My strength is promoting common-sense community-sourced ideas, backed by data and a keen sense of cost-benefit, that come together through coalition building and teamwork.
I am proud of my legislative record as a two-term Takoma Park City Council member. Key accomplishments:
- Working with community advocates to craft Takoma Park’s Safe Grow lawncare pesticide law and turn the ban into Montgomery County law!
- Initiating voting reforms including 16-year-old voting, candidate door-knocking in apartment building, and ex-felon voting.
- Helping the city win $2.3 million in federal transportation-alternatives funding for the Flower Avenue Green Street and Ethan Allen Gateway projects.
- Advancing revitalization: via 2015 studies that kicked off the (stalled) process for creating a new New Hampshire Avenue Recreation Center; as Takoma Junction Task Force co-chair and later as a council Takoma Junction lead.
- (In 2015, I was the only council member who opposed developer NDC’s creation of a layby service lane and elimination of apartments from the site plan.)
- Leading the effort to open the library on Sundays and helping launch the library renovation now underway.
- Winning council backing for a city position to support seniors and disabled residents.
- Promoting fiscal responsibility. Takoma Park raised property taxes a total 2.5% – less than half the inflation rate – in my four years on the council and paid extra toward the city’s unfunded police-pension liability.
- Delivering excellent constituent services, ranging from getting the State Highway Administration to create new crosswalks to helping community organizers win Montgomery County grant funding for the Lunch and Learn summer program.
What have I done since leaving the council, in 2016-22? Here are examples:
- Organized a November 2016 rally for community, in support of Muslim and immigrant neighbors.
- Co-founded Takoma Park Mobilization, a 2,400-member advocacy organization.
- Organized a June 2018 program on Youth Homelessness in Montgomery County, enlisting the support of former Board of Education member Jill Ortman-Fouse.
- Led advocacy for the Takoma Park City Council to declare a Climate Emergency, which the council did in March 2019. I subsequently joined the city’s Committee on the Environment, to help develop the city’s Climate Emergency action plan.
- Helped organize a large September 2019 Rockville immigrant-support counter-demonstration.
- Led 2020 work by the Silver Spring Justice Coalition and partner organizations to end transit fare enforcement and make the RideOn bus system free for all.
- Led successful 2020-2 campaigns to end K9 policing in Takoma Park, move city code enforcement to civilian management, and hire mental-health crisis responders.
What Do Others Say?
Former Councilmember Tim Male writes —
“I’m thrilled to be able to endorse Seth Grimes for mayor in the election this fall. In four years on the City Council, Seth led (or supported colleagues in) passage of major policy changes and community investments — covering environmental action, voting and inclusion, community services and revitalization, and more — that made those four years among the most consequential in recent city history. And he did that while stressing fiscal responsibility that kept property tax increases way below the inflation rate.
“Seth has articulated a compelling vision for the city’s future: a place that cares for the needs of struggling neighbors. A place taking concrete steps on climate action and housing, reining in recent years’ tax and spending increases, with inclusive government, and with great communication to residents. Seth will be as effective as mayor as he was as councilmember and community advocate and I believe he will be a unifier who will heal divisions and build lasting progressive policies.”
Jackie Davison from the Victory Tower Senior Association —
“Seth responds to residents’ concerns, is a leader in issues that matter to constituents, and is dedicated to community building. We at Victory Tower have the highest regard for Seth.”
And here’s what three constituents said when I last ran for reelection to the Takoma Park City Council:
“Seth is a model of commitment to the public good, hard work, and intelligent progressive leadership. His decency and integrity are beyond question.” – Jamie Raskin, then Maryland Senator for District 20
“I have nothing but praise for Seth, for his responsiveness, creativity, and hard work.” – George Leventhal, then an at-large Montgomery County Councilmember
“Whether it’s the environment, seniors, voter access, or preserving our communities, he has been a visionary, strong, and successful advocate.” – Heather Mizeur, then Maryland Delegate for District 20