigorously endorsed by such political partisans as Senator Ben Cardin? Where was your outrage then?
Steve O August 03, 2013 at 03:42 PM
Idea for a future article: I would love articles to actually state the candidates stances on the AFPO and other issues. So far all I'm reading is that everyone wants to "address" the AFPO. That's nonsense and I'm tired of trying to infer their positions or having to dig up archived stories from years ago to know who stands for what. That's a message to the candidates as well. This isn't a federal or even a statewide race where being vague works to your benefit while you push attack ads on TV. Speak plainly about what you intend to do if you want to gain and turn out supporters at the local level…
Jeff Hawkins August 06, 2013 at 09:35 AM
"Only Ms. Newton will be able to finally unite our City, listen to ALL parties and return Rockville to functional civility." This from an obvious clear thinking, open minded, non partisan poster, LOL .......WOW....."only" Ms. Newton huh?
Doug R August 06, 2013 at 11:18 AM
Mr Cohen, firstly Mr Coyle is not a member of the Team Rockville slate. It is interesting that you bring up such an accusation so early in this campaign as to insinuate "attacks" by a slate, after a Rockville citizen and long-time community activist (in fact, former Mayor himself if I'm not mistaken) makes a comment expressing frustration with the mixing of partisan politics with Rockville's non-partisan town system. Is this a foreshadowing of a lame attempt to paint Team Rockville as the big-bad-bully? How predictable. Anyone who knows the members of that team will know better, and the voters of Rockville will know better, because most of them will have met at least one of them, if not all. Secondly, mixing "partisan activities and divided loyalties" while referring to Beryl's job is pathetic and low. Beryl's job would be an incredible asset to her role as a councilwoman--she knows budgets, she knows the process, and she will do a great job helping Team Rockville run a smooth and fact-based budget process--a refreshing change from the last few years, to say the least. Beryl is a citizen and resident of Rockville for many years, and to suggest that she would not act in the best interests of the city and her residents is just low, low, low. Beryl has been extremely attentive to the ethical issues around being a county employee and a city candidate, and will no doubt to continue to do so when she is elected. Lastly, for all the harping by the Mayor and Ms Newton about listening to citizenry and being respectful and civil, has it ever occurred to anyone to ask why they constantly repeat that theme as a campaign message every single cycle? Something about the old cliché, methinks thou doth protest too much? When the Mayor can come to your front door, ask you what's on your mind while seeking your vote, then proceed to tell you that you're simply wrong based on the concerns over issues you just finished communicating, and when you can speak at Citizens' Forum and have people on the dais roll their eyes as you greet them, it is crystal clear to me exactly where the civility and respect problem within the Rockville city council lies. Fortunately, voters in this great city have an impressive and incredibly qualified alternative in this year's election.
Doug R August 06, 2013 at 11:27 AM
It is truly a talent in politics to be able to level low-grade untruths and smears against your opponents without it SOUNDING like one, all the while, positioning yourself as the champion who fights for the citizens and the "victimized" without actually doing so, AND coming across as the one who "listens" when in fact the agenda is already set. The talents just amaze me. Unfortunately, it is the city and the preparedness of the city to accommodate the coming economic, growth, and transportation challenges that will suffer for all the lost time and political games. I hope that the citizens of Rockville finally get to see the real machinations in this election. If they do, there will be a very different result.
Roald Schrack August 06, 2013 at 01:30 PM
Rockville's non-partisan elections was obtained only after a hard fought battle to allow government employees to run for office in city elections. Because of our exemption from the Hatch act we have had the benefit of many talented people in office while they were employees of the Federal and County Government. In the past 50 years I cannot recall any incident where there were accusations of conflict of interest. This has been a great boon to the city in allowing people of talent to serve the city. The danger of partisan endorsement is the mixing of partisan politics with city politics. In Partisan races, the democratic party is overwhelmingly dominant. In our non-partisan city elections, where partisan identification is not made a point, we have greatly benefited by the inclusion of republican candidates and elected officials that served the city well. Unfortunately, public exposure of partisan candidates, by endorsing a city candidates is a great way of promoting oneself. The two prominent democrats that have made an endorsement of a city candidate are themselves likely candidates in the 2014 democratic primary. I am not sure their endorsement of a city candidate is only done to help the city candidate. The mixing of city politics, with it's own needs and issues with county, state, and national politics is not in the interests of the citizens of Rockville.
Rocky August 07, 2013 at 04:12 PM
Ms Newton talks a lot about how she supports "managed growth" which to me has always been a code word for "no growth", but I will give her the benefit of the doubt on this. I would be curious to know which of the recent projects that have been started or completed in Rockville, or for that matter Montgomery County, meets her test of "managed growth". She has worked and voted against most or all of these projects, so is it safe to assume none of the meets her test. I know she never responds to these questions so maybe one of her spokespersons could respond.
shelby foote August 08, 2013 at 11:33 AM
Who were the 100 "Rockville Citizens" who came to Ms. Newton's coming out party? Let's take names because it looks like it was all the same old party hacks who always turn out. Duncan and Simmons - please, that's not united, that's bought out. Some more names - Virginia Onley, Drew Powell, Larry Giammo, John Hall. Anyone else got a few more names? She sure did unite with Virginia Onley though. She endorsed Onley even though Onley is part of the Mark Pierszala slate. Wonder if Pierschala is going to kick Onley off the slate now for supporting his mayoral opponent? Sure Ms. Newton supports growth when it's not in her neighborhood - remember that she supported spending $2 million dollars in Rockville taxpayer money for Choice Hotels.
Rockville libertarian August 15, 2013 at 03:53 PM
After the Pumphreys fiasco, what other tid bits does Newton want to change for the west end?
shelby foote August 18, 2013 at 04:50 PM
Bridget Newton has no friends. More than two weeks since this story was posted, and NO ONE wants to admit that they attended her kickoff? NO ONE wants to put out there publicly that they are supporting her? Heard the cupcakes were delish. Just what you'd expect from someone whose campaign lit says she's a housewife.
Dan Cohen August 22, 2013 at 10:20 AM
Ms. Ginsberg, IP addresses don’t lie. Your “comments” are inappropriate and hateful for any Rockville citizen, let alone the so-called “president” of the Twinbrook Civic Association. You have done yourself, your community and your city a horrible disservice. It’s time that you retire your “Shelby Foote” sock puppet.

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