Knapp will not seek re-election
Two-term councilman from upcounty to pursue life sciences initiatives
Montgomery County Councilman Michael J. Knapp announced Tuesday he will not seek a third term representing District 2.
Knapp, a Democrat from Germantown, will pursue "new efforts to promote life sciences and job growth in the Washington region," according to a statement.
Knapp said he plans to work for himself, helping the region's biotechnology leaders increase research and focus on the commercialization of that research.
"We, in Montgomery County, have a unique opportunity in the next few years to position ourselves to be a global leader in the next stage of development in life sciences," Knapp said in a phone interview. "There's a real chance for us to be a leader, and I think we should do that."
Knapp will work with the region's leading biotechnology firms, academic and research institutions and the financial sector, he said.
In the long term, Knapp said, he might go into business, start a research institute or an organization focused on commercialization through venture funding or go into consulting.
Knapp now works as a biotechnology consultant and is a former business development executive at Celera, best known for its research in mapping the human genome.
Knapp, first elected in 2002, serves as the chairman of the council's Planning, Housing and Economic Development Committee and as a member of the Education Committee.
Maryland Del. Craig L. Rice (D-Dist. 15) of Germantown has been rumored to be considering a run for Knapp's seat. Democrat Sharon Dooley also is seeking to represent District 2.
Robin Ficker, a former state delegate who has run for county executive and council before, said Tuesday that he will run in the Republican primary for Dist. 2.
Knapp said he thinks other people are interested in the seat, and wanted to announce his plans early to give them a chance to enter the race before the Sept. 14 primary election.
Knapp said he is not yet endorsing any candidate for his seat.
Earlier this year, Knapp said he was considering a run for county executive.
Knapp was a driving force behind the recent adoption of the Great Seneca Science Corridor master plan, and this year the council approved a bill Knapp sponsored that calls for $2 million in tax credits for biotechnology companies.
The credits would supplement the state biotechnology investment incentive tax credit in Montgomery County firms. The tax credits are not funded in the county's fiscal 2011 budget.
Knapp previously chaired the council's Education Committee, served as a member of the Public Safety Committee and chaired the Homeland Security Committee.
Knapp served as council president in 2008, and vice president in 2007.
Knapp said he reached the decision to not seek re-election in the past couple of weeks. He said the county's economy is beginning to improve, making this to a good time to start a new business venture.