Hopkins announces candidacy for District 1
Bethesda resident will challenge Roger Berliner for council seat
Bethesda activist Ilaya Hopkins formally announced that she is running to represent the County Council's District 1.
Hopkins, a past president of the East Bethesda Citizens Association, will run in the Democratic primary against incumbent Councilman Roger Berliner.
Hopkins advocated for a "big picture focus" since so many issues in District 1, which includes Bethesda, Chevy Chase and Potomac, are related.
Hopkins said the biggest issues she sees in District 1 are transportation and education. On transportation, she said there needs to be a "transit first" mentality to development. She said the Medical Center Metro station needs to become a hub featuring multiple modes of transit that connect easily to each other.
"You create a transit hub where all these different kinds of transportation can work efficiently together," Hopkins said.
On education, she said there need to be both short- and long-term solutions to the problem of over-enrollment in the Bethesda-Chevy Chase area schools. While the school district's focus has largely been on elementary schools, she said, more attention needs to be paid to projects like boundary studies and expansion options for middle and high school so that the problem does not simply migrate up the education system in a few years.
"We need to make sure that we're making appropriate choices today that serve our students well as they go through the system" Hopkins said.
Hopkins is a member of the Base Realignment and Closure Implementation Committee, which is developing strategies for dealing with the Walter Reed Army Medical Center's relocation to Bethesda; she serves on the board of Bethesda Green, a public-private partnership that promotes sustainable growth and living practices; and is a leader of the Quality of Life Committee on the Western Montgomery County Citizens Advisory Board.
She has experience in the PTAs at Rosemary Hills Elementary School in Silver Spring and North Chevy Chase Elementary School. She applied to become a member of the Planning Board last June.
The primary election is Sept. 14.
-Education: University of Wisconsin-Madison; Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies
-Work Experience: Community Organizer; Organizational Development Consultant; Associate Director External Affairs; Program Officer
-Family: Husband Bob; two sons Owen and Graham
-Top Three Issues: education, transportation and economic vitality
-Campaign Funds: Campaign Manager Chris Gill declined to disclose available funds
-Previous Political Experience: Volunteer on various campaigns
-Other affiliations: member of County Executive's Base Realignment and Closure Implementation Committee; board member of the Western Montgomery County Citizens Advisory Board; board member of Bethesda Green, a public-private partnership to promote a healthy economy and sustainable living practices; chaired the Coalition of Military Medical Center Neighbors; past president of the East Bethesda Citizens Association