Who Will Fill This Empty Seat? Jim Gilchrist Elects Not to Be Re-elected

Portrait of Jim Gilchrist.
Delegate Jim Gilchrist representing District 17 (includes Rockville).

Jim Gilchrist, one of three Delegates representing District 17 to the State of Maryland, has decided not to run for election in 2022. Serving as a member of the House of Delegates since January 2007, he’s unfortunately been one of the least effective of our elected representatives. He rarely introduces legislation and he’s hardly made any effort to bring state funds to support community projects. He makes no effort to keep voters informed—he has a stagnant website, no newsletters, and a Facebook page with only five posts this year (three for the same event). Most recently, he failed to take a stand for or against the widening of 270. Everyone has an opinion on this major construction project that cuts through Rockville but incredibly, not Gilchrist. If you’re elected to office, politicians have to make tough decisions so voters know where you stand.

Becoming a state Delegate is a relatively easy campaign compared to running for city or county council. With three seats available, you only need to capture enough votes to be in the top three. If you’re an incumbent, you typically campaign with the other incumbents, making it even easier. The downside it’s a job that requires you to be in Annapolis three months out of the year when the legislature is in session, so anyone with a typical full time job can’t serve.

It’s an important position that has immense opportunities to make a difference in Rockville and Maryland, but with the complications of serving, who will make an ideal candidate? So far, only one person has announced an interest: Joe Vogel.

Joe Vogel, candidate for District 17 Delegate.

Yesterday, Vogel announced his candidacy to represent Gaithersburg and Rockville as a Delegate in the Maryland General Assembly. He launched his campaign with videos in English and Spanish, sharing his story and vision. As a young Marylander, a Latino immigrant, and an openly gay man; Joe states he will bring a new perspective to Annapolis and the ability to build strong coalitions.

Joe’s family immigrated to Rockville, Maryland when he was three years old. At 15, Joe volunteered on President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign and later worked for Senator Cheryl Kagan during her 2014 campaign. In 2015, Joe was nominated and confirmed by the Governor of Maryland to serve as a member of the Maryland Youth Advisory Council. Joe has been an active volunteer in community organizations working to address the ongoing economic and public health crises facing the community.

Before running for office Joe worked as a policy fellow for Montgomery County-based Interfaith Works; started Learn It Together, a non-profit to support children of essential workers in their transition to remote learning during the pandemic; worked on the Presidential campaign staffs of Senator Cory Booker and Secretary Hillary Clinton; and was a consultant for the March for Our Lives, NARAL’s campaign against Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination to the Supreme Court, and President Joe Biden’s general election campaign. Joe is finishing a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard University and received his Bachelor’s Degree from The George Washington University.

More at Bethesda Magazine and at HillRag.

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